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.