"A Futurist's Voter's Guide?"

From: Corwyn J. Alambar (nettiger@best.com)
Date: Tue Nov 07 2000 - 14:27:44 MST

Today's the big day, here in the US - as we so arrogantly assert, we hold the
determination of the future leader of the free world in our hands. Nothing
like letting that statement roll around n your head, wondering just what
our European and Japanese colleagues must think. But that's a digression.

Things are good. We are better off in most all general indicators than we
were 8 years ago, and a lo tbetter off than we were 20 years ago. The
concerns about "widows, vets, and orphans" were shelved by Social Security
and the Great Society, while our concerns abotu "welfare mothers" were
shelved with the "Contract On America". Crime is down; wealth is up.
It's a good morning in America - and now we're looking toward the day.

The stealth issue of this election is, unfortunately, futurism in all its
various forms. No one's really talking about it save in the sense of the
impending doom of the Baby Nuke - Social Security in 2010 and beyond, and
this is where I think the entire electorate, especially those of us with a
more forward outlook, are suffering. The future is a place of fear and
loathing, not of promise and potential.

While too late to do this election, I would propose the following as the
foundation of a "Futurist's Voter's Guide", so that at the very least these
issues are on the table.

The proposal is this: How do the candidates answer the following questions:

1) What is your vision of America's place in space in 20 years, particularly
   in the civilian sector?

2) If you had to choose one of the following to come true during your
   administration, what would it be and why?
   a) A breakthrogh in life extension technology adding at least 50% to the
      lifespan of the average American (to 120 years old)?
   b) The establishment of the first permanent civilian habitation in space?
   c) The ability to replace failing organs with new ones grown from a culture
      of that person's own cells?
   d) A zero-emissions transportation network that costs about as much as the
      average family car today, per person?
   e) The ability to cure all genetic diseases through use of genetic
      engineering technology?

3) In your opinion, what was the most significant scientific achievement
   since 1950, and the impact it has had on you personally, on the nation,
   and on the world as a whole.

4) Based on your answer to number 3, what technology could you imagine that
   would have as far-reaching effect, if not moreso, and what you would do
   to make it a reality.

5) Longevity has been increasing at a surprising rate - 50% over the 20th
   century, and is increasing at a growing rate. Fundamentally, what it means
   to grow old in the modern world is changing dramatically. What policies
   would you enact/rescind/modify to deal with this growing change in
   social demographics and its corresponding effects on all our lives?

6) Suppose that sometime during your presidency, proof positive was shown
   that we had created a truly artificial intelligence. How would you handle
   the questions that spring from this breakthrough, including such issues as
   citizenship and "human rights" questions, as well as the ethics of dealing
   with this sort of a being.


While this is in no way exhaustive, it is an attempt to offer a starting
point. The goal is to assess the candidate's positions on futurist
causes, and not their adherence to a particular political or social
ideology; their party affiliation should tell more about that than this
questionaire should ask.

Any additions of quesions, etc.? Maybe by the time of the next major
elections in the US (two years hence - senate and all house races), this
questionaire can help us get a better view of how these people will pursue
the policies we hold dear.


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