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Democratic Transhumanist Interview
Jamais Cascio, 4 Sep 04

RU Sirius interviews James Hughes in the current NeoFiles. Who's James Hughes? The founder of Cyborg Democracy, and a leader of the Democratic Transhumanism movement, which embraces both the desire for radical enhancement of humankind and the need for social fairness and justice.

[...] if you ask a libertarian transhumanist why they oppose FDA testing of life extension technologies [...], the libertarian will say "Why do I and a lot of other people have to die in the meantime waiting for the eventual legalization of this medicine?" Well, I say the same thing about healthcare and enhancements for the poor. Why do the non-affluent have to wait for these technologies to trickle down? Every other developed country in the world guarantees basic health care as a right, as should we, and once we have guaranteed a right to basic health care we should then start guaranteeing universal access to safe human enhancement technologies by including them in universal health care plans. Some will be too expensive, or have marginal benefits, and we can leave those to the (safety-regulated) market. But how long do you think any democracy would permit the top 10% to have access to an extra hundred years of life or an extra 100 IQ points that were inaccessible to the bottom 90%?

Hughes has a book coming out in October, Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future. I really look forward to reading.

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