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Zoltan Istvan – Transhumanist

Zoltan Istvan is an American writer, futurist, philosopher and transhumanist.

He writes transhumanist-themed columns: “The Transhumanist Philosopher” a blog for Psychology Today and “Transhumanist Future” for Vice’s Motherboard.

He has also worked as a reporter for the National Geographic Channel and is a blogger of futurist, transhumanist, and atheist topics for The Huffington Post.

He is the author of The Transhumanist Wager, a philosophical science fiction novel.

In late 2014, he announced his intent to run for President of the United States in the 2016 elections to raise transhumanist politics issues.

00:00 Trailer.
02:11 Brian’s thoughts on the episode.
06:22 Brian’s Introduction.
06:54 Becoming tired of almost dying.
10:27 Media work in war zones brings conflicting concerns.
13:32 Transhumanism aim to overcome human death.
15:47 Religious views holding back scientific progress in health.
20:03 Why Zoltan is standing for Presidential election.
22:15 National Rifle Association (NRA) and artificial intelligence issues analogous.
23:37 A surprising amount of media attention Zoltan’s concepts are attracting.
27:54 Do we want phones controlling hearts amid concerns for a need to reduce technological dependency?
29:36 Value of Transhumanism movement to society.
33:01 How to run for Presidential election and Zoltan’s aims for his campaign.
37:09 Priorities for a transhumanist President Istvan.
40:13 What is wrong with the present United States healthcare policy?
44:13 His image as a Presidential candidate and transhumanist.
45:41 Breadth of transhumanism is detrimental to its growth.
50:20 Differences between America’s and Europe’s perspective of Zoltan.
54:41 Interesting concept of uploading yourself or two of you, but what about the body?
58:14 Isn’t the beauty of life in the randomness of it?
1:00:01 What might the human existence of being in a hard drive be like?
1:03:02 How does Zoltan respond to his detractors?
1:05:30 Living for ever. We should treat aging as a disease.
1:08:41 The three laws of transhumanism.
1:10:20 7 years boat trip with 500 books delivers amazing experiences.
1:14:01 What to avoid doing in Papua New Guinea.
1:15:14 The opportunities of being a journalist that Zoltan misses.
1:16:50 Does transhumanism relate to Bitcoin?
1:17:54 How would transhumanism deal with the possibility of people abusing technology?
1:19:58 What would need to happen for Zoltan to realistically win the Presidential election in 2020?
1:21:36 The future of Transhumanism with the younger generation.
1:23:15 If older generation are never to die, will younger generation’s ideas be suppressed?
1:24:12 Big organisations wanting to hear more about transhumanism.
1:25:25 Success secrets.
1:26:15 Phone call to 20 year old Zoltan.
1:28:08 What advice would the 150 year old Zoltan say to him now?
1:30:28 Best advice he ever received.
1:31:44 To the 20 year old listening what should they do to be like him?
1:34:43 Why he always encourages people to start writing a blog and to read.
1:35:20 Brian’s summing up.
1:36:24 How to support transhumanism.

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Ken Livingstone – Mayor of London – My BlogLawrence Krauss – A Godless Universe – My BlogChristopher Z HemenwaySimon Vait.Paulo Sigerson Recent comment authors
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Christopher Z Hemenway

Politics, ahh the business of managing other people’s lives on stolen money. If we haven’t outgrown religion yet, I can’t wait to see how long it takes to ditch government. Another great interview though Brian despite my snark comment. You are always on point and so diverse! Thanks.

Simon Vait.

living 10000 years in a finite planet seems like an awesome idea. These ideas shall not be promoted until we have habituated mars.

Paulo Sigerson

It took me some time to check this interview, but I really hope someone at in London Real team can find some time to read these two articles:

http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/01/artificial-intelligence-revolution-1.html (part 1 of 2)

Wish you guys the best

Eugene Yakshin

That’s a hell of a branching discourse. I like the guest. I can’t believe what I’ve just heard: States seriously considering Russia having AI first? Shure we have a lot of bright people here, but come on. After the Human Brain Project budget approved in Europe Obama made a statement about launching their own alternative in the States literally in a couple of days. Do you think here in Russia we had _a_n_y_ discussion going on? Nope. You’ll have immigrated Russian engineers all over Google more likely. It looks like Russia’s first priority development vector in is war now. Not… Read more »

Natalie Gray

We live in a natural world. Everything in this world is natural. Not everything that’s natural is good. I’m annoyed at people who consider things like Aspirin unnatural when it’s made from the bark of a willow tree. Oil itself originates in nature, but we need to overcome our dependence with it on behalf of our environment.


Never been a fan of using Vimeo as it always seems to stop and start! Vimeo does not seem to be a very stable video platform. Some people say it depends on the browser etc,. Does anyone out there also have this problem?

Tabitha Jayne
Tabitha Jayne

This was an interesting interview. I’m all for someone who can see that the U.S. electoral system is broken and is committing his own income to challenging that. Not quite sure about Transhumanism though. When Nature teaches us that there’s no death, rather a cycle of renewal and recycle instead it gives me the sense that the goal of avoiding death comes from a disconnect to Nature. It’s interesting that his objective to reduce cardiovascular disease is through heart transplants. It ignores all the research that exists on why cardiovascular disease exists and doesn’t take into consideration that there are… Read more »

Kristina Lesana Matty

Exactly what I wanted to point out.

Howard Brooks

How would you live your life differently today if you knew your life span would increase dramatically? Would you make different choices if you were certain you had an additional 100 years of high quality life ahead of you?

Ben Wells

For me the best visionary of the human race in the future is Iain M Banks ‘Culture’ Novels >> ‘The Player of Games’ and ‘Feersum Endjinn’ uses multi level consciousness within a computer mainframe and external reality as it’s back ground for the story and ‘Excession’ really is an amazing futuristic look at human/robot symbiotic relationships… the future is already set

David Murphy

I would recommend reading wikipedia’s entry on the goals and origins of Transhumanism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism Please also apply basic logic to the statements made in this interview. At a minimum, consider the number of vague generalizations and terms. Transhumanism has no claim to ‘all technologies that benefit humans’. And technology external to the ‘self’ (ie. cel phones) does not make you ‘transhuman’. The whole point with transhumanism is that you MERGE with the technology. It becomes part of your ‘self’, in a way where ‘you’ and it can’t be separated. In other words, the technology is no longer something you possess,… Read more »

David Murphy

“Until man duplicates a blade of grass, nature can laugh at his so-called scientific knowledge. Remedies from chemicals will never stand in favor compared with the products of nature, the living cell of the plant, the final result of the rays of the sun, the mother of all life.”

— T.A. Edison

Renata Koba

I think we are all Transhumanists already, whether we like it or not. There’s so much technology in our lives today that it is practically impossible not to be a Trans-human. Loved the video and the man!

Perry Piper

It’s important to acknowledge that to be human is to go beyond limits. Picking up branches as tools, building dams and walking on the moon are great human accomplishments. The distinction though where human ends and transhuman begins is when people are electively “upgrading” themselves before normal health scares are even on the radar. People that will die as humans and not transhumans are those that reject the concepts of extending life and upgrading the body in favor of religious myths and afterlives. Zoltan talks about “bandaid-medicine” when referencing our current healthcare system and how doing things like implanting magnets… Read more »

Chris Mcaulay

I assume one has to pay for the video to play properly.

Perry Piper

Play properly? There were ads, sure, but my quality was excellent only through signing in.

Marie-Judith Jean-Louis

Interesting. I love this idea of going on a year long vacation to read. #Bucketlist

Swithun Gibbs-kennet

Looking forward to this . I don’t know anything about this guy buy I have an open mind ?

Luis Solarat

My opinion is that in some points Transhumanism is very close to religion, trying to overcome death and being inmortal is something similar to the idea of the heaven or life after death of many religions. I think we should embrace death as a part of life! 🙂

Omar Gatti

Transhumanism and religion share just the desire to keep on existing as individuals, at least some religions because others tell you that when you die you lose your identity and become part of “everything”, whatever this everything means. Anyway, this, and only this is the similarity between Transhumanism and religion. The huge difference is their basis: Religion is based on myths and stories that could be just fairytales while Transhumanism is based on science, so rationality. I’m not saying that religion is just a bunch of nonsense: if you think about Christianity, there have been lots of philosophers that tried… Read more »

Perry Piper

Right, following up what Omar has said, Transhumanist goals are very similar to the Manhattan Project or Large Hardon Collider projects in terms of scope. The goals are based in reality. Religion just has vague future predictions about the return of prophets and doomsday judgements and such. Those aren’t goals, but things that “might” happen one day. Transhumanism and science in general will keep going into the future through decades or centuries earlier speculation and dreams of science fiction writers and prominent thinkers. After the Manhattan Project’s completion, American leaders concluded that probably anything was possible if we dedicate enough… Read more »

Ekaterinya Vladinakova

A big part of Transhumanism to me is increasing one’s access to choices. What choices do we have when we are all going to grow old, get sick and die? When we develop ways to overcome aging, we will have the choice for these therapies or not. To upgrade the self or not, to free once’s self of horrific suffering.

Perry Piper

Choices are definitely important. The thing that I’m not sure about is if we want to promote both longevity and a sort of free suicide culture. Today, if someone refuses a blood transfusion and dies, they are generally seen as crazy. If parents reject modern medicine and turn to faith healing and their child dies, that’s seen as neglect or even manslaughter. So if someone shoots themselves as a suicide, how is that different from a 100 yr old refusing the next aging vaccine while they are totally healthy otherwise? Are we as a culture ready to accept just normal,… Read more »

Louise Carrier

Really interesting interview as is provoked a lot of questions for me. I know it’s a bit of a basic question but when there are concerns regarding overpopulation if we were to live longer or even become immortal where would everybody go?

Ekaterinya Vladinakova

Interesting question. The main issue with overpopulation is resources and our horribly inefficient method in generating resources, and the high birth rate in extremely poor countries. We will also be upgrading our capacity to create food. The current system we have in place to put food on the table, or to generate energy is incredibly inefficient. There has been progress made in the technology of growing meat from cells extracted livestocks without having to kill an animal. It’s called “Cultured Meat”. This new method would reduce land usage for meat by 99%, since growing tons of animals takes up tons… Read more »

David Murphy

IMO there are a couple of misconceptions in these statements. Factory ‘farming’ methods are extractive (think mining). At some point you have extracted all of the nutrients contained within the environment you’re farming. This is where the entire conception of ‘not enough resources’ comes from. The short term thinking (fix the ‘immediate problem’) solution is ‘extract more efficiently’.. but obviously that just means the mine runs out of resources more rapidly, or use the extracted resources more efficiently.. but of course in the case of calories for human consumption, you can’t increase the efficiency of the ‘human machine’. So, if… Read more »

Perry Piper

Other repliers have great points for the long term changes we might do. However, in the next 100 years, I’d imagine only a tiny fraction of the global population would even sign up to extend their lifespans at all. So many people are religious and believe that to get to the best part of existence, the afterlife with God seeing deceased family members again, that they must die after they’ve lived a natural life. Many other people, even of the Millennial age (1980-2000 birth years), WANT to die for environmental reasons or that they hate living, as silly as that… Read more »

Gabriel González


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