Zoltan Istvan lives in Mill Valley, California. He attended and graduated from Columbia University, where he majored in Philosophy and Religious Studies, but he has had a diverse career as a journalist, businessman, and writer, among other professions. A man with a deep affection for science and technology and their potential for improving human life, he founded – and is running for President as the nominee of - the Transhumanist Party, whose platform endorses technological progress as its main priority, with the aim of enhancing the natural human body to undreamed of levels of performance. He is the published author of “The Transhumanist Wager”, a novel based upon his aspirations for augmenting humanity.
Istvan has been interviewed on numerous occasions about Transhumanism, including by FOX News and The Financial Times among a great many others, where he elaborates upon his and his party's leanings and intentions. He believes that by vastly increasing the resources available to research scientists, it will be possible to develop technologies capable of dramatically improving the human body. Istvan speaks of bionic eyes enabling blind people to see and mechanical limbs repairing those who have been maimed, but he goes further, suggesting that the eyes could be tuned to detect not only naturally visible light but infrared and ultraviolet radiation as well, and that the prosthetic arms and legs could be many times more powerful and dextrous than biological extremities. He is also particularly concerned with technological means of slowing, stopping, and eventually reversing the aging process, and boasts that should one trillion dollars be invested in the life-extension field, “we will conquer human mortality within ten years.”
In order to secure such substantial sums for his research goals, Istvan particularly targets defense spending for budget cuts, in order that those resources be redirected to human improvement. “Why should we have a war in Afghanistan,” he asks, “if we can have a war on cancer, or a war on heart disease?” He also calls out the Iraq War, arguing that even a fraction of the money spent on that conflict would have been enough to end death.
Beyond his Transhumanist policies, Istvan is generally left-leaning. He accepts the theory of global warming and believes that human activity is responsible for the changing climate, however he rejects any notion of slowing progress in order to address the problem. Instead, his solution is once again technology, as he calls for research into scientific methods of modifying the planet's climate to compensate for the damage humanity has caused. He also professes his personal atheism, though he is careful to point out that absence of religious faith is not a prerequisite to Transhumanist inclusion.
Especially due to his feelings toward military spending, an extremely hot-button issue among many conservatives, most of Istvan's political support is to be found left of center. Regardless, even he himself would likely agree the point is moot – he readily admits that as a third-party candidate, his chances of winning the election are virtually nonexistent, and says that he is running to increase awareness of the Transhumanist platform rather than because he hopes to attain the White House.