Donald Trump faces presidential challenge from transhumanist cyborg

'I can no longer stand by and watch America fall short of its epic potential,' says Zoltan Istvan

Anthony Cuthbertson
Wednesday 20 November 2019 16:55 GMT
Zoltan Istvan ran in the US presidential elections in 2016 as leader of the Transhumanist Party
Zoltan Istvan ran in the US presidential elections in 2016 as leader of the Transhumanist Party

Donald Trump is facing a surprise challenge for the 2020 Republican nomination for US President in the form of radical futurist Zoltan Istvan.

Mr Istvan previously ran as a third-party candidate in the 2016 US elections for the Transhumanist Party but decided the Republican ticket would provide a better platform to promote his message that science and technology can profoundly transform both America and Americans.

Some of the more extreme promises of transhumanism include reversing ageing and eventually curing death, though some methods of artificially improving the human body are already under development, such as Neuralink’s brain-computer interface.

Mr Istvan embraces these so-called cyborg technologies – he has a chip implanted in his hand that can unlock his front door – and has adopted the campaign slogan: “Upgrading America”.

“Transhumanism is no longer some sci-fi dream, it’s the heart and soul of the world’s largest companies,” he told The Independent.

“My Presidential campaign is about trying to get conservatives to be more open-minded so they can also contribute to this new world. Some conservatives will say I’m a Trojan Horse, trying to harm the GOP, but it’s nothing like that... I want to see American conservatives accept a transhumanist future.”

Many traditional Republicans may find it difficult to accept Mr Istvan, who describes himself as pro-choice, pro-immigration, secular, and a supporter of LGBTQ rights. He is also in favour of slashing military spending in order to invest money into science and technology research.

Other policies like universal basic income may also seem more left-leaning, however Mr Istvan claims that implementing it would not require raising taxes. Instead, robots and artificial intelligence algorithms would replace human jobs and allow workers to enjoy more free time without harming the economy.

Zoltan Istvan campaigned in a coffin-shaped 'Immortality Bus' in 2016

A Federal Land Dividend that monetises the 800 million acres of unused US-owned land would finance the scheme, which he claims would be enough to provide every American with $1,000 a month.

Other bold policies include fighting terrorists with robots and declaring "ageing and disease to be eradicated as the national health mission of the United States".

In an unpublished essay detailing his reasons for running as a Republican, Mr Istvan outlined his belief that the “bright future” that transhumanism offers is only possible through “capitalistic entrepreneurialism and a hands-off approach from the government”.

He warned that countries like China and Russia are already leading the US in terms of efficiency and rate of innovation

“Under the current administration, America’s technological edge is slowly being handed on a platter to authoritarian plowers,” he wrote.

“China is increasingly outdoing us in science and tech – the stuff that historically has bettered everyday American lives more than anything else. I can no longer stand by and watch America fall short of its epic potential.”

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