This story came up in my “Transhumanism” Google Alert (which is very active, sending me links to two or three new stories every day. I highly recommend setting up Google Alerts for topics that interest you, they are free and very useful.) This website seems to be a bio-conservative one, judging by the comments, and the story is from kurzweilai.net, a futurist website.
No Child Left Behind: the newest member of Italian Parliament is calling for humans to evolve into a higher form of life via technology. KurzweilAI writes:
In July, Italy – ironically, a stronghold of the Catholic Church – became the first major Western nation to elect an active transhumanist.
Giuseppe Vatinno ran on a platform of “politics that strive to improve the human condition, making use of appropriate advanced technologies.” And not a moment too soon, as Italy slides dangerously toward bankruptcy and urgently needs a new direction.
Transhumanism – the idea that we can radically change ourselves by merging with technology – already had a precedent in Italy: former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi invested in MolMed, which aims to raise average life expectancy to 120 years and beyond. And transhumanism was already present in the work of the Futurist movement of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, which had an important influence in Italian politics in the first half of the 20th century, and is explicitly transhumanist in its modern revival.
A graduate of the University La Sapienza in Rome in theoretical physics and specialized in particle physics, cognitive psychology, neural networks, and image processing, Vatinno teaches in the Masters program on energy and environmental issues at the Politecnico in Milan and the University La Sapienza in Rome.
A commenter makes a very important observation:
Interesting. FT Marinetti’s futurism was “an important influence in Italian politics in the first half of the 20th century?” Follow through that logic and you’ll perhaps recall that Marinett’s futurist manifesto was written by a man in his 30s who said don’t trust anyone over 29, and his political influence was in the rise of Mussolini’s fascist party. Not exactly the sort of bona fide’s the transhumanists should be bragging about.
But at least in Europe they make Transhumanism and the ethics of genetic engineering and same-sex reproduction a part of their politics, they haven’t let the media and the lawyers and the government team up to censor all discussion of it like they have done here. But that doesn’t mean we don’t elect Transhumanists to Congress and perhaps even the Presidency, they just aren’t open about it.