Monday, April 27, 2009

Giulio Prisco

This is the home page of Giulio Prisco. I am a physicist and computer scientist by training, and a former senior manager in the European space administration. I am now freelancing and based in Budapest.

I am mainly interested in science, new technology, IT, space, and NBIC: the convergence of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science with the goal to improve human performance, expanding human cognition and communication, improving human health and physical capabilities.

I am quite serious about improving human performance and take this concept to its logical conclusion: transhumanism. To read more start with the websites of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, KurzweilAI, and H+ Magazine. I am on the Board of Directors of the the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies and the Italian Transhumanist Association. In the past I have been on the Board of Directors of Humanity+. I am also a member of the (late lamented) Extropy Institute and the Cryonics Institute - I am signed up for cryonic suspension with the CI.

My own short and hopefully simple definition of transhumanism:

The basic tenet of classical Humanist thinking is that concrete thinking and feeling persons are more important than abstract, "artificial" ethical constructs. Extrapolating from current scientific and technological trends, we can see that our species may soon develop the capability to control its own evolution, including modifying itself in fundamental ways. Such modifications may range from life extension and cognitive enhancement (mid term), to becoming non-mortal radically enhanced software entities (long term). Transhumanists will welcome such changes as long as they result in a better life for all persons directly concerned, where "person" is defined as "thinking and feeling entity".

That's it. Not the will of --insert your favorite supreme being here-- ? Against --insert your favorite abstract principle here-- ? Too bad. Concrete thinking and feeling persons are more important than abstract, "artificial" ethical constructs.

My worldview in a nutshell: I appreciate that our world is complex, and I am very suspicious of simple black-and-white truths, magic formulas and one-size-fits-all solutions. An engineer at heart, I believe we should carry both a hammer and a screwdriver to deal with a complex reality which contains both nails and screws. Hard thinking and hard working on a case by case basis is much better than following a pre-packaged simplified worldview and, sometimes, may permit achieving goals that seem mutually exclusive at a first glance.

I think that many libertarians and many socialists have valuable ideas, and I think that many believers and many atheists have valuable ideas. In politics, I wish to see some kind of smart combination of libertarian and socialist approaches. Some will say that this is impossible, but I am comforted by the fact that many thinkers whom I respect thought otherwise. I tend to be in favor of "glocalized" governance systems where decisions on issues that have a global impact are taken at a global level, and decisions on issues that only have a local impact are taken at local level. Of course, the devil is in the details. However, I am firmly for "live and let live" and I believe restrictions of personal freedom can only be accepted in very extreme cases. I am very close to the radical social-libertarian positions of the Pirate Party.

In religion, I understand the position of atheists, but I sympathize with the "spiritual" approach to reality and values of many believers. In other words, I can live with most combinations of moderate [socialism, libertarianism, atheism, spirituality]. At the same time, I find fundamentalism, bigotry and intolerance VERY annoying, regardless of where they come from.

I am also interested in many other things, including what unkind people would call fringe - weird science. Having been trained as a scientist, I can usually distinguish a good weird idea from a bad weird idea.

I try to follow the impact of new technologies on culture, politics, and everyday life, and I think that we have not even started using the Internet as enabling technology for radical change. Things may become much more interesting in a few years, for example with the deployment and widespread adoption of the mobile web and massively multiuser online virtual worlds.

In 2006, 2007 and 2008 I have established a transhumanist presence in Second Life. In 2010 I have launched teleXLR8, a telepresence community for cultural acceleration.

See also my Wordpress site , mainly dedicated to my consulting work.


  1. I enjoyed reading, and found significant resonance with, almost all of your stated positions and feelings above. To bad I'm not in Budapest, I'm sure we could have some excellent conversations over cold brew and good meat. What is your preferred method of communication in any event? Beyond the fact that I'd like to be included in the teleXLR8 list and talks, I'd like to have those conversations virtually until we can arrange otherwise. (Not easy to figure out from your various sites so I'm just asking :-)
    John Strohl

  2. Hi John, thanks for writing. My preferred method of communication is online / virtual, because there is no way I could have so many good and interesting friends in so many great places if I limited myself to meatspace. This does not mean that I don't enjoy cold brews in meatspace, and I am always happy to see people face to face.

    Join the teleXLR8 mailing list here:!forum/telexlr8
    and, if you are on Facebook and Linkedin: