The US Transhumanist party is small party that put emphasis on science and technology for fulfilling the aspirations of humanity. Indeed - there are very, very few limits in science. E.g. inertial fusion has been proven experimentally, there are artificial general intelligence research (achieving human-level and super-human artificial intelligence), there is indefinite human life extension and rejuvenation research (e.g. Yamanaka factors), humanoid robotics, multiverses etc., etc. I am mentioning here only the edge cases of scientific research. Of course, engineering sciences are doing almost miracuously, but almost everyone is aware of it already, so, no need to reiterate this here. The only limits the current science mentions are connected with the Goedel theorems and computability (Church-Turing thesis), all the other problems - superhuman AI, rejuvenation and immortality, multiverses - are more or less actively researched (there are peer-reviewed publications, learned societies, conferences, defended PhD thesis and so on) and at least large fraction of scientific community believes that those goals are achievable and there is need for active work and investment in these areas.

So - that is background for my question - current science and technologies provides possibility for complete transformation of work and society and yet - why so few political forces rely on such possibilities? E.g. even leftist parties sometimes agree to the right wing views that resources for current welfare state are limited and the social-economic cuts are necessary. But how the resources can be limited if science provides so much opportunities for automation, robotization, why political forces does not see the problem-solving nature of science and technology?

As I said - I am aware only of Transhumanism party in US that puts so strong focus on science and technology. But are there mainstream parties in Europe that have similar agendas? I recently reviewed Corbyn ideas (these are accessible to me, because they are expressed in English, not in smaller European languages) and found little evidence for support of science and technology. My impression is that science and technology can replace or at least make meaningful the redistributional policies of left wing parties (sometimes even the low and middle income people are against redistributional policies, e.g. due to fear of rebirth of socialism), so - why don't left wing parties take up this idea?

Point added: My question refers to the fertile marriage between science and technology. Not all the green movements come from such marriage. E.g. there is "Hands-free hectare" experiment and harvesting robotics but green movements prefer less industry in agriculture and therefore more wasted human work and less production. Green movements are against pesticides although science is not against moderate use of them, GMO is open question as well in science. Green movements prefer lifestyle changes although science predicts that geoengineering and other bold solutions will be needed to stop or reverse climate changes and lifestyle changes will not be enough.

Point added: Of course, my question involves the relevant social policies as well. E.g. there are currently such technologies already available as robotic waste sorting, robotic filleting and fish processing, and additionally harvesting and some kind of construction robots are in the final stages of verification. There is industry of robotic surgery, so, there are no fundamental limits for robotization of slaughterhouses and meat processing. Economic incentives and political decisions regarding technology use sometimes is the biggest question than the availability of the technology itself today. So, of course, technologically oriented party should have strong and sound socio-economic policies.

I tried to collect some explanations/possible responses to my question:

  • Politicians don't see demand of science and technology policies in society. This is wrong response, because society does not demand migration but it happens and some politicians make publicly funded PR campaigns to increase support for these issues.
  • Technology is not ripe today. As I said, not always such evaluation is true. But - even if technology is not ripe today, it certainly be in place during next 5-10 years and policy planning happens exactly in such horizons as well. E.g. Europe has 7 year budgeting plans and 10 year strategic development plans like Lisbon strategy and Europe 2020 strategy. Besides, many socially hard policies could be implemented more easily if governments would provide society with the hope that future will be better and less hardships will have to be experienced in the future due to returns on investments in science and technology.
  • There are social issues. Of course, there are social issues coming from the automation and robotization, stagnation of wages in the past 10-15 years and increase in inequality is visible example of the impact of technology on society. But all such social issues can be solved e.g. by the proper policies, e.g. by additional tax on the technology use and by the redistribution of the income from the machine work to the society, e.g. universal basic income can be some kind of solution.

So - one can see that there are some explanations of the lack of support for technology and science but all those explanations are unjustified. There should be something else that can explain why political parties in Europe neglects this path to prosperity.

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  • It could be argued that most ecologist political parties have been grounded on scientific considerations from the get-go. – Evargalo Sep 23 '18 at 7:16
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    Lots of ideas in this post need some basis. For example, that there is no support for science (lots of R+D programs). Or that science and technology can replace or at least make meaningful the redistributional policies of left wing parties; science and technology are better each year and each year wealth is more concentrated in fewer hands. Also, your first paragraph somehow confuses "there is research" with "the benefits (if any) of the research are available NOW", we do not know which research will yield results and even with those the proces is slow. – SJuan76 Sep 23 '18 at 7:16
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    Imagine yourself in the 1950s saying something like "by the year 2018 they will have the green revolution, global communications network, cancer therapy, robotic factories, self-driving cars, and thanks to all that science and technology ALL of their problems will be a thing of the past." – SJuan76 Sep 23 '18 at 7:19
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    Oh, and that a language is not English does not make it "smaller". – SJuan76 Sep 23 '18 at 7:20
  • I expanded my question to include more explanation whose necessity was brought forward by the preceding comments. Thanks. – TomR Sep 23 '18 at 10:55

In the UK we had the "white heat of technology" back in the 1960s. These days the phrase is only used ironically; it brings to mind technological white elephants like Concorde, giant hovercraft and the Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor.

Any politician in the UK asked about technology policy will of course say that Britain is a world-beating technological superpower, but this will then segue into their economic and industrial policy. Anyone who tries to put new science at the front and centre of their platform will simply be laughed at.

There is a sound reason why this should be so: large organisations are extremely bad at innovation, and government is one of the largest organisations there is. Basically there are two ways government investment in big technology can go:

  1. The bean-counters are in charge. Every proposal must pass a rigorous cost-benefit test. Real innovation gets filtered out because it can't prove that it will work.

  2. The engineers are in charge. Huge technological white elephants are built without regard to their cost-effectiveness. This is what Wilson did in the 1960s in Britain.

Current thinking is that the best thing for government to do is to provide fertile ground for innovation with the right tax and education policies, maybe provide some seed funding in specific areas, and otherwise get out of the way.

  • I did not said and expected, that government should do the work businesses should do. Science is the realm of public funding, some part of R&D is private funding and innovation mostly is private enterprise, nothing should be changes and the while system can be boosted by the appropriate policies. In fact amazon.co.uk/Entrepreneurial-State-Debunking-Public-Private/dp/… shows that every part of Apple "inventions" come from the publicly funded science. So, science creates values but it is constrained by the funding not by the itself. – TomR Sep 23 '18 at 13:49
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    @TomR: So what exactly are you asking? – Paul Johnson Sep 23 '18 at 15:52

Nearly all of them. In fact the notion that science is valuable has become so much of a truism that it is never seriously debated or discussed. For example the UK government spends about 11-12 billion on science, and about 2 billion on "culture media and sport" (rough figures and debatable, but give a sense of the scale of the difference)

Political parties of all colours across Europe continue to put a much greater investment into science than into culture. So examples of parties that put relative emphasis on science include the Labour party and the Conservative party of the UK, and probably every other major party around Europe.

However, I sense that your question is not about "science" but about "development of transhumans". And sorry but this is just a question of "why don't governments fund my particular interest". It is the Ministry of Silly Walks. Governments have to fund welfare, education, housing, defence, health, science, art and transhumanism. And unless the last in that list can demonstrate that it is worthy of funding, it is not going to get it.

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    I understood the question more as "are there any parties that say 'we just need more scientific advancement to solve the problems we are trying (and failing) to solve politically'". Imho investment into science today isn't argued from that angle, but from a general "knowledge is good" stance. – janh Sep 23 '18 at 11:55
  • Investment in and support for science and technology is not in contradiction with arts and sports. It is quite opposite. Science and technology can increase GDP well beyond any expectations and it will give enough tax base to fund lot of activities including arts, including sports, including the art projects and activities that are done by semiprofessionals and simple art lovers and hobbyists. Computational creativity will remove the pressure on the artists to do the mean "applied arts". – TomR Sep 23 '18 at 13:52

Because politics really isn't very scientific. Obviously nations benefit from engineering applications of some science, but:

  • Nations also suffer at length from the misapplications and unexpected consequences of engineering. (Environmental pollution, for example.)

  • Experimental methods typical of ordinary science don't scale up well, due to the scarcity of resources on a national level. (We can test different automobile designs, and scrap the bad ones. Testing nations isn't as easy, since no nation regards itself as expendable.)

  • Political bias is a powerful force in of itself, compared to which ordinary scientific biases are petty and trivial. Increase the stakes enough, as with politics, and those scientific biases will annihilate the usual scientific objectivity.

  • Technology is a kingmaker. Tech that should be scrapped tends to depose its kings. Those kings love their thrones, and have armies to defend them.

  • Ignorance is a churchmaker; no great church has ever dissolved itself because of an experimentally disconfirmed theory. Instead their armies amplify the disconfirmed theory, and work to undermine the disconfirmers.

The result being that for science to supercede these powerful forces, it has to make war on their soldiers and forge alliances. Which requires soldiers and statesmen for science, which alters the general character of science into something else that's a lot more like what it set out to fight. If it wins, then by the time it won, it probably wouldn't be itself anymore.

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