If you think Zoloft was a HUGE breakthrough, then you haven’t seen nothing yet. Here comes Zoltan throwing down his Transhumanist Wager into an already overstocked presidential field for 2016.
I’ll first have to bring you up to speed with what’s going to be news with a quick blurb summary of Houllebecq’s novel The Possibility of an Island:
Having made a fortune producing comedies that skewer mankind’s consumerism, religious fundamentalism, sexual profligacy, and other affronts, Daniel is forty before he falls prey to the human condition himself: his beloved’s body sags with age, their marriage dissolves, and true happiness seems a luxury reserved for their dog, Fox. After the colossal failure of his second great love affair, he joins a cult of health fanatics determined to produce a misery-free eternal life—manifested here in the voices of Daniel’s subsequent clones, who enjoy the umpteenth Fox’s companionship but shun the bands of fugitive “humans” on the horizon. Their commentary on Daniel’s fate, and on the race as a whole, illuminates the basic tenets of our existence—laughter, tears, love, remorse—and their nostalgia for such emotions, all of which have long since disappeared.
If you think all that sounds stupid and improbable, then you probably haven’t heard of Transhumanism, a movement embraced by people with too much time and money on their hands. The movement’s stated goal is to fundamentally transform human nature through technology that is integrated with the human intellect and enhances our physical capacities. In other words, quasi-immortality, through overcoming nature. You can’t make this crap up.
Check out the following stupidly fawning Reason.com writeup of the first ever transhumanist presidential candidate:
“I’m not saying let’s live forever,” says Zoltan Istvan, transhumanist author, philosopher, and political candidate. “I think what we want is the choice to be able to live indefinitely. That might be 10,000 years; that might only be 170 years.”Istvan devoted his life to transhumanism after nearly stepping on an old landmine whilereporting for National Geographic channel in Vietnam’s demilitarized zone.”I’d say the number one goal of transhumanism is trying to conquer death,” says Istvan.Reason TV’s Zach Weissmueller interviewed Istvan about real-world life-extension technology ranging from robotic hearts to cryogenic stasis, Istvan’s plan to run for president under the banner of the Transhumanist party, the overlap between the LGBT movement and transhumanism, and the role that governments play in both aiding and impeding transhumanist goal.
Zoltan lives up to his Hungarian super-villain first name with the following, ultimately amusing (Houellebecq amusing not haha-amusing), reflection upon the possibility of electing a robot president. When asked by Esquire about such a possibility he’s at first childishly enthusiastic about the potential of AI (apparently without being aware of Herbert L. Dreyfus’ devastating critiques of AI):
Can a robot be president? Can that happen?
I have advocated for the use of artificial intelligence to potentially, one day, replace the president of the United States, as well as other politicians. And the reason is that you might actually have an entity that would be truly unselfish, truly not influenced by any type of lobbyist. Now, of course, I’m not [talking about] trying to have a robot today, especially if I’m running for the U.S. presidency. But in the future–maybe 30 years into the future–it’s very possible you could have an artificial intelligence system that can run the country better than a human being.
He then goes into a spiel about the selfishness of human beings that’s a clear and laudable holdover from Original Sin. But robots, it turns out, aren’t immune from selfishness either, but that can be solved an on/off switch (Because super smart robots that run the country won’t be smart enough to get around them. DUH!) . . .