We want to declare ageing a disease

Zoltan Istvan is currently a Libertarian candidate for Governor in California, also former 2016’s US presidential candidate for the Transhumanist Party and he is known around the world as someone that advocates for Transhumanism, a public figure in science and technology.
4-portada.jpg
Dr. Marcela Gatica-Andrades and Nadia Politis from Science Communication Center interviewing Zoltan Istvan
  
Dr. Marcela Gatica-Andrades

Report:
Dr. Marcela Gatica-Andrades

17, April 2018

That week back in January this year was quite busy in Santiago, Chile. During the same period the Pope visited the country; the Formula E, a world solar cars race- was held in Santiago; and the Congreso del Futuro, the biggest science communication event in Chile and Latin America- took place across the entire country. In that hectic context, Zoltan Istvan arrived in Chile to take part of this last event as a keynote speaker in the cities of Santiago and Talca.

He was quite kind in receiving us at his hotel in down town to share his thoughts about diverse topics including science, technology and the future of humanity.

Since we are not quite familiar with Transhumanism in this side of the world, we asked Zoltan to explain it in friendly way: “Transhumanism is anything that is radical technology that is really applied to the human being (…) Around the world we have essentially eradicated deafness (…) and the reason of this is because of this implant that is attached to the hearing nerve in the brain (…) Now if you are deaf in the world is because you chose to not use that technology. We consider this Transhumanism”.

When we think in a country like Chile that despite its big achievements in science and technology is still far away from the developed world in this regard, Transhumanist ideas seem to be out of our reach yet. However, Zoltan has a different view. Considering the huge amount of natural resources that Chile has, plus the fact that Chile is a science leader in Latin America, he thinks that the country just need to take a lead, as China has done.

Zoltan said that he could easily see Chile rising to the top if there is enough education built into the system, because after all the country possess the best land on the planet earth.

 

foto_1_reportaje_2
  Zoltan Istvan

“This is why very deep, in the cultural way, we are afraid of science”

Asked about why he thinks most people seems not to be aware about cutting-edge scientific knowledge and the importance of science in our daily live, Zoltan thinks that the main reason behind is that most places in the world are very religious

Although he highlighted he is not against religion, he commented that the conflict comes from the fact that religion promises an afterlife, where radical science and Transhumanism promise similar things, but in this life.

I do not actually see the conflict in my own opinion, I actually think on if you believe in a creator, the creator tools are radical medicine and radical technology, that creator has given humanity those tools. But I think all old school religion people still much are worried that radical technology is somehow, you know, opposing the religious face”.

foto_2_reportaje_2

Zoltan Istvan.

As part of the same discussion we talked about how technology is always several steps forward from us and how the young generations are the ones that are being rising in this technological revolution. “I think the younger generation is going to grow up, they are going to feel very comfortable with putting technology in their bodies, with having technology all around them, they do not have the same privacy issues that we have, they just show everything in the internet because that is what they use to. I think the real future is with them. It is probably going to be a clash between the older generation to our like”.

One of my main policies is to try to convince the world that we should all have universal right to live indefinitely

During his presidential campaign he delivered a Transhumanist bill of rights, which central idea is to declare ageing a disease in order to get significantly more funding into ageing research

If you have a trillion of dollars (…) going into the field of anti-ageing- the Iraq war costs about 6 trillions dollars, to give you an idea- we think we will probably come 50% closer to stopping ageing-starting diseases and living life much longer, probably extending life by 20 years, just with a trillion of dollars".

So my main goal is really to try to get that funding into that field, as well as that declaration that, you know, UN has universal bill of rights, that most of countries follow and we are hoping that in the future they will start to add ideas from the Transhumanist bill of rights".

I think the central idea is that we want to declare ageing a disease. The reason is once you declare ageing as a disease, then a ton of government funding will start to go to it

Zoltan is convinced that this technology is going to become the most important science in 21st century and is actually going to change how we live. “If we are not going to suffer from disease, or we have less of the chance, we are going to live very differently, we are going to be healthier, our parents we will live longer, our kids will be able to overcome leukaemia.

We believe that in the 21st century you should have the universal right to indefinite life span, just like you have the universal right to vaccines

Is the earth prepared to hold people living forever?

Zoltan believes that although there is an overpopulation problem already, the earth can handle about 10 or 12 billions people, but the distribution resources has to be much better. He also thinks as we get into the age of Nanotechnology we are going to have the ability to recreate environments. He believes that once we get into that technology, we are not going to worry about destroying some things if we can recreate it with nanotechnology

Already with genetic editing we can regrow a tomato twice as quick. But probably in ten years we are going to be able to grow that tomato ten times as quick”.

We asked Zoltan about the tiny chip he got implanted in one of his hands: “I can start a car, I can open my front door home, I can send you a text message if you have the right phone and do passwords and I can even pay for things, some things”. 

Would you like to see how this implant does actually work? Check this video out!


“This is the most important statistic you can know from Transhumanism: if we can solve ageing by 2030 versus the year 2050, we will save one billion lives from dying”.

In deep...
The CRISPR/Cas9 genetic editing technology


Zoltan is convinced that this technology is going to become the most important science in 21st century and is actually going to change how we live. “If we are not going to suffer from disease, or we have less of the chance, we are going to live very differently, we are going to be healthier, our parents we will live longer, our kids will be able to overcome leukaemia".

Dr. Marcela Gatica-Andrades
Report: Dr. Marcela Gatica-Andrades
Pictures: Pablo Madariaga

17, April 2018

Related