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Frequently Asked Questions
What's in it for me?
How you benefit, in a nutshell:
Recognition: The humem-state provides a dedicated environment in which you can establish the aggregate of your digital data and applications (digital EP) into a dynamic, self-sustaining, and lasting body—your personal humem.
Peace of Mind: Like a good nation-state, the humem-state takes care of the things that you cannot efficiently provide on your own, including security, infrastructure, and other essential services. The humem-state will function as your independent, expert-driven, personal data manager for the duration of your life and beyond.
Empowerment: By continuously evaluating, certifying, and integrating commercially provided, best-in-class technologies and services, the humem-state enables your humem to grow its internal structure and interconnections, and come “alive” in ways that we are only starting to imagine today.
Self-determination: As the humem-state develops and provides broader rights and improved services to your humem, you will steadily regain the control, ownership, and privacy of your digital EP, and benefit directly from the economic value that it generates.
Stake in the future: Via your humem you gain a tangible, personal stake in the future—a foothold in a new domain whose astounding possibilities are just beginning to unfold.
Why do our EPs require citizen-like rights?
The identity, capabilities, and rights of our EPs are an extension of our traditional identity, capabilities, and rights—so our EPs' well-being is an essential part of our general well-being.
As long as our EPs lack the necessary rights and protections conferred by a citizenship in a dedicated state, we remain vulnerable and deprived of our full freedoms.
A well-functioning nation-state protects its citizens and provides the basic services and infrastructures they need to thrive. Similarly, a dedicated humem-state is required to protect the formally recognized collections of our EPs—as humem-citizens—and establish and maintain an environment suited to their specific needs.
Why do I need a humem?
Our technology-enabled EPs already exist and are rapidly growing. They are becoming an essential part of our actions and identities.
Thus it is not a question whether one’s EP should exist but rather how one’s EP should come into being, be managed, sustained, and owned? What rights, protections, and abilities should it possess?
Simply put, your EP can remain fragmented and in servitude—controlled and exploited by various external entities ... Or it can be established as a humem in a dedicated environment, on a path to emancipation, to more closely emulate and complement the status that you enjoy as a free and self-standing citizen in a well-functioning nation-state.
Why should the humem habitat be regarded as a state and not just an institution or organization within an existing nation-state?
In almost all respects, the ideal humem habitat is more like a nation-state than an organization within a nation-state: its functions and responsibilities, and the nature of the entities that it serves, are most similar to those of a nation-state and its citizens, respectively.
The humem-state's basic functions include:
Establish an environment in which humem rights are recognized and upheld.
Provide the infrastructure and services that individuals cannot practically or efficiently provide for themselves.
Institute regulation, oversight, and rectification mechanisms to ensure the orderly and safe interaction between and among humems and corporations.
Create and regulate an economic system to allow humems to own and benefit from the value they contain and generate.
Represent the collective interests of its humem-citizens in relation to other states (nation-states and other humem-states).
These functions are clearly much broader than those of a purpose-specific organization and most closely resemble those of a nation-state.
From a complementary standpoint, the geopolitical world is currently composed of nation-states and corporations (some of which possess state-like economic and political powers) that are incompatible with the freedoms and needs of our humems. Consequently, an effectual humem administration ultimately requires the status of peer, and not subordinate, to these existing bodies.
Why can’t existing nation-states adapt to the needs of humems, thereby removing the need for a humem-state?
Nation-states remain preoccupied with their traditional roles, such as creating physical infrastructure, ensuring people’s bodily safety and health, and securing geographical borders. This is what nation-states do best, and what they will continue to do for the foreseeable future. A nation-state’s primary “users” are location-centric people for the duration of their lifespans.
Humems, on the other hand, have some fundamentally different characteristics and needs. They are increasingly location independent (locationless) and can endure indefinitely. Yet, despite these differences, humem domains have many overlaps with people’s traditional ones. For example, humems hold and convey essential personal information, and require many of the same resources, such as energy, technological infrastructure, and financial assets. This combination of marked differences together with many commonalities leads to irreconcilable conflicts of interest between humems and nation-states.
The consequences of these incompatibilities are already evident. Technological progress outpaces existing ethical and legal conventions and produces systems whose workings and implications are too complex for most people to understand. In this void of regulation and public understanding, corporations and nation-states exploit their ever-growing capabilities, resulting in an ongoing deterioration of basic humem, or EP, freedoms. This places emergent humems under a form of enslavement in which they are effectively owned and misused by others. And where there is disagreement among the controlling stakeholders—say between a state-government and a large corporation—it often resembles a dispute between competing property- or slave-owners, which disregards the humems’ basic rights and best interests.
Nation-states will continue to prioritize their traditional functions over EP related interests. Thus, it is difficult to imagine how a nation-state might recognize a humem, which it perceives as a non-human entity, as deserving of a form of citizenship anything like the traditional nation-state citizenship. That said, there might eventually be a way of establishing a new kind of jurisdiction that reconciles both the traditional needs of people and the emergent needs of humems. But, to the degree that this would be possible, it would most likely be through the precedent set by the humem-state.
How can the person and humem be formally separate and still intimately connected?
One way of understanding this is to view the person and their corresponding humem as the two members of an intimately connected and mutually dependent couple. Since the person and the humem have analogous but materially different natures, and have overlapping but potentially unequal lifetimes, they must each hold a citizenship in a state best suited to their needs. (This is partially comparable to a traditional couple in which each member is a legally distinct entity and may even hold a different national citizenship to the other.)
Another, more consistent, way of understanding the person-humem dual nature is to view the person and humem as two complementary manifestations of a single underlying entity, or individual.
From this perspective we can view the formal statuses of the person in the nation-state, and the humem in the humem-state, as a kind of dual citizenship of the whole individual. This is analogous to traditional types of dual citizenship, in which one may have two completely separate sets of rights and obligations in two unconnected dominions without diminishing the wholeness of the individual. In fact, the possession of dual citizenship often enhances an individual’s rights, protections, and agency.
See the page on the Dual World for a schematic depiction of this new model of the modern individual.
Does the Humem State Foundation have any inherent political or religious affiliations?
The humem-state is a general-purpose habitat dedicated to the welfare of a wide diversity of citizens, comparable to a modern democracy.
Individual humems and groups of humems will reflect the characters and inclinations of their human counterparts.
Like an advanced nation-state, the humem-state serves as a foundation on which individuals and groups can fulfill their aspirations—personal, religious, political, or other.
Is the humem-state currently feasible?
The technology required for the formation of the humem-state exists and is scalable to accommodate large populations—it is constantly improving and becoming more cost effective.
In the same way that a good nation-state continually adopts emerging technologies to achieve its purposes and benefit its people, the humem-state will procure and apply state-of-the-art technologies to protect and serve its humem-citizens.
Additionally, the legal and financial components of the humem system have been designed by specialists in each field, rendering the early humem-state fully implementable within existing jurisdictions.
(The page on establishment provides a perspective of the creation of the humem-state as an offshoot of an existing nation-state.)
What are the immediate practical benefits?
The humem-state will allow us to benefit from the accelerating advances in technology in a safe, efficient, and sustainable manner without continuing to surrender some of our most essential individual liberties and privacies to the dictates of strangers.
The humem-state will first and foremost create the foundations for addressing the urgent problems plaguing personal data, especially with regard to data aggregation, maintenance, privacy, control, and ownership.
This same system opens the way to future advances in personal tech such as your imminent integration with AI, highly-personalized health apps, and self-monetization of your digital EP.
In addition to delivering a lifelong, secure environment for individuals’ digital EPs, the humem-state can provide immense ongoing value to their families and society. Broader uses range from legacy, genealogy, and family health applications to large-scale medical research, and historical and cultural studies.
Current states and governments increasingly exploit our personal data and violate our privacies. How will the humem-state be any different?
The humem-state’s reason for being—its very essence—stems from its mission to protect and ensure humem-rights; success in this endeavor is the only thing that sustains it.
Moreover, a properly formed humem-state does not suffer from the apparent conflicts of interest that currently prevail in nation-states with regard to the physical welfare of the state vs. the integrity of its citizens’ EPs.
Addressing the question from another standpoint, traditional nation-states have multiple forms of influence and leverage over their citizens, the majority of whom are involuntarily born into the state and cannot easily relocate to better environments. By contrast, humem-citizens will be free to join or remain in the humem-state—or emigrate. Accordingly, the humem-state needs to provide the optimal, most trustworthy environment for its citizens; otherwise it will be rapidly depleted of its citizens—its lifeblood—and cease to exist.
Is a humem just a collection of digital data?
Like your personhood in its modern context, your humemhood encompasses much more than a physical body (of data). It also includes your humem’s abilities, agency, rights, and standing in society and state.
Modern digital data is currently the predominant medium (aside from the human body) for carrying and expressing individuals’ presence in the world. Although it may be hard to imagine today, alternative media will most likely emerge in the future. If and when they do, an individual humem will be able to migrate to a new medium while maintaining its identity, significance, rights, and so on.
Such “media migrations” have occurred in the past: A century ago, long before electronic data was conceived, individuals’ EPs were carried on media such as photographic prints and letters of paper. Once these EPs were digitized, their significance was retained and often expanded. And due to the nature of digital data—such as ease of duplication and dispersal—their prospects for the future were greatly improved.
In principle, the humem’s physical manifestation—its body—can comprise media other than digital data. In line with the definition of a humem, that media can include traditional EP components such as an individual’s depiction in paper photographs or their works of art. Moreover, the same underlying legal and economic humem framework can be expanded to integrate biological forms of EP such as an individual’s DNA sample, cryopreserved gametes (e.g. frozen sperm or ova), or cord blood.
More generally, the humem is an excellent enabler of individual long-term purposes. As a versatile and economically self-sufficient entity, a single humem can accomplish multiple such roles in parallel.
How does Artificial Intelligence (AI) relate to humems?
Due to significant advances in recent years, there is widespread concern that AI, when inappropriately applied, may be detrimental—even extremely dangerous—for humankind.
But the progress of AI is inevitable. Thus, to avoid negative outcomes we need to ask not whether AI is desirable, but, rather, how it can best be applied.
Clearly AI will be the major enabler of advanced humem capabilities. Applying AI to personal humems (alpha-humems), which are extensions of specific people, instead of to separate, artificial anthropomorphic entities, may help mitigate some of these concerns.
As a part of our personal humems, AI will extend, empower, and enhance us as individuals, instead of competing with us or negating the very essence of our individuality.
Can a humem be regarded as a kind of avatar or robot emulating a person?
A humem is a much more fundamental, dynamic, and enduring entity than any of its contemporary physical manifestations.
A person-emulating avatar or robot is in principle not different from an individual’s picture on a billboard, autobiography in a paper book, or video appearance on a computer screen. Each of these is a media-dependent, transient expression of an aspect of the individual, but none can be regarded as the individual itself. Typically, the individual—in its broader sense—grows and adapts over time. A specific medium of expression, such as a state-of-the-art robot, gradually becomes old, and over time, new robots will provide richer modes of expression. (The same is valid for the humem’s channels of sensory input and its accrual of knowledge.)
This perspective can be further generalized to include the human body as just one of an individual’s multiple means of presence. The physical bodies of most ordinary individuals were once the primary devices for their expression and accrual of knowledge. By contrast, celebrities’ physical bodies have long been only their partial and temporary mediums of expression. For example, during Queen Cleopatra’s life, and for centuries thereafter, her character developed and manifested over ever-advancing kinds of non-bodily physical media.
A comparable pattern is currently emerging for modern individuals, whose modes of expression are increasingly mediated through digital technology. Like the celebrities of the past, the ordinary person’s character and its manifestation will be able to grow and persist indefinitely over continually evolving technological infrastructures.