Zoltan Istvan Gyurko, professionally known as Zoltan Istvan (born March 30, 1973), is an American transhumanist, journalist, entrepreneur and Libertarian futurist.
Formerly a reporter for the National Geographic Channel, Istvan now writes futurist, transhumanist, libertarian and secular themed articles for major media, including Vice's Motherboard, Wired, The Huffington Post., TechCrunch and Newsweek. Istvan regularly appears on television and video channels discussing futurist topics. He is one of the world's most influential transhumanists and believes transhumanism will grow into a mainstream social movement in the next decade. Istvan is the author of The Transhumanist Wager, a philosophical science fiction novel.
In late 2014, Istvan announced his intent to run for President of the United States in the 2016 elections to raise awareness for transhumanist politics issues.
In 2017, Istvan announced his intent to run for Governor of California in the 2018 election as a member of the Libertarian Party.
Early life and education
Istvan was born in Los Angeles in 1973 to his Hungarian immigrant parents Ilona and Steven Gyurko. He was a nationally ranked swimmer and waterpolo player in his youth. Istvan later graduated from Columbia University in New York City with a degree in philosophy and religion. During his freshman year, Istvan was arrested by undercover cops for selling $80 worth of marijuana to fellow students. His arrest and subsequent felony conviction influenced how he views the U.S. government's war on drugs.
Istvan was an online and on-camera reporter for the National Geographic Channel. His writings have appeared in a blog of the San Francisco Chronicle, Outside and The Daily Caller. His work has been covered in publications such as The Huffington Post. Istvan's coverage of the war in Kashmir was made into a documentary, Pawns of Paradise, distributed by Janson Media. Australia's The Age has acquired nonexclusive Australian rights to the show.
According to Istvan, he invented, pioneered and popularized the extreme sport of volcano boarding.
Istvan is an entrepreneur who has made a minor fortune in real estate. He also owns a vineyard in Argentina.
After publishing The Transhumanist Wager, Istvan began actively promoting transhumanism and other futurist issues via speeches, media interviews, activism and his writings.
Istvan's writings and ideas on transhumanism, philosophy, atheism and futurist issues have been featured in Yahoo News, The Daily Telegraph, The Huffington Post UK, The Daily Beast, Business Insider and other media sites. Istvan and his ideas have been featured on Fox News Channel's Stossel show, CNN's Inside Man, RT's television show Desde La Sombra, Ryan O'Shea's Future Grind podcast and the Joe Rogan Experience. Istvan has also written for Gizmodo, New Scientist, Salon, TechCrunch, The Daily Dot, International Business Times Singularity University's Singularity Hub, Daily Mail, TechInsider, Newsweek, Futurism and Slate.
Istvan is a member of the World Future Society, a volunteer Ambassador for The Seasteading Institute, an advisory board member of the India Future Society, a member of the Young Professionals, an advisory board member of A-Team for Wildlife and is on the Futurist and Space Settlement boards of the Lifeboat Foundation.
Istvan has regularly given talks on futurist and transhumanist topics, which include speeches at the World Bank, Moogfest, the World Future Society's annual conference, Transhuman Visions in San Francisco, Brighter Brain's Future of Emotional Health and Intelligence Conference at University of California, Berkeley, TEDxTransmedia in Geneva, Switzerland and being the opening keynote speaker at the Financial Times Camp Alphaville conference.
2016 presidential campaign
In October 2014, Istvan announced that he was "in the very early stages of preparing a campaign to try to run" for U.S. President in 2016. He stated that his goals would be to support scientists in "overcoming human death and aging within 15-20 years" to encourage Americans to embrace "radical technology and science" and to set up safeguards against dangers including potential abuse of such technology.
In October and November 2014 interviews, Istvan explained that he aimed to unify the transhumanist community which otherwise was splintered, and to establish a single voice. He said great changes in society could happen and that Transhumanism could provide ideas, safeguards and policies. He said the aim for a Transhumanist Party would be to get onto as many state ballots as possible.
In March 2015, Istvan reported progress in organizing a campaign and explained his wish to get major candidates to address issues. He hoped to be included in some debates, at least with third parties. He himself had funded nearly all of his campaign's expenses to date and he noted donations were needed.
Istvan helped to publicize his campaign in late 2015 by driving a bus shaped like a casket – the "Immortality Bus" – across the United States. Istvan planned the bus tour to raise awareness of life extension. At the end of the Immortality Bus tour, Istvan delivered a "Transhumanist Bill of Rights" to the U.S. Capitol.
His 20-point platform includes a universal basic income, increased funding for space travel and taking money from the military and putting it into science and medicine.
In February 2016, it was reported that Istvan was likely to vote Democrat, placing himself "somewhere between Bernie and Hillary in terms of political ideologies", but later in 2016 he also wrote articles supporting Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson. On October 15, 2016, Istvan stated on his social media accounts that he would be voting for himself.
As of June 2016, Istvan was not on the ballot in any state, though he claimed substantial potential write-in backers.
His presidential campaign was covered in several major media outlets.
2018 California gubernatorial campaign
Istvan emphasizes science, technology, longevity, transhumanism and Libertarian values in his California gubernatorial run, along with support for basic income. He suggests basic income could be paid for without raising taxes through a "Federal Land Dividend". Under this program, the government would allocate monthly payments to households by leasing out federal land. In his debut editorial for Reason magazine, he argued that reparations for harm caused to marijuana users during the federal government's War on Drugs may be appropriate. He suggested reparations could be paid as tax credits or through the sale of federal lands, so as not to put further burden associated with the drug war on taxpayers.
Istvan states that in the 21st Century, as modern man confronts the finitude of life, everyone faces a Transhumanist Wager, a concept which is explored in his science fiction novel of the same name. The Transhumanist Wager follows from a life philosophy Istvan calls Teleological Egocentric Functionalism (TEF). Istvan summarizes the Transhumanist Wager as follows:
TEF is predicated on logic, a simple wager that every human faces:
If a reasoning human being loves and values life, they will want to live as long as possible—the desire to be immortal. Nevertheless, it's impossible to know if they're going to be immortal once they die. To do nothing doesn't help the odds of attaining immortality—since it seems evident that everyone will die someday and possibly cease to exist. To try to do something scientifically constructive towards ensuring immortality beforehand is the most logical conclusion.
Istvan is the creator of the concepts of Theistcideism, the AI Imperative, the Singularity Disparity, Speciation Syndrome and Jethro's Window, a possible solution to the Fermi Paradox. Istvan is also a populizer of AI Day, the Jesus Singularity, cryothanasia and a robot AI President.
Istvan authored an article entitled "Transhumanism and Theistcideism" for publication in Pandeism: An Anthology (2017).
Istvan has a chip implant in his hand and consulted for the U.S. Navy on broad use of the implant in humans.
According to Istvan's novel, the three laws of Transhumanism are:
- A transhumanist must safeguard one's own existence above all else.
- A transhumanist must strive to achieve omnipotence as expediently as possible—so long as one's actions do not conflict with the First Law.
- A transhumanist must safeguard value in the universe—so long as one's actions do not conflict with the First and Second Laws.
Within the transhumanist community, reactions to Istvan's U.S. Transhumanist Party have ranged from the enthusiastic and supportive to sharply critical. Some transhumanist critics, such as Peter Rothman, have questioned whether the Transhumanist Party adds value to the overall goals of transhumanism.
Natasha Vita-More criticized Istvan, saying: "In that the transhumanist movement is global, diverse, and comprised of varied political and religious views that support and advocate the values and tenets of Transhumanist Thinking...There have been numerous persons over the decades who have entered the social network of transhumanism as uninformed. It is obvious when a person sincerely wants to be a part of the culture or showboating for effect. The issue is not that either behavior has or does not have high-level value or contributions to the core of Transhumanist Thinking, but these individuals *need something* from Transhumanist Thinking".
Istvan resides in Mill Valley, California with his daughters and physician wife. He identifies as an atheist.
In February 2015, he helped launch BiZoHa, the world’s first free-thinker orphanage, in Mukhoya, Kasese district, western Uganda. Istvan’s promotional article on the topic in Vice's Motherboard, helped a GoFundMe campaign to achieve success in raising $5,820 to provide funding for the orphanage.
- ^ a b "FEC Form 2 Statement of Candidacy" (PDF). Federal Election Commission. 19 June 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
- ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/09/magazine/600-miles-in-a-coffin-shaped-bus-campaigning-against-death-itself.html?_r=0
- ^ Bartlett, Jamie (April 3, 2014). "'Transhumanists' are planning to upload your mind to a memory stick..." The Telegraph. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
- ^ "Transhumanist novel by Zoltan Istvan sparks intense dialog among futurists".
- ^ "Ziventures - About".
- ^ a b http://www.newsweek.com/zoltan-istvan-california-governor-libertarian-555088
- ^ http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-for-zoltan-istvan-transhumaist-and-1487793348-htmlstory.html
- ^ "Writing & Photography Assignments". ZI Ventures. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
- ^ https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/contributor/zoltan-istvan
- ^ https://www.wired.co.uk/profile/zoltan-istvan
- ^ "Zoltan Istvan". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
- ^ https://techcrunch.com/contributor/zoltan-istvan/
- ^ http://www.newsweek.com/search/site/zoltan%20istvan
- ^ a b https://www.theverge.com/a/transhumanism-2015
- ^ a b https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jun/16/transhumanist-party-immortality-zoltan-istvan-presidential-campaign
- ^ https://www.cnet.com/videos/the-cravecast-visits-the-future-with-u-s-presidential-candidate-zoltan-istvan/
- ^ https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2016/06/15/zoltan-istvan-2016-lets-make-americans-immortal/85929946/
- ^ Istvan, Zoltan (2013). The Transhumanist Wager. Futurity Imagine Media. ISBN 0988616114.
- ^ a b Vicki Larson (December 19, 2013). "Transhumanist novel by Zoltan Istvan sparks intense dialog among futurists". Marin Independent Journal. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ Zoltan Istvan (January 22, 2015). "The Transhumanist Party's Presidential Candidate on the Future of Politics". Motherboard.vice.com. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
- ^ "ZoltanIstvan.com".
- ^ "Zoltan Istvan, who advocates radical technology, hopes to be governor of California". February 12, 2017.
- ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zoltan-istvan/talktome-futurist-zoltan-_b_9879872.html
- ^ http://articles.latimes.com/1989-09-22/sports/sp-509_1_palos-verdes
- ^ https://mobile.usaswimming.org/_Rainbow/Documents/55c96324-9429-40de-99cc-e65c7a5064da/82_83.pdf
- ^ https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/02/09/magazine/600-miles-in-a-coffin-shaped-bus-campaigning-against-death-itself.html
- ^ a b c d "I Became a Pot Felon at 18. I'm Owed More Than an Apology". Reason.com. 24 August 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
- ^ "National Geographic Search". National Geographic. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ "The Transhumanist Wager". Gooddaysacramento.cbslocal.com. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ Zoltan Istvan (August 17, 2003). "Farflung Correspondents / Travel! Intrigue! Cannibals! / Extreme journalism at far ends of Earth". SFGate. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
- ^ "Cordon Green".
- ^ Istvan, Zoltan (14 January 2010). "Marijuana crop could bring cash to California's next Napa". The Daily Caller. Archived from the original on January 16, 2010. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- ^ "In Vanuatu, Islanders Literally Jump into Manhood (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ Mike Mcdonnough (n.d.). "Filmmaker Courts Danger to Document Longest Running Conflict in History". Janson.com. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ "Watch Pawns of Paradise Online – theage.tv". theage.tv. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ Zoltan Istvan of Istvan Media for the National Geographic Channel. "Volcano Boarding: the New Extreme Sport". YouTube. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ Zoltan Istvan (November 5, 2002). "Reporter's Notebook: Surfing the Volcano". National Geographic Today. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
- ^ Zoltan Istvan (December 8, 2002). "EXTREME SPORTS / Really Good Pumice, Dude! / Volcano boarding: Russian roulette on a snowboard". SFGate. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
- ^ "The Transhumanists' Nominee for President".
- ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/09/magazine/600-miles-in-a-coffin-shaped-bus-campaigning-against-death-itself.html?mcubz=1
- ^ http://reason.com/blog/2017/09/07/transhumanism-libertarianism-zoltan
- ^ http://www.extracrispy.com/culture/369/what-to-eat-for-breakfast-if-you-want-to-live-forever
- ^ Gray Scott (July 3, 2013). "Zoltan Istvan: The Transhumanist Wager". seriouswonder.com. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ "Zoltan Istvan – Telegraph Blogs". Technology – Telegraph Blogs. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ "Artificial Womb and the Human Society: When Science Will Create New Grow-Homes for Babies". The Huffington Post UK. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ "The Artificial Womb Will Change Feminism Forever". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ "Jamie Bartlett On Transhumanism - Business Insider". Business Insider. November 25, 2014.
- ^ "Stossel 06/19/2014: New World Inventions". Fox Business. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ "Desde la sombra (E81). El sueño de la razón, ¿produciría monstruos?". RT en Español. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ "Ep. 4 – US Presidential Candidate Zoltan Istvan". futuregrind.org. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
- ^ The Uprising Creative. "Joe Rogan (Podcast Site)". Joe Rogan (Podcast Site).
- ^ Zoltan Istvan. "When Superintelligent AI Arrives, Will Religions Try to Convert It?". Gizmodo. Gawker Media.
- ^ "Meet the US presidential candidate campaigning for immortality".
- ^ Istvan, Zoltan. "Upgrading religion for the 21st century: Christianity is forcibly evolving to cope with science and progress".
- ^ Istvan, Zoltan. "Zoltan Istvan - Staff Archive - TechCrunch".
- ^ "Zoltan Istvan - The Daily Dot".
- ^ Istvan, Zoltan (December 21, 2015). "Zoltan Istvan: Immortality Bus delivers Transhumanist Bill of Rights to US Capitol".
- ^ "Which New Technology Will Win the Race to Repair and Replace Our Organs?". Singularity HUB.
- ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Billionaire pledges $1m to the first person to live to 123".
- ^ "I visited a facility where dead people are frozen so they can be revived later".
- ^ "Transhumanist rights are the Civil Rights of the 21st Century, says futurist Zoltan Istvan". April 30, 2016.
- ^ "Gary Johnson Wants Driverless Secret Service Cars and a US-Led Gene Editing Revolution". August 16, 2016.
- ^ "Zoltan Istvan". Slate Magazine.
- ^ "Ambassadors – The Seasteading Institute". The Seasteading Institute. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ "Our Team – India Future Society". India Future Society. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ "Advisory Council Archives – A-Team for Wildlife". A-Team for Wildlife. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ Zoltan Istvan. "Zoltan Istvan". Lifeboat Foundation. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
- ^ http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20151127-meet-zoltan-the-strangest-candidate-running-for-president
- ^ http://www.moogfest.com/program/talent/zoltan-istvan
- ^ "Everyone Faces a Transhumanist Wager". Wfs.org. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ Hank Pellissier (November 22, 2013). "Transhuman Visions: February 1, 2014 San Francisco Conference Almost Sold Out". Singularity Weblog. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ "Brighter Brains". Brighterbrains.org. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ "A TEDx Talk on Beauty and Life Extension Science". The Huffington Post.
- ^ "A TEDx Talk Celebrating Scientists and Exploring the Technological Future of Beauty". The Huffington Post.
- ^ http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2015/06/23/2132561/camp-alphaville-ft-forever-young/
- ^ Zoltan Istvan (October 8, 2014). "Should a Transhumanist Run for US President?". The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
- ^ "The Transhumanist Party Announces Their 2016 Presidential Candidate". Giant Freakin Robot. October 8, 2014. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
- ^ Eric Schulke (October 9, 2014). "Zoltan Istvan plans a courageous transhuman political surge". ImmortalLife.info. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
- ^ Litost Publishing Collective (November 23, 2014). "An Interview with Zoltan Istvan, Founder of the Transhumanist Party and 2016 U.S. Presidential Candidate". Retrieved November 26, 2014.
- ^ "Zoltan Istvan on The Future of Politics and Transhumanism". Future Thinkers Podcast. 2015-04-13. Retrieved 2016-05-13.
- ^ "An interview with Zoltan Istvan, leader of the Transhumanist Party and 2016 presidential contender". ExtremeTech. October 31, 2014. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
- ^ Raj, Ajai (March 6, 2015), "The Transhumanist Who Would Be President: An interview with Zoltan Istvan", Medium.com/re-form, re:form (ezine), retrieved March 7, 2015
- ^ Maughan, Tim (30 November 2015). "Meet Zoltan, the presidential candidate who drives a coffin". BBC. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- ^ a b Holland, Catherine (14 October 2015). "Presidential candidate running as Transhumanist wants more immortality research". azfamily.com. 3TV. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
- ^ "This futuristic presidential candidate is about to drive a giant coffin across America for one unusual reason". Business Insider. Retrieved 2015-10-18.
- ^ a b Roussi, Antoaneta (February 19, 2016). "Now this is an "outsider candidate": Zoltan Istvan, a Transhumanist running for president, wants to make you immortal". Salon.
- ^ "Meet Zoltan, the strangest candidate running for President". BBC.
- ^ "TranshumanistParty".
- ^ Akshat Rathi (July 21, 2015). "This U.S. presidential candidate doesn't want to be president, he wants to live forever".
- ^ Istvan, Zoltan (September 13, 2016). "Hillary Clinton's Health Situation Means Libertarian Gary Johnson Must Now be in the Presidential Debates". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
- ^ https://futurism.com/gary-johnson-wants-driverless-secret-service-cars-and-a-us-led-gene-editing-revolution/
- ^ "Zoltan Istvan - Dear World, Many friends have been asking... - Facebook".
- ^ Brett McGinness (June 15, 2016). "Zoltan Istvan 2016: Let's make Americans immortal". USA Today.
- ^ Solon, Olivia (June 16, 2016). "All aboard the Immortality Bus: the man who says tech will help us live forever" – via The Guardian.
- ^ "Zoltan Istvan 2016: Let's make Americans immortal".
- ^ Matthews, Dylan (September 18, 2015). "Zoltan Istvan's presidential campaign is wacky as hell. It's also necessary".
- ^ "Transhumanist visionary Zoltan Istvan believes Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton need him to win".
- ^ https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/10/is-monetizing-federal-land-the-way-to-pay-for-basic-income/
- ^ https://lifeboat.com/blog/2017/05/interview-california-gubernatorial-candidate-proposes-state-wide-basic-income
- ^ http://basicincome.org/news/2017/05/interview-california-gubernatorial-candidate-proposes-state-wide-basic-income/
- ^ "Everyone Faces a Transhumanist Wager". Wfs.org. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- ^ "The Transhumanist Wager". www.zoltanistvan.com. www.zoltanistvan.com. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
- ^ "Do We Have Free Will Because God Killed Itself?".
- ^ "Marin Snapshot: Mill Valley man runs for president of Transhumanist Party".
- ^ Istvan, Zoltan (January 27, 2017). "Transhumanism and Theistcideism". In Mapson, Knujon. Pandeism: An Anthology. John Hunt Publishing. pp. 274–291. ISBN 978-1785354120.
- ^ Zoltan Istvan (March 6, 2015). "A Global Arms Race to Create a Superintelligent AI is Looming". Motherboard.
- ^ Zoltan Istvan (April 21, 2015). "What If One Country Achieves the Singularity First?". Motherboard.
- ^ "Can This Man and His Massive Robot Network Save America?". May 19, 2015.
- ^ https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/the-coming-genetic-editing-age-of-humans-wont-be-easy-to-stomach
- ^ "The Language of Aliens Will Always Be Indecipherable".
- ^ "AI Day Will Replace Christmas as the Most Important Holiday in Less Than 25 Years". December 24, 2013.
- ^ "The Jesus Singularity".
- ^ "Are We Heading for a Jesus Singularity?". March 21, 2014.
- ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zoltan-istvan/should-cryonics-cryocide-_b_5518684.html
- ^ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-transhumanist-philosopher/201405/cryonics-could-help-improve-some-lives-in-the-future
- ^ "Could a robot run for U.S. president in 2020?". February 16, 2016.
- ^ "The case for a robot president".
- ^ Amazon.com page for Pandeism: An Anthology; Amazon.com page for Zoltan Istvan showing Pandeism: An Anthology.
- ^ "US Navy 'discussed plans to fit humans with microchips and track their every move'". June 16, 2016.
- ^ "I just got a computer chip implanted in my hand — and the rest of the world won't be far behind".
- ^ "Chip-enhanced political candidates coming soon".
- ^ "Is the US Navy planning to implant people with microchips?".
- ^ "'Within Ten Years 50% of Americans Will Be Chipped'". Sputnik News.
- ^ a b Truman Chen (December 15, 2014). "The Political Vacuity of Transhumanism". Stanford Political Journal. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
- ^ Istvan, Zoltan (December 5, 2013). "I'm an Atheist, Therefore I'm a Transhumanist". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
- ^ a b BiZoHa Orphanage (February 27, 2015). "BiZoHa - the World's First Atheist Orphanage - launched by Brighter Brains Institute". Brighter Brains Institute.
- ^ Zoltan Istvan (February 24, 2015). "The World's First Atheist Orphanage Has Launched a Crowdfunding Campaign". Motherboard.vice.com. Retrieved July 7, 2015.