Max More has made many decisive contributions to foresight thinking and to both the philosophy and the community of transhumanism.
For example, take a look at his “Letter to Mother Nature: Amendments to the Human Constitution”, which is one of my favourite pieces of writing.
In 1990, he co-founded the Extropy Institute and wrote the article “Transhumanism: Towards a Futurist Philosophy” which catalysed the emergence of what became the worldwide transhumanist movement. Here’s a brief extract from that article:
Humanity is in the early stages of a period of explosive expansion in knowledge, freedom, intelligence, lifespan, and control over experience. Yet humanity persists in old conceptual structures which hold us back…
By contrast… transhumanism recognizes and anticipates the radical alterations in the conditions of our existence resulting from various sciences and technologies such as neuroscience and neuropharmacology, nanotechnology, artificial ultraintelligence, space habitation, and so on…
Humanity is a temporary stage along the evolutionary pathway. We are not the zenith of nature’s development. It is time for us to consciously take charge of ourselves and to accelerate our progress.
No more gods, no more faith, no more timid holding back. Let us blast out of our old forms, our ignorance, our weakness, and our mortality. The future is ours.
Max studied at Oxford University from 1984 to 1987 and relocated to the USA shortly afterwards. He occasionally returns to the UK. One such occasion is on May 20th, when we’ll have the chance to hear him speak at Birkbeck College in London, on a topic that should greatly interest many of us.
For details of that event, as well as other futurist events and projects, please read on.
1.) Radical life extension: Plan A and Plan B
Since his time at Oxford, Max More has championed two different plans to radically extend human lifespans:
- The use of technologies to slow, reverse, and undo the damage of biological aging, so that people can remain in excellent states of health well past the age of 120-125 which seems to be the upper limit of lifespan at the moment
- The use of other technologies to store, in indefinite low-temperature biostasis, the bodies of people who are legally dead, but who may be reanimated and given a rich new lease of life by more powerful medical interventions that will become possible in the future.
Thus he became an Alcor cryopreservation member in 1986 whilst still a student, and at the same time formed (along with Garret Smyth, Michael Price, and Luigi Warren) the first cryonics organisation in the UK, Alcor UK.
It has become common to refer to the above two plans as “Plan A” (namely, the desired outcome) and “Plan B” (the backup plan).
However, Max has recently argued that many of us need to adjust our future planning, flipping the ‘A’ and the ‘B’. For us, it should be biostasis/cryonics that should become “Plan A”.
That’s what Max will be talking about in London on 20th May, at the one-day Biostasis Symposium UK.
Max is one of a string of expert speakers at that event – which is set up to provide UK cryonicists, along with those who are cryo-curious, the chance to mingle and meet experts in the field.
This event will feature introductions to the science and practice of cryonics, the practical and logistical issues associated with cryonics, and the future plans of leading figures in the cryonics community.
Admission is free. The organisers specifically encourage attendees to bring other interested people.
Please reserve your places via Eventbrite.
You can also let other members of London Futurists know you are attending by RSVP’ing Yes on this meetup page.
2.) Longevity Summit Dublin, Aug 17-20
Personally, I’ve far from given up on the original Plan A!
That’s why I’m eagerly looking forward to this year’s Longevity Summit Dublin, which is taking place from 17th to 20th August.
The event’s website issues this invitation:
Join the Global Longevity and Rejuvenation community in Dublin.
Network with leading figures around the world, build relationships with the longevity science industry and community, and learn about the latest emerging research. Longevity Summit Dublin is a must see for all science enthusiasts and all health enthusiasts.
As you can see from the list of speakers already announced, the summit is shaping up to become a kind of “Solvay conference” of international experts in rejuvenation biotechnologies.
Dublin in August can be a spectacular city to visit. Why not consider extending your stay there?
For more details, see the conference website.
3.) Details confirmed for this Saturday
The venue for our meeting this Saturday (29th April) on “The case for Singularity Activism” is confirmed as lecture room B18 in the main building of Birkbeck College in central London.
It’s a room we’ve often used in the past. You’ll find it on the basement level, but you’ll need to follow the signposts down a series of corridors.
I’ve finished preparing the slides I’ll be using to open the discussion. I’ve created many brand new slides for this occasion. The subject area – what we can anticipate about the near-future of artificial intelligence, along with realistic options for us to steer that future – is changing rapidly!
Click here for more details of the event, and how to register.
One way people can prepare for this event is to listen to the fascinating remarks by Future of Life Institute co-founder Jaan Tallinn on the latest episode of the London Futurists Podcast, which was released yesterday.
By the way, London Futurists Podcast listening statistics keep moving from strength to strength. Yesterday’s downloads established a new record for us for a single day.
It’s not just that people are listening to the most recent episode. The data shows that people are discovering the podcast, listening to the most recent episode, and then backtracking through a significant portion of previous episodes.
4.) Back to the Marlborough Arms: All welcome
Don’t forget the opportunity for informal networking and futurist discussion at the Marlborough Arms pub on Torrington Place, this Saturday, after the conclusion of the more formal session in Birkbeck.
Members and friends of London Futurists are welcome to join this gathering, regardless of whether they could join the Birkbeck event.
If you are planning to come, please RSVP on this page, so we can liaise with the pub management regarding the number of tables they will reserve for us.
5.) Online “Future Fireside” conversations
If you prefer your futurist discussions to be online, keep an eye out for the “Future Fireside” conversations held on the Future Surge Discord.
For example, there’s one taking place today, from 6:30pm UK time.
The subject on this occasion is the future of automated transport:
- What is the potential?
- What is slowing down progress?
- What actions can we take in anticipation of greater adoption of automated transport?
To attend, accept this Discord invitation.
// David W. Wood
Chair, London Futurists