Mormon Transhumanist Association will Help AIDS Orphans in Uganda

The Mormon Transhumanist Association (MTA) is dedicating itself to a humanitarian cause - alleviating poverty in Uganda. 67% of Ugandans live below the poverty line, and 24.7% are trapped in extreme poverty. Additionally, there are 2.5 million orphans in Uganda; UNICEF estimates that 45% are parentless due to AIDS. The new MTA staff members in this activity are Hank Pellissier (Manager of Humanitarian Projects) and Roger Hansen (Assistant Manager of Humanitarian Projects).

What instigated this new MTA project, and who are these new administrators?

On September 3, Lincoln Cannon (MTA President) invited Hank Pellissier to accept the new staff position and Pellissier gleefully accepted. Although he’s an atheist, Pellissier has been a member of MTA for 2.5 years - he’s very fond of MTA because it's been extraordinarily generous in his charity drives. When Pellissier was Managing Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology (IEET) in 2012, he launched a cell phone drive for IEET’s African Futures Project - and MTA members contributed 40% of the total collected mobiles (thanks to Roger Hansen’s efforts). When Pellissier launched his Mangyan Assistance Project for the Brighter Brains Institute (sponsoring three indigenous children on the island of Mindoro), MTA President Lincoln Cannon contributed. Lincoln also donated to Pellissier’s DIY-Soylent shipment to the malnourished Mangyans. Pellissier also admires MTA’s KIVA (micro-lending) group that’s existed since January 2013, with 19 members contributing 93 loans. Pellissier praised MTA’s KIVA activity in his essay, ""Transhumanist Philanthropy?! Yes! MTA Sets up KIVA Account."

Pellissier’s transhumanist activity includes starting Transhumanity.net, starting ImmortalLife.info, and writing an e-book called "Invent Utopia Now: transhumanist suggestions for the pre-Singularity era." He has worked as a professional journalist for many years, writing columns and feature articles for NYTimes, Salon.com, SFGate.com, GreatSchools.org, and other publications.

Roger Hansen is an MTA member who has done extensive volunteer work in Uganda, setting up solar energy systems, clean water systems, and children’s playgrounds. He is soon retiring from his position as Planning Group Chief for the Bureau of Reclamation in Provo, Utah. Roger maintains a blog called Tired Road Warrior that often relates his thoughts and experiences regarding Uganda. On this blog, he expresses his concerns: "about the social inequities on the planet Earth ... I live part-time in Uganda and in Navajoland, and would like to see the human and ecological environment in both areas of world greatly improved ... [I am] less excited about life extension (a transhumanist obsession) than I am about the possibilities of using technology to improve conditions in developing countries. [I have] A belief that technology is one potential savior for the developing world, particularly in areas like Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia."

Transhumanists usually regard Radical Life Extension and Brain Enhancement as their 2 primary ambitions. "Eradication of Poverty" is seldom mentioned as a transhumanist goal, even though it's widely recognized that new technologies can alleviate most of the horrid conditions experienced by "the poorest of the poor."

The Mormon Transhumanist Association leads the way in recognizing the transhumanist responsibility to abolish the suffering of poverty; indeed, it defines itself as an organization that promotes "radical flourishing in compassion and creation through technology and religion."

Hank and Roger have many exciting ideas regarding MTA-funded projects in Uganda. The primary goal is to establish a school that teaches job-training in technological skills, like computers and wood-working. We’ll keep you informed!

Dorothy Deasy Interviewed by The Columbian

Dorothy Deasy, a director of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, was interviewed by The Columbian on the topic of religion and Transhumanism.

In the interview, she discusses the importance of bridging religious ideals with how we will relate to rapidly changing technology, doing our best to guide technology in directions that are beneficial for society, and avoiding abuses that may arise from some conceptualizations of advancing civilization.

Read "Conversations abound about what it means to be human" at The Columbian.

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