People want to know why I’m running for the Humanity+ board of directors after throwing the second annual Extreme Futurist Festival. Times have changed quite a bit. Festivals like XFF, websites like Transhumanity, and organizations like Zero State have become the new voice of transhumanism.
DIY Transhumanism is practically considered mainstream at this point. Last year I was on the front page of iO9 in an article about radical body modification. Why run for the Humanity+ board of directors? Why bother with the old guard when I’ve worked for several years on creating a new one? Is this just an evil plot for world domination?
When the year 2013 began I did not expect to receive so many angry messages about transhumanism. “Technology is a club for rich people. How will anyone without a nice paycheck be able to experience the Singularity? Do you think that people in developing countries have iPads? Don’t you realize you are living in a bubble?”
My initial response was surprise. The Extreme Futurist Festival was not an exclusive event for rich people. We had many volunteers who were admitted free entry: student discounts: a strong vibe against classism. Someone hitchhiked across the country just to to get to XFF and received donations from their network so they could attend. A major point of XFF was to bring radical technology into the hands of the people. DIY. Yet eventually I understood what was going on. I was now seen as some type of authority on transhumanism, and people had questions that needed to be answered.
Recently, on my Reddit AMA at /r/futurology, I spoke about what I have dubbed poverty of the working class intelligentsia. Being personally connected to hundreds of artists and philosophers who are fighting just to pay their rent, I understand what it feels like to be brilliant yet economically struggling. Many people in San Francisco do not. They think that smart = money. “If you were actually smart you’d be rich.”
It is never that simple. I meet people living in hacker squats who blow me away with their ideas. I meet people at fancy parties who do not hold a candle to them in terms of intellect. They hold progressive political beliefs but remain intellectually conservative. Of course we are all rich in the United States. There is an iPhone app for Couchsurfing.
I am running for the Humanity+ board of directors because I wish for DIY Transhumanism to make this community as inclusive as possible. People feel locked out due to attitudes of exclusivity: like the gates are now closed: like they didn’t graduate from the right university and are now shunned from the core of transhumanism.
We should be letting people in and not locking them out. We should be encouraging a more artistic approach toward the evolution of our species. Class should not be based on wealth but intelligence. People in both developed and developing countries should have the right to medical augmentations. We all deserve a shot at immortality: at mind uploading: at experiencing the Singularity: at enhancing ourselves through technology.
Neurodiverse people should not be seen as a PR disaster. I was recently told that I did not deserve a seat on the Humanity+ board of directors because I was open about being non-neurotypical. This is the type of attitude that needs to end. It is through neurodiversity that new models of consciousness are developing. With so many new flowers blooming, this is a garden that can no longer be contained. The ivory tower has been challenged despite its credentials.
The old guard must accept that we, as a community, have reached a new step in evolution. Through joining the old guard I wish to become a bridge. DIY Transhumanism will tear down the walls that divide the old guard from the new, and the separation between us will finally end. I may not be the most PR-acceptable person who is running in this election, but I guarantee that if you vote for me you will experience a more popular and welcoming future as a member of Humanity+.