We had the amazing opportunity to interview Mr. Zoltan Istvan. In this interview, he tells us about how radical science and technology can be used as a tool for human evolution to make our lives and society better. As a transhumanist who is very much into cryptocurrency and bitcoin, he describes himself as a wanting to become an intermediary between the scientists and the people, where he can create a cycle of “funding the scientist through the people to give back to the people”. Another topic he mentioned is that not all the super-rich want to become gods. Please read and find out why.
Interview Date : 20th May 2020
A transhumanist is somebody who wants to use radical science and technology to modify the human being and life in society better. Transhumanism is a social movement of many millions of people that want to use science and technology to radically modify the human being and also modify the human body.
It can be like anything from exoskeleton technology that allows a disabled person to walk again or a brain implant that allows you to commune directly with artificial intelligence. It can be something like genetic editing where you might try to regrow a third arm. But whatever it is, it’s always radical science and technology.
The opposite of that, at least in America, would be very strong religious views that say “don’t modify anything about the human body because the human body was put here by God as its perfect kind of form”. In America, we have many people who think that transhumanism is very evil. They don’t want to use science and technology in their lives to change the form of the human body. So that’s what I think would be the exact opposite of transhumanism.
There are often conflicts that you read about in the media and the news about people who say “ transhumanists are really bad people because they want to change the human species to become something different.” But for us, it’s never about changing the human body, it’s always about “how can we best achieve perfect health” ”How can we live the longest so people don’t have to die” and that is just using medical science and technology.
However, in reality, things keep getting wilder and more radical every 5 to 10 years. Eventually, we will be machines, we won’t breathe oxygen, we won’t eat food, and one day we will be truly something else that is still able to think and be ourselves but something that is very quite different at the same time. Now this might be 100 years from now, but that is the evolutionary pattern that we are following.
I think everything will change. The reason everything changes is because technology changes. Biology is strong and that is why our hearts fail after 70~80 years, or our brains and thoughts grow old because biology was not designed to last forever. However, if you talk about machines, like computers for example, a normal functioning computer can go on for thousands of years without wearing itself down if you take proper precautions. That is really why transhumanists want to integrate themselves into synthetic parts; parts that are not biological but that are much more manmade and synthetically or machine made with titanium, silicone, etc.
Most Super-rich don’t want to become God
The number one goal of transhumanism is to try to overcome death with science and technology. There are 2 critics that we always get. The first is “ if no one dies, how will the world deal with overpopulation?” and honestly, that’s a very good critic and a good question. We are not 100% percent sure. Maybe we are destroying the planet through overdevelopment and overpopulation on planet earth. A scenario where nobody dies in the transhuman stage and we have 20 billion people might be an issue. That is a fair enough critic and hopefully we will figure out ways around it. However, the other critic which comes up a lot is “ how do we make sure that the super-rich doesn’t take those radical technologies, and apply them only to themselves leaving the rest of us behind?”.
In this age of democracy mostly around the world, I don’t believe that people like for example Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates and other people like that, want to be gods themselves and leave the rest of us behind. I believe they are just people who had good business minds, got lucky, became very wealthy and now they probably want to help. Bill Gates for example is doing social work to help humanity with a lot of his wealth, and I think the last thing he wants to do is to leave all of us behind so that he can become some great god. When people put up that critic, I just don’t find that be the case, and most very wealthy people almost more obliged to help the rest of us. Maybe 100 years ago it was a different world, but now it seems like that to some extent the super-rich especially in the field of technology and transhumans field, care about humanity.
Most Transhumanists are Pro-Bitcoin
Most transhumanists support crypto, and when I ran in 2016 in my presidential campaign for the Transhumanist Party , I was one of the very first presidential candidates to ever take Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. I think it is a fascinating thing, it is awesome and I do own some myself. However, for me what is even more important than cryptocurrency is blockchain technology. Blockchain technology is going to revolutionize how the world operates. That can be anything from marriage licenses, passports, real estate transactions to the way we deal with money. The blockchain out there, as soon as we get more and more companies to implement it, it will have a transformative effect on society. It will screen-line everything and make it safe, make things more functional, and easier to access all the kinds of things that we want in a trustworthy manner. I am not certain about which coin will end up winning because I don’t think every one of them will survive. There is a good chance that at some point the cryptocurrency replaces the US dollar or at least gets directly tagged to the US dollar. That will be more functional, quicker, digital, safer, etc. so I have been a big supporter of these types of technologies. It is especially blockchain that I think from a political point of view could very much revolutionize the world.
Not in the 2020 election but by the elections in 2024, at least here in the United States we will have discussed whether we should implement blockchain technology in the presidential elections. Will we accept something that like that this soon on such a big scale? Maybe it first will take place in a government or lower-level offices. However the fact is that technology is essentially already here, and we have already proven the safeguards. Now, the real question is “can we get other people, the people themselves, to trust it?” In America, half of the population is made up of senior citizens and they want to write something down on paper. If they don’t see the paper they get scared. Now, this is even worse with the internet and blockchain in terms of it being so new. What they don’t realize though is, blockchain is going to be perfectly safe and it has the potential of making elections much safer. So you can trust the blockchain just like you would in a piece of paper. I might not trust the internet, but the blockchain is quite different. It is virtually unhackable and if we can build a voting scenario around that, I think that would be a huge boom in terms of credibility in elections.
Right now, it is like half the elections you read about whether its Russia or even America sometimes, you can’t tell if it’s fair, you don’t know what’s going on. Once you have blockchain the credibility goes up and we start believing that “this candidate won at the elections, you can verify it by looking at it in the ledger “.
Interviewer , Editor : Lina Kamada
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