Interview with Zoltan Istvan
When and how did you decide to become a transhumanist?
I began reading science fiction books when I was a child, but it wasn’t until college at Columbia University that I was introduced to the idea that there already existed a real social movement aiming to overcome death with science. As soon as I found out that many researchers were already engaged in this quest, I joined the transhumanist movement.
What is the scope of transhumanism in the world presently?
Transhumanism is a movement comprised of tens of millions of people around the world that want to use science and technology to remake the human being—and to remake human experience. Our long term goal is to merge with machines.
You crowdfunded your Immortality bus, can you tell us a little about crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is a brilliant tool for anyone that wants to start a project but doesn’t have access to typical financing. It’s also a way to get one’s community excited, since a lot of the funding comes from spreading the word on social media of the project—which is precisely what happened with my Immortality Bus.
What do you think is the biggest problem with the american presidential election system?
The US election system essentially rewards those with the most money, so smaller candidates don’t get very far since they simply can’t afford to compete successfully. But all governments need lesser known candidates to bring new, fresh ideas into governing. We must find a way to elevate smaller candidates and their ideas so they can also be competitive in elections.
Who or what inspires you most?
I’m most inspired by the scientists and engineers trying to overcome death with radical technology. If as a species we can cure aging and disease by 2030 instead of 2050, one billion lives will be saved. This is very transhumanitarian.
Do designer babies and cybernetic enhancements not create a potentially huge gap in equality?
All science and technology can be used for good or bad. Science is inherently neutral. But humans are not. So I think designer babies and cybernetic enhancements can be incredibly beneficial to all people, regardless of class. In fact, it can help build equality, but humans must use it properly to help everyone. This is, of course, easier said than done.
You’ve stated that you would happily get a cybernetic enhancement. Do you think cyber security will become a bigger problem if people have cybernetic parts?
I already have a chip in my hand which opens my home’s front door, and I do worry that such technology can be compromised. When youth ask me: What field should I go into? I always answer: cyber security. It’s going to be one of the biggest and most important fields in the world.