Transhumanist UK

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Transhumanist UK logo, adopted 2019

Transhumanist UK, formerly known as the Transhumanist Party of the United Kingdom is a UK-based organisation with the stated goal of "positive social change through technology"[1].

Core activities

Transhumanist UK is a registered political party, but has no current plans to stand any candidates in any elections. Instead, the organisation is committed to raising awareness of the relevance and practicality of transhumanist insights, for the task of building a substantially better future for everyone in the UK:[2]

So long as the voting system in the UK remains "first past the post", the prospects are poor for any new political party to gain more than a token number of votes in any constituency in an election. As a comparison consider the Renew Party, with its well-developed national infrastructure, regular mailshots, and numerous interesting policy initiatives. In the UK General Election in December 2019, Renew stood candidates in four constituencies. These candidates received between 119 and 151 votes each, that is, from 0.2% to 0.3% of the votes cast in the various constituencies.

Transhumanist UK maintains its status as an official political party in the UK, registered with the Electoral Commission, but has no plans for stand candidates in any election in the foreseeable future. Instead, Transhumanist UK will advance its goals by regularly publishing articles, graphics memes, audio podcasts, and videos that apply transhumanist understanding to the issues and opportunities facing the UK.

In this way, Transhumanist UK is committed to raising awareness of the relevance and practicality of transhumanist insights, for the task of building a substantially better future for everyone in the UK, in line with the RAFT 2035 goals.

History

Founders

The party's founders included:

2015

April 2015 promotional video for the Transhumanist Party

Initial policies were developed firstly from the Wave organisation, then through the Institute for Social Futurism prior to the success of Zoltan Istvan with the transhumanist party brand.[5]

The party held its first AGM in October 2015 where its first batch of policies were ratified. The following statement was agreed by a vote at the AGM:[6]

The Transhumanist Party’s ideological position is known as Social Futurism, which represents the integration of social and technological concerns. We adopt this position as a reminder that our central mission as a Transhumanist political party is to harness technological potential for the benefit of society.

An H* symbol was adopted as the logo of the party following a vote among members.

On 12th October 2015 Transhumanist Party UK released a statement that "Zoltan Istvan does not speak for the Transhumanist Party" in response to his failure to engage with the wider community and transhumanist party movement.[7]

2016

In November 2016 the party announced[8] that two of its founders had resigned their roles - Amon Twyman and Dirk Bruere:

These resignations arose from the recognition that there are many drawbacks to creating and developing a new political party in the United Kingdom:

  • The “first past the post” electoral system makes it especially difficult for minority parties to win seats in parliament
  • Political parties need to establish a set of policies on a wide range of issues – issues away from the areas of core agreement among members, and where dissension can easily arise
  • The timescales spoken about for full electoral success – potentially up to 25 years – are far too far into the future, given all the other changes expected in the meantime.

2017

The party announced in April 2017[9] that it was sponsoring a prize challenge during April and May 2017 for the best H+Pedia contributions on the topic of New Social Contract.

2019

In January 2019 the party announced that Mathieu Gosselin and David Wood would take over as co-leaders[10].

During 2019 the party also

2020

In January 2020 the party announced another update:[11]

We'll be focusing on a set of bold, transformational goals that the UK can achieve by 2035, to take deep advantage of revolutions within science and technology.

We'll be rolling out a new set of projects that will lay important groundwork, between now and 2025, for the larger changes that lie ahead...

To take part in discussions with other members and supporters of the Party about initiatives for 2020 and beyond, you can join the channel named #tpuk on the Slack workspace provided by one of TPUK's sister organisations, London Futurists...

From June 2020 the organisation:

  • Started to emphasise the name "Transhumanist UK" rather than "Transhumanist Party (UK)"
  • Started to publish regular "Vanguard" news stories[12], providing transhumanist commentary on issues and opportunities in the UK
  • Indicated that the main activities of the organisation for the foreseeable future would be the Vanguard publications, comprising text articles, graphics memes, audio podcasts, and videos[13]

Press releases

Press releases issued by Transhumanist UK include:

Call for open, truthful politics

Noting the fact that initial reporting of the Wuhan Coronavirus had been suppressed by local authorities, and commenting on recent treatment of journalists by the UK's Conservative government, the party issued a call "for open, truthful politics"[14] :

The Transhumanist Party in the UK reaffirms the principles of Evidence, Science, and Technology. As stated on the front page of the Party website, "All policy will as far as possible be evidence-based rather than ideology-based. Open sharing of information is paramount".

Alexander Karran, member of the Party’s National Executive, commented:

"In a world where false information flies at the speed of light around online media, it’s more important than ever that politicians respect principles of truthfulness and openness. If politics becomes a game which is won by whoever tells the most pernicious lies, we’ll all lose out."

Party Leader, David Wood, added:

"It’s not just variant new biological viruses that should worry all of us; variant new mental viruses can cause global chaos too, as they spread misinformation and confusion. We need to increase our watchfulness about both types of virus, and to address the circumstances that encourage their spread."

Universal Basic Income

The party welcomed the publication[15] of the RSA’s report “Creative citizen, creative state: the principled and pragmatic case for a Universal Basic Income”:

According to Transhumanist Party research and analysis, accelerating technological unemployment has the potential - within the next decade - to magnify social inequality, disruption and alienation. People who trained hard for new career opportunities may discover that their employment prospects have been overtaken by increasingly sophisticated robots, AIs, software, or other automation.

Dr Amon Twyman, Party Leader, commented:

“A new social contract is needed, involving strong educational and economic support for those who are left with no viable option of ‘earning a living’ due to rapid technological change. A UBI would provide an important part of this new social contract. The RSA’s advocacy of a UBI will help the task of the Transhumanist Party to bring about new political thinking in the UK that champions individual and social creativity.”

Psychoactive Substances Bill

The party criticised[16] the Psychoactive Substances Bill in the UK parliament:

The blanket ban undermines past and current research, and threatens the future development of other low risk, non-recreational drugs and supplements that can be of potential therapeutic benefit to citizens...

Gene editing of embryos

The party congratulated[17] the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority on its foresight in allowing gene editing of embryos:

The Transhumanist Party views this decision as a key landmark in the progress towards a future in which hereditary diseases are eliminated. Furthermore, we see this decision as a vital first step in exploring and developing applications of the new, revolutionary and globally accessible genetic engineering tools that have become available over the past three years.

With such tools the human genome can be modified and enhanced not only to eliminate disease but to make significant progress towards the Transhumanist goal of citizens being “better than well”, wherein various traits such as resistance to all forms of disease, increased healthy longevity and improved cognitive ability can be emphasised to improve general health and happiness for all through all stages of life.

It is our vision that this technology be made accessible to all, and applied to the point where such historically divisive issues as race and gender become no more important than fashion choices on the road to becoming a posthuman species.

See also

External links

References