“I’ve Advocated For An Artificial Intelligence To Become President One Day”

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Transhumanist Party Presidential candidate Zoltan Istvan’s embrace of techno-fascism might be jarring in another election season, one without talk of Muslim databases and refugees being compared to “rabid dogs,” but it’s almost the least of many evils in 2015.

Well, I certainly don’t want to totalitarianism of any type, carbon or silicon, but Istvan hopes for a day when (kindly) machine overlords are an option. He discusses that possibility, increasing robotization, universal basic income and more in a smart article by Tim Maughan of BBC Future. An excerpt that begins with reference to alt-politician’s sci-fi novel:

The Transhumanist Wager tells the story of Jethro Knights, a philosopher who rails against democratic politics and becomes a revolutionary that seizes control of the world in order to enforce a global authoritarian transhuman regime. It sounds a little like the neoreactionary movement, I suggest, the far-right philosophical movement that believes democracy has failed, and that nations should once again be run by hereditary monarchies. Isn’t that perhaps a worrying storyline from someone running as president?

“I’m distancing myself, I have been, from the book now for a whole year,” he says. “I know the neoreactionary movement really well. I really dislike some of their policies, especially on women… But that said, I do subscribe to some of their strong monarchy ideas where if you actually have a benevolent dictator that could be great for the country.”

I’m a little surprised to hear a presidential candidate openly suggesting this. But that, as it turns out, is very typical for Istvan; he’s not finished. There’s always another angle, some other philosophical surprise up his sleeve.

“In fact it’s one of the reasons why I’ve advocated for an artificial intelligence to become president one day. If we had a truly altruistic entity that was after the best interests of society maybe giving up at least some freedoms would be beneficial if that was truly in our best interests. What’s happened in the past is we’ve had dictators who are selfish, and they’ve done an absolutely terrible job of running countries. But what if you actually had somebody who really was after your best interests, wouldn’t you want him on your team?”•

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