Zoltan Istvan is running as a Transhumanist party candidate. He has a science focus. Here is an email interview with Nextbigfuture
What has the campaign been like for you ? What media attention ?
My campaign has been a whirlwind since it started nearly 20 months ago. The amount of attention given to it has been both wonderful and overwhelming. It turns out no one visible has ever really made a Presidential run entirely based on a science and technology platform. So there has been lots of curiosity from the public as to what type of ideas I have.
The most important concept of my campaign is simple: Science and Technology can best help and fix the problems and issues the United States and the world faces. It’s better to use science and technology to solve issues rather than historic precedence, religious ideals, ethnic propensities, or cultural values.
Please summarize key aspects of your platform ?
The main idea of my Presidential platform is to put science, medicine, and technology at the forefront of US politics. Right now, most politics is about common social issues, like taxes, immigration, and foreign policy. While these issues are important, I don’t think they’re as important as artificial intelligence, designer babies, and eliminating human suffering and hardship using tech innovation.
Some key points of my platform including support for a Universal Basic Income, using radical technology (like nanotechnology) to fix the environmental crisis, the use of chip implants to help personal safety, direct digital democracy, a transhumanist Olympics, and much more government resources for space exploration.
What traction are you getting with the public ?
A month ago an iQuanti survey came out, and it essentially placed me 5th overall in Google searches of all the presidential candidates. This reflects also my traction in major media. So basically, there’s Clinton and Trump, and then I’m right behind Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party Jill Stein. Once that news came out, a bunch more media about me followed, including front page features on the sites of USA Today, The Oregonian, and The Guardian. Plus calls came in from CNN, National Geographic Channel, and HBO. There’s a growing media interest in the fact that even a 5th place candidate—at least in this crazy political election cycle—could get maybe a million or more votes. After all, it’s mostly the millennials that support me, and there are about 80 million of them.
My situation in Florida is particularly interesting, as it’s a battleground state, and many transhumanists and science-advocates live there—possibly 10,000 or more. So we could be that force that pushes the final elections one way or the other—and media is remember that Al Gore lost the elections to George W. Bush in Florida by about 500 votes. I think the Trump and Clinton teams are watching this—and watching me—and I’ve expressed interest to throw my votes in the last few days to one of the other for a longevity-based position in the presumed winning administration.
I want to point out that if the stars align and Florida is really close between Trump or Clinton, a vote for my transhumanist candidacy (what I call the “Longevity Vote”) could be highly featured in the media—it could garnish a billion views/impression in that 72 hours leading up to the elections in the media. That would be a grand slam for the transhumanist movement. Then a billion people or more around the world would know what transhumanism is. That’s how movements are born—how they go from a small group of people to a global force.
What insights are you gaining from the process of being a candidate ?
The most difficult thing about my candidacy was my early decision to not accept campaign donations. Running a campaign like this does cost money, and that’s of course a struggle. It’s also taxing on my family life, as I live and breathe my campaign 24/7, and have little time for anything else. I sometimes check my email at 2 in the morning, 4 in the morning, and then 6 in the morning when I wake up. If I get six hours of sleep a night, it’s a miracle. It’s usually quite a bit less. So the campaign has been brutal. I’m definitely aging a lot—which is ironic since I’m the longevity candidate.
What do you see happening after ?
I’m hoping to land a TV show on transhumanism, and I’m planning on writing a book about my campaign and Immortality Bus tour. Plus I’d like to tackle another fictional novel—probably a sequel to my The Transhumanist Wager, which was the book that launched my futurist career. So there is lots on the table to do afterward. Whatever happens, I plan to continue pushing transhumanist forward as best as I can.