Humanity+ Newsletter – August 2010

In this issue:
- Humanity+ Board of Directors election results
- Humanity+ Press
- Become a full member
- Upcoming events

Humanity+ Board of Directors election results

The newly elected Board members of Humanity+ are Howard Bloom, Thomas McCabe, and Max More. Congratulations!

Humanity+ sends a sincere thank you to all candidates who ran for the Board. You are valued members and we look forward to working with you in building our future.

Following is the profile of the new Board members, from their candidate statements.

Howard Bloom (http://www.howardbloom.net)

Technology makes us human. The more technology we have, the more human we become. Howard is the founder of the The Space Development Steering Committee, members of the Steering Committee include: Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Astronaut, Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 Astronaut, Dennis Bushnell, Chief Scientist, NASA Langley Research Center, among others. He is a member of the: New York Academy of Sciences, National Association for the Advancement of Science, American Psychological Society, Academy of Political Science, Human Behavior and Evolution Society, He has written several books, including: “The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism”, “Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century”, “The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History”. In 1976, he founded The Howard Bloom Organization, Ltd a public relations firm that represented such artists Prince, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Bette Midler, Billy Joel, Billy Idol, Peter Gabriel, David Byrne, Simon & Garfunkel, Queen, Kiss, Aerosmith, AD/DC, John Mellencamp and Run DMC.

Thomas McCabe (http://www.rationalfuturist.com)

I first became interested in transhumanism when I was eleven. Since that time, I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects with many different transhumanist organizations- from Humanity+, to the Singularity Institute, the Lifeboat Foundation, Ray Kurzweil’s website KurzweilAI.net, Betterhumans LLC, and the Future of Humanity Institute through their website Less Wrong (lesswrong.com). Although I am currently studying at Yale University, and have enjoyed my time there a great deal, I can honestly say that the transhumanist community far exceeds the Yale student body in both the quantity and quality of interesting ideas.

Since Humanity+ was founded twelve years ago, we have all gained an immensely greater understanding of the promise and impact of human self-modification and accelerating technological progress. Now it is time, I firmly believe, for us to embark on the journey of, not just discussing these technologies, but actively influencing and contributing to their development. For we, as some of the very first intelligent creatures to ever exist, have been handed a golden opportunity- to not just understand the future, but to make it better than it would have otherwise been, for us and for our descendants during the trillions of years to come.

Some might wonder how we can do this effectively, since Humanity+ is still a relatively small organization (though I have pushed, and will continue to push, hard for its growth). The answer lies in the curious gap that has opened up in modern society. On the one hand, we have corporations- who pursue only technologies which will generate an immediate near-term return, and who (for the most part) avoid doing anything too radical, for fear of upsetting institutional investors. On the other hand, we have academia- which is free to explore the infinite possibilities of future technologies, but whose output is measured in papers and citations, rather than number of lives changed or patents filed. Into this gap have poured a large number of the most interesting projects of the past thirty years, including the free software movement, the RepRap project and the DIYBio groups. As a professional software engineer, I have not the foggiest idea how I could possibly write even ten percent of the code I produce without these projects, even though their budgets are very small or nonexistent.

Therefore, if elected, I would make it my goal to have Humanity+ complete at least one nontrivial engineering, software, biotech, or other technology development project that helps further transhumanist objectives by the end of 2011. It may be necessary to start small, but with every project, our collective expertise will grow, and we’ll become more adept at handling difficulties. In the Humanity+ community, we have already brought together the ideas, the talent, and the desire to make something like this happen. All that remains is simply to decide on a project, and then get out there and do it.

In addition to this, I will continue pushing the existing projects of Humanity+ forward at an accelerating pace. I firmly believe that the major role I played during 2009′s and this year’s Singularity Summit, including managing the website and registration system, would be of significant help for the coming Humanity+ Summit in L.A. this November. I have been writing for H+ Magazine for over a year now, and hope to continue my efforts to expand the magazine and make it a primary source for transhumanist journalism. And I also greatly desire to build individual websites and social networks for the local chapters of Humanity+, so that those passionate about our cause can more easily participate in face-to-face meetups and collaboration with those close to them.

Max More (http://www.maxmore.com)

For decades I have cared deeply about the future of humanity–about helping to change our species’ mindset so that we question the fundamental limits of our nature and our potential. We should be questioning and overcoming limits to our life spans, our intelligence and wisdom, our emotional maturity, and our collective institutions. Only transhumanism systematically challenges all these unchosen limits on what we have called “human nature”. We live in a historically unprecedented time when we are rapidly gaining the ability to chart better courses for our future. Transhumanism as represented by Humanity Plus can play a vital role in making this happen.

Not all of you will be familiar with my long and deep background in transhumanism, so let me note that I: co-founded the original transhumanist magazine, Extropy: The Journal of Transhumanist Thought in 1988, and Extropy Institute in the early 1990s; organized five Extro conferences–the first explicitly transhumanist conferences; founded the English cryonics organization Alcor-UK (originally Mizar); wrote seminal transhumanist essays, including “Transhumanism: Toward a Futurist Philosophy” (1990), “The Principles of Extropy”, “A Letter to Mother Nature: Amendments to the Human Constitution” (1999), “Technological Self-Transformation: Expanding Personal Extropy” (1993), “Dynamic Optimism: An Extropian Cognitive-Emotional Virtue” (1992), and more recent papers such as “True Transhumanism” (2009); spoke at dozens of conferences (including several WTA/H+ and Singularity Summit events), and spread transhumanist ideas through numerous newspaper, magazine, and TV interviews.

I know how boards work, both through personal experience and many years of organizational study. I know most of the current directors and value their ethics and commitment. Being able to work well together is critical, so I emphasize that I have always worked smoothly with other directors in previous times of board experience. I would be honored to work together with the current Board to further Humanity Plus. My own goals as a director fit very comfortably with the plans of the current directors, especially in terms of helping develop a stronger student network, the H+ online magazine, attracting people currently “in the closet”, developing specific research projects, and supporting the board in its shared objectives such as growing membership and increasing our influence in both academic and more general discussions of technology-related issues of opportunity and risk.

My first and primary area of activity will be leading and personally contributing to a well-organized bibliographic resource–the greatest ever collection of transhumanist information, organized by topic, tagged and searchable by topic and author. Part of this resource should be a directory of Humanity+ members and their skills, both to spur volunteer efforts for Humanity+ projects and to encourage productive networking and project development to the benefit of individual members and to transhumanism and our species as a whole. I would also bring my skills and experience to bear to boost publicity for Humanity+ and bring to the board deep knowledge of effective processes for both creative and critical thinking. As a board member, I would eagerly draw on my experience and good relationships with thousands of thought leaders and practical organizers developed over almost three decades.

A bit of other background: I am currently co-editing a major volume, The Transhumanist Reader, and also completing my own book on making wiser and more intelligent decisions about complex issues concerning technology and the environment. My educational background: I received a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University in 1987, and a PhD in Philosophy in 1995–but please don’t hold that against me.

Humanity+ Press releases first book

“The Cosmist Manifesto” by Ben Goertzel is the first book published by Humanity+ Press. The term Cosmism was introduced by Tsiolokovsky and other Russian Cosmists around 1900. Goertzel’s “Cosmist Manifesto” gives it new life and a new twist for the 21st century. Cosmism, as Goertzel presents it, is a practical philosophy for the posthuman era. Rooted in Western and Eastern philosophy as well as modern technology and science, it is a way of understanding ourselves and our universe that makes sense now, and will keep on making sense as advanced technology exerts its transformative impact as the future unfolds.

Watch out for new books published by Humanity+ Press shortly!

Founded in 2010, Humanity+ Press is a publisher operated by Humanity+, focused on works that promote understanding, interest and participation in fields of emerging innovation with strong potential to lead to a radically better future.

We are committed to releasing works under author-friendly licenses (currently Creative Commons licenses); and in a variety of formats and media, which currently encompasses both electronic and paper forms. We will release both single-author works, and multi-author works such as collections of abstracts or papers presented at H+ Summit, and other conferences. Our focus will be on nonfiction works aimed at a general audience; but we may also release a small selection of thematically appropriate technical, fiction or artistic works as well.

If you are an author interested in distributing your work through Humanity+ Press, please email press@humanityplus.org with a brief book proposal and author bio (and if available a link to a draft of the work).

Support Humanity+ By Becoming A Full Member

With only $50 per calendar year as a Full Member, or $20 per month as a Supporting Member, you can express your commitment to Humanity+, its values, projects, and vote in the elections for the Board Of Directors, which are held each January. Don’t delay, join Humanity+ today as a Full Member!

Upcoming events

The GOGBOT Festival in the Netherlands features from September 9-12, with a focus on Nanotech, Biotech and Transhumanism.

Bionics and Nanotech International Forum takes place on September 30 in Barranquilla, Colombia. Featured talks cover transhumanism and human enhancement.

“Transhumanism and Spirituality” is the theme for this year’s The Mormon Transhumanist Association conference at the University of Utah on October 1st.

Personalized Life Extension Conference
Advances are being made daily on what each of us can do NOW to slow the aging process to a minimum, and to delay or prevent the diseases of aging. Life extension news comes out faster than any one of us can evaluate it on our own. Let’s get together and determine how to take personal action. Special discount for Humanity+ members: register with discount code HUMANITY+ to get $100 off the price of admission.

PopTech’s conference theme this year is “Brilliant Accidents, Necessary Failures, and Improbable Breakthroughs” from October 20-23.

TransVision 2010 takes place from 22-24 October in Milan, Italy.

H+ Summit: Live Long and Prosper in Los Angeles, November 5-6-7 will focus on how to make the most of your potential 150 year lifespan, including a unique H+ look at economics, finance, entrepreneurship, and the most likely sources for new wealth to emerge in the next few years and decades.

Copyright notice

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. Humanity+ and the Humanity+ logo are trademarks of Humanity+, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

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