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Watch > Episode > Zoltan Istvan - Transhumanist

Zoltan Istvan - Transhumanist

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Zoltan Istvan is an American writer, futurist, philosopher and transhumanist. He writes transhumanist-themed columns including “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.

As a dynamic thinker and a former presidential candidate, Istvan has played a crucial role in bringing the transhumanist movement into public discourse. In this London Real episode, Zoltan stops by the studio to talk about the aims of transhumanism, why religious views are holding back scientific progress in health and the drivers behind his presidential campaign.

Born in Los Angeles in 1973, Zoltan Istvan’s early life was marked by a curiosity about the world and a keen interest in the potential of technology. His academic background includes studying philosophy and religion at Columbia University, which laid the groundwork for his later exploration of the philosophical and ethical implications of emerging technologies.

Zoltan Istvan emerged as a prominent figure in the transhumanist movement, a philosophical and cultural movement advocating for the use of science and technology to enhance the human condition. In 2013, Istvan gained widespread attention with the publication of his novel, “The Transhumanist Wager.” The book explores the journey of Jethro Knights, a transhumanist protagonist, and delves into the ethical dilemmas and societal consequences of pursuing radical human enhancement.

In 2016, Zoltan Istvan took his transhumanist ideas to the political arena by running as a third-party candidate for the U.S. presidency. His campaign, under the banner of the Transhumanist Party, aimed to bring attention to issues related to emerging technologies, artificial intelligence, and the ethical considerations surrounding human enhancement. While his candidacy did not result in electoral success, it succeeded in elevating transhumanist discourse on the national stage.

Zoltan Istvan is a vocal proponent of technological optimism, the belief that advancements in science and technology have the potential to solve many of humanity’s challenges. One of his key focuses is on radical life extension, advocating for the development and widespread acceptance of technologies that could extend human lifespans significantly. Istvan envisions a future where individuals can choose to enhance and extend their lives through cutting-edge medical interventions.

As part of his presidential campaign, Zoltan Istvan embarked on the “Immortality Bus” tour, a symbolic journey aimed at promoting life extension technologies and sparking conversations about the possibilities of overcoming death. The bus, designed as a coffin on wheels, became a provocative symbol of Istvan’s commitment to challenging societal norms and encouraging discussions about mortality.

Zoltan Istvan’s impact on the transhumanist movement extends beyond his political endeavours. His work has contributed to raising awareness about the potential implications of emerging technologies, ethical dilemmas, and the importance of actively shaping the future of humanity. Istvan continues to be a sought-after speaker, writer, and advocate for transhumanist ideals, participating in discussions about the evolving relationship between humans and technology.

Zoltan Istvan’s journey from a philosophical explorer to a transhumanist advocate and political candidate reflects the dynamic intersection of technology, ethics, and human potential. While his ideas may be considered radical by some, Istvan’s contributions have undeniably propelled conversations about the future of humanity into mainstream discourse. As technological advancements continue to shape the trajectory of our species, Zoltan Istvan remains a prominent voice in the ongoing dialogue about the ethical, philosophical, and practical considerations of embracing a transhumanist future.

Chapters

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.

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