WTA Update 2

Nick Bostrom (bostrom@ndirect.co.uk)
Sat, 10 Oct 1998 15:29:07 +0000

[appologies to those of you who have already been sent this update]

WTA Update 2
10 October 1998

Dear member,

A number of positive things have happened since the last update.

The TransVision98 conference, which was organized by the Dutch group Transcedo, was a great success. Much of the discussion focused on practical issues and on what Europe has to contribute to transhumanism. There was a general sense that the people attending were witnessing the beginning of something important. It was decided that there should be a follow-up -- TransVision99 -- which will be held in Stockholm next year, June 4-6, and will be organized by the group Aleph. More information will be available closer to the event at http://www.transhumanism.com/events.htm.

A new group in Germany is under the process of formation (preliminary name "De:Trans"). Having tweaked their constitution and having planned everything very carefully (they are Germans after all ;-), they now seem close to being able to launch it. This will be a very welcomed reinforcement of transhumanism in Europe. What country is next in turn?

The Journal of Transhumanism has published its second paper, "Is a singularity just around the corner? -What it takes to get explosive economic growth", by Robin Hanson. We are also glad to announce that Hal Finney has joined the editorial board.

Work has commenced on the production of a Transhumanist Reader (eds. Thom Quinn and Nick Bostrom), which will contain a selection of central transhumanist texts and will be aimed at an academic/well-educated audience and preferably be published by a major university press. (See http://www.transhumanist.com/call.htm for more details.)

The last update said that the WTA needed to enter a growth phase. That objective has been achieved; the current membership is now 275
(compared to 120 on May 29). Thanks! to all who have contributed to
this, whether by telling your friends, putting up a link from your web site or by some other means. Let's do our best to keep it up or even increase the expansion rate.

The next phase will now be to prepare and position ourselves for the outreach. We want to reach a point where we are ready to begin to effectively put our transhumanist views across both in (1) the media
(other than the net) and (2) in the academic/scientific community.

(1) Kathryn Aegis is setting up a Transhumanist Media Advocacy Network
(TMAN), which will fascilitate media communications for transhumanist
organizations and individuals. If you have professional media experience and want to get involved in this, you should contact Kathryn at <aegis@igc.apc.org>. An FAQ is also being developed, to deal with the most commonly asked questions about and objections against transhumanism. A lot of people have already contributed loads of valuable ideas for the FAQ. It is currently in the writing-up stage. When a tentative first draft is ready, we'll all be able to comment on it before it is finalized.

(2) The Reader will hopefully contribute to the second objective. But
also: all you academics and scientists out there, it is through your mediation that transhumanism will be receiving more attention from your peers. The Battle for Minds, it is said, is won in the coffee rooms. Just mentioning the word "transhumanism" often enough can probably do a lot of good. Also desirable would be increased interaction with related professional organizations such as the Foresight Institute. Those of us who have contacts within such organizations can make a contribution here.

If we do our job well now, then by the time of the third or fourth Update, we may be in a position to begin to have a much greater impact. Transhumanism needs to become utterly mainstream.

Thanks again to everybody who have contributed. Onward!

Nick Bostrom | David Pearce
n.bostrom@lse.ac.uk | dave@hedweb.com

Nick Bostrom
http://www.hedweb.com/nickb n.bostrom@lse.ac.uk Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method London School of Economics