Zoltan Istvan Profile

  • A leading futurist, science, and technology speaker, Zoltan Istvan is the most prominent voice of the Transhumanist Movement.

  • Istvan has raised awareness of the benefits of embracing emerging technologies during his highly publicized runs for U.S. President and Governor of California.

  • A former National Geographic reporter and writer featured in multiple media outlets, Istvan is the author of the Amazon Top 5 Book, The Transhumanist Wager and a former consultant for the U.S. Navy.
  • Futurist and visionary journalist, Zoltan Istvan is one of the most prominent voices of Transhumanism, a growing global movement that believes harnessing technology to enhance human capacities in the next evolutionary leap forward in human development. In recent years, he’s brought greater attention to this theme through his 2016 presidential campaign and his 2018 run for Governor of California. Politically, Istvan advocates government playing a more proactive role in the vetting and regulation of technology with the aim of curtailing economic inequality.

    Istvan is a philosophy and religious studies graduate of Columbia University. As a journalist for the National Geographic Channel, he traveled to over 100 countries. His pieces on the war in Kashmir were the basis of the award-winning documentary Pawns of Paradise.

    Istvan’s 2013 science fiction novel The Transhumanist Wager was a Top 5 Amazon book and has been incorporated into college curriculums to spark conversation on possible future scenarios that could stem from our approach to regulating technology. His insights on futurist and transhumanist topics have been frequently published in TechCrunch, WIRED, The San Francisco Chronicle, Business Insider, The Daily Telegraph, and his regular column for Vice.

    Istvan has served as a consultant for U.S. Navy. He has spoken at the World Bank, the Global Leaders Forum, Microsoft, and the Financial Times Camp Alphaville.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      With his wildly popular US Presidential run as a science candidate, bestselling book The Transhumanist Wager, and powerful speeches at institutions like the World Bank, Zoltan Istvan has literally transformed transhumanism into a thriving worldwide phenomenon. He is often cited as the global leader of the radical science movement. A humanitarian activist and former journalist for National Geographic, Zoltan has been compared in major media to a young Al Gore and described as a modern-day Ayn Rand.

      Beyond extensive media coverage, Zoltan is an eloquent, Ivy-league educated man yearning to use science, technology, reason to dramatically remake humanity. Over the last two years, Zoltan has consulted for the US Navy as a futurist, interviewed to be Libertarian Gary Johnson’s Vice President, appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience (and dozens of other shows), and gave many speeches, including at Microsoft, the Global Leaders Forum, and the Financial Times Camp Alphaville (opening Keynote). Istvan was the only presidential candidate to be interviewed by underground mega-group Anonymous. Istvan’s award-winning 2013 novel The Transhumanist Wager was a #1 bestseller in Philosophy and also a top 5 Amazon book. It’s been compared in reviews to Ayn Rand’s work over 1000 times. It’s being taught in a few dozen colleges around the world as a warning and inspiration about the future.

      Coming out in 2017 is a feature documentary two years in the making called “Immortality or Bust” on Istvan’s ideas and campaign, including the story of his historic bus tour across America on the Immortality Bus. Istvan is the founder of the Transhumanist Party, the author the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, and a frequently interviewed expert on AI. Before becoming an acclaimed futurist, he was a journalist for the National Geographic Channel (often an on-camera reporter) and The New York Times Syndicate. Istvan has traveled to over 100 countries, and has a degree in Philosophy and Religion from Columbia University. Currently, he is also a columnist at Vice, and at the young age of 44, has a strong support base with millennials.

      He is a successful entrepreneur, with The New Yorker citing he made a minor fortune in real estate. Zoltan is married to a surgeon, and they have two daughters. Zoltan’s feature warzone documentary, Pawns of Paradise, on the Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan, won two documentary awards and played in film festivals around the world. Zoltan was a Communications Director at WildAid, a major nonprofit wildlife organization that aims to stop wildlife poaching and protect endangered species. As an athlete, Zoltan was a national champion water polo player and is credited with inventing the extreme sport of Volcano Boarding, which debuted on the National Geographic Channel in 2002 and is practiced around the world today. Zoltan plays the guitar and piano, and owns a vineyard in Argentina.

    Zoltan Istvan Speaking Videos

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    Zoltan Istvan's Speech Descriptions

    Futurist and science keynote speaker, Zoltan Istvan delves into emerging technologies and the influence they could have on our future.
    He explores the ethical issues and potential outcomes of cutting-edge issues like AI, genetic editing, bionic organs, automation, and neural prosthetics. Istvan predicts that today’s radical science will be the norm 20 years from now and calls on the nation to embrace today’s developments while laying out bold policies that he believes will better everyone in our society.

    Zoltan Istvan frequently gives keynote speeches to large audiences on all topics of science, technology,
    and the future. As a world leader in his field, he’s consulted for the US Navy, spoken at the World Bank,
    advised executives at multi-billion dollar corporations, moderated panels, hosted television segments,
    and publicly debated celebrities and policy experts. Istvan also gives talks about his success as an
    entrepreneur, media personality, bestselling author, and on his past adventures as a journalist for
    National Geographic.

    Zoltan’s most frequently requested speaking topics are:

  • Artificial Intelligence and Genetic Editing are Changing the World
  • What Will the Future Look like in 2025?
  • How Long Before We Conquer Aging and Death with Science?
  • When Will We all Become Cyborgs?
  • Transhumanism is Exploding in Size and Billions of Dollars are at Stake
  • What it’s Like to Run for US President as a Science Candidate
  • Can Artificial Intelligence Replace Politicians?
  • The Future of Warfare is All Robots and Drones
  • How I Became the Leading Face of the Transhumanism Movement

  • What People are Saying about Seeing Zoltan Speak

    Rating Entries

    “Zoltan Istvan is the leader of assorted ‘biohackers’ attempting to merge humans & machines.”

    -Evening Standard

    “Zoltan Istvan is polite and charismatic…he has a plausibly presidential aura.”

    -The New York Times

    “Zoltan Istvan speaks in complete sentences, sometimes complete paragraphs, usually without stopping to breathe. It takes him but a
    moment to process a question, then he’s off—spinning a web of complex information. He then starts building off that information. When he’s
    done, you have vastly more answers than you were originally searching for.”


    “Thank you for sharing your insights. Your comments broadened our understanding of transhumanism and the merger of humans and
    machines. You have had a direct impact on our viewpoints for future concepts.”

    -James P. Wisecup, Vice Admiral, US Navy

    “Zoltan Istvan is founder of the Transhumanist Party, a legally recognized and PR-minded political effort that calls attention to what tomorrow’s mainstreaming of today’s rapidly developing technology could mean for human life.”

    -United Nations

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    Books by Zoltan Istvan:

    The Transhumanist Wager

  • “WINNER” Fiction Visionary – International Book Awards

    Leading futurist and former National Geographic journalist Zoltan Istvan presents his award-winning, bestselling visionary novel, The Transhumanist Wager, as a seminal statement of our times.

    His philosophical thriller has been called “revolutionary,” “life-changing,” and “a masterpiece” by readers, scholars, and critics. The novel debuts a challenging original philosophy, which rebuffs modern civilization by inviting the end of the human species–and declaring the onset of something greater.

    Set in the present day, the novel tells the story of transhumanist Jethro Knights and his unwavering quest for immortality via science and technology. Fighting against him are fanatical religious groups, economically depressed governments, and mystic Zoe Bach: a dazzling trauma surgeon and the love of his life, whose belief in spirituality and the afterlife is absolute. Exiled from America and reeling from personal tragedy, Knights forges a new nation of willing scientists on the world’s largest seastead, Transhumania. When the world declares war against the floating libertarian city, demanding an end to its renegade and godless transhuman experiments and ambitions, Knights strikes back, leaving the planet forever changed.

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