Transhumanist Zoltan Istvan ‘Can’t Wait' to Cut Off His Arm

Zoltan Istvan

You may not have heard of Zoltan Istvan, but he’s running for president of the United States as a representative from the Transhumanist Party. Istvan believes the future is all about cyborg enhancements that evolve humanity beyond its biological limits, bringing forth a new wave of immortal beings. Oh, and he can’t wait to chop his arm off.

“With some of the new robotic-arm prototypes, you get all kinds of cool functionality,” Istvan said in a report due for publication Monday. “I could be warming up this cup right now, just with my fingers. Or you could add weapons, flashlights - like a Swiss Army knife. I can’t wait to cut off my arm and get a prosthetic. My wife said she’d only be O.K. with it if it looks and feels like a human arm, which is understandable, I guess.”

It’s unlikely Istvan will win the election (FiveThirtyEight doesn’t even bother tracking him in the polls), but he has some big ideas for the future. In a Reddit Ask Me Anything last week, he said that he foresaw a future where human sports were more like Formula 1 races, where engineers work on a human to push cyborg body parts into peak physical condition.

In the more immediate future, Istvan said that he may run as a Libertarian candidate in the 2020 election, though it would involve tacking to the right and apologizing a lot.

“I auditioned to be Gary Johnson’s running mate,” Istvan said. “I went to New Mexico and spent twenty-four hours at his house. We cooked dinner, talked, watched a few episodes of ‘Orphan Black,’ slept, then cooked breakfast and talked some more.”

Outside of presidential elections, his party will campaign for a Transhumanist Bill of Rights, guaranteeing people the right to modify their body as they see fit. Istvan may not win on Tuesday, but if he has his way, he might have a robotic arm next time you see him.