Zoltan Istvan has succeeded. The Transhumanist Party U.S. presidential hopeful did not win the election on Tuesday, but he’s helped bring his message of using technology to conquer death to a wide audience. The Transhumanist Bill of Rights, which would grant basic rights to cyborgs and class involuntary aging as a disease, remains one of his party’s key policies.
It’s fair to say that Istvan is a unique character. Earlier this week, he said he couldn’t wait to cut off his arm to replace it with a bionic limb, while in a Reddit Ask Me Anything, he said that he saw Formula 1-style engineering as the future of human sports. Inverse caught up with Istvan via email after the election to get his thoughts on the result.
The results are in, and it appears you did not win. How are you feeling?
I’m feeling really good about my presidential campaign. I never ran to win the presidency, but rather to spread word about the transhumanist movement and its goal to conquer death with science and technology. And my campaign, after 731 days, has been seen by likely 100 million people. I think transhumanism grew tremendously as a result, so I’m thrilled I could contribute to the transhumanism movement so dramatically.
How do you feel about the prospect of a Trump presidency?
Unlike many others, I’m quite okay about a Trump presidency. My main thing is science — and Trump will be good for science, since if he really wants to Make America Great Again, then he’ll have to beat China in it. And China is doing amazing science and tech, and so Trump will be forced to help technology and science move forward in America to keep up.
What does Trump mean for the Transhumanist Bill of Rights?
I think Trump probably won’t be too interested in the Transhumanist Bill of Rights — at least not this election cycle. I think when 2020 comes around, the ideas in the Transhumanist Bill of Rights will be much more ready to be discussed by all governments and politicians. I do think Trump might be open to classifying aging as a disease, which is one of the main ideas in the Transhumanist Bill of Rights. I have offered my services to him as a science and technology advisor to help his administration. I certainly would like to see him and other politicians embrace transhumanism.
You mentioned in a New Yorker story prior to the election that you’ll probably run as a Libertarian in 2020. Are you still planning to do that?
It’s really hard to say what I’ll do in 2020. The problem is I like things from all the three parties (Libertarians, Democrats, and Republicans). It’s a little too early to say exactly what I’ll do, though I’d have the best chance of winning the Libertarian nomination of the three parties. I’m also considering running for mayor in my San Francisco town of Mill Valley. That would be wise since I might actually be able to win and also get some political experience. The town has 60,000 people and many tech entrepreneurs. I will run for President again, though. I definitely know that.
What are some of the most important lessons you learned on the campaign trail?
I learned that third party candidates have the cards stacked against them — that it’s nearly impossible to compete against the GOP or Democrats. For this reason, I support a Ranked Voting system.
I also learned that the Universal Basic Income (UBI) is one of the most important aspects of my own personal philosophy. Because of automation and robots taking jobs, I think a UBI is inevitable. I plan to push that hard in any campaign I do in the future. This works well for the Bernie Sanders supporters too.
What next for your campaign?
The next thing is working on a documentary I have coming out on my campaign tentatively titled Immortality or Bust, and then also putting together a book on my 2016 Presidential candidacy. I’ll also continue with my journalism and look to do more TV appearances. Whatever I do, I’m in the long war to conquer death with transhumanism, so I’m just beginning this crusade for the movement.Photos via Getty Images / Mark Wilson, Zoltan Istvan