The results of the H+ Summit rebroadcast

On June 12-13, the RTM team rebroadcasted the H+ Summit, a major international transhumanist event, in Russian language with live broadcast from the RTM studio where the Summit topics were actively discussed with invited guests. The tramsmission was organized by RTM volunteers.

On the first day, almost all talks from the Summit were professionally translated. Between talks we broadcasted from the RTM studio and showed relevant video materials about transhumanist technological projects from our media library. Among our guests were well-known transhumanist writers Alexander Nikonov and Valery Chumakov.

On the second day there were some problems with audio coming from the Summit which impeded translation. However, it gave us more opportunities for discussions at the studio, including a particularly interesting conversation with a famous transhumanist coach Igor Nezovibatko.

I will now evaluate the organization of this event and its results:

  1. Goals and vision
  2. The initial situation
  3. The results:
    1. Successes
    2. Shortcomings
    3. Lessons for the future
  4. Acknowledgenemts

1. Goals and Vision

Modern transhumanism has come to Russia from the West at the beginning of the 21th century. In spite of the fact that transhumanism roots lie in the Russian Cosmism school of philosophy, at present Russia is falling behind the American society in certain areas: in the degree of awareness about global civilization changes, in the number of books on trashumanism issues, moreover, the transhumanist community is smaller than in the USA. It is for this reason that we have considered the possibility of broadcasting a major transhumanist conference to help communicate the ideas of accelerating progress and technological convergence to the Russian audience.

Our two goals for the H+ Summit transmission were:

  • Acquire and test the technology for future broadcasts
  • Popularization of transhumanism in Russia

Our vision of the event was as follows:

We planned to receive the video of the Summit from Internet transmission, perform a simultaneous interpretation for most of the reports (not all but those that looked the most promising to us). Moreover, we intended to invite interesting guests to our studio in order to discuss transhumanist topics, as well as issues raised at the Summit. During the breaks we intended to show relevant video clips to expand viewers' undersanding of transhumanist vision.

Such a novel experiment with Internet transmission was of immense interest to us. I am not aware of any other examples of such MTV-like (or Eurosport-like) conference rebroadcast. This made the project even more important – we were breaking new ground in the field of scientific communications.

2. The Initial Situation

The only thing we had in early June was the concept and potentially a skilled interpreter. But we knew we can rely on the assistance of RTM volunteers, as well as our well-stocked media library comprising a wide range of relevant H+ video clips. The Rostock Group sponsorship was also of great help to us. We were aware that out Internet channel is not fast enough, so we planned to rent another channel for the days of the Summit. We also had some cameras and other equipment.

However, we faced some limitations. First of all, we were short of time to prepare for the Summit. Though we had cherished this idea for a long time, the final decision was made only on Thursday, June 10. Up until that moment, there was a possibility that Danila Medvedev will fly to the Summit and without him we would not be able to organize this. On Thursday we carried out preliminary negotiations with the Internet channel “Kremlin-TV” regarding them handling the broadcast.

We lacked experience in organization of such teleconferences, moreover, we did not know what the signal quality from the Harvard Summit would be like. We planned to start transmission at 15.00 on Saturday (Moscow time), an hour and a half before the Summit opening, in order to introduce transhumanism to our viewers, tell them about the history of H+ Summits and give an overview of the talks and presenters.

Suddenly we had just two days at our disposal to set up the event. We started intense preparations work while waiting for the response from Kremlin-TV. On Friday morning we finally got a message from them with an overwhelming budget and a friendly warning that the company was too short of time to provide a high-quality transmission and there is a high possibility of blunders.

Faced with this situation we had only one choice. To organize the event in any case and start preparing it – calling other companies, searching for specialists, preparing the script, setting up equipment, preparing the studio and looking for interesting gadgets and video clips to show during the breaks between the talks. Ultimately we managed to finish everything just in time for the Summit start.

3. The Results

3.1. Successes

  • We succeeded in holding this event and transmitting the Summit. I should remind you that company we first asked to organise the transmission, stated that there was a hight chance of failure. On the Summit first day, we succeeded in translating all the interesting reports, with the exception of the last one by Ben Goertzel (that's when the audio problems started).
  • During the two days the total number of unique viewers exceeded 800 (which exceeded the number of people physically present at the Summit). 40-60 people were watching our transmission at any given moment.
  • Thanks to the efforts of our PR-team, the event was well covered in mass media: on The Summit of Transhumanism Supporters will be held at Harvard), some materials were published in the F5 newspaper, while the Internet newspaper «» posted an article with a striking title Hackers Can Make Man Immortal. There were some other publications: on ,, hitech planet and kde blog.
  • We got invaluable experience and some technical expertise in organising such broadcasts. We can build and improve upon it. We opened a uStream channel (, created studio design, mastered the setup of cameras, sound, control boards, Internet transmission, video and internet capture and simultaneous translation.
  • We learned a number of unexpected lessons. First of all, we understood the importance of preliminary work with event organisers to ensure high-quality audio transmission. Without that we risk the situation that happened on the second day may repeat. When the audio transmitted from the USA was bad, we could not carry out a decent simultaneous translation. We tried to contact some of the people at the Summit but unfortunately they were polite enough to actually switch off their cell phones during the talks as instructed. We also learned that very few people (even professional interpreters!) can successfully do live simultaneous translation of such talks due both to unknown jargon and less than stellar audio.
  • We learned how to host a talk show at the studio, which is one of the most popular formats on TV. We succeeded in providing interesting conversations and cool video clips to fill the pauses in Summit transmission, coffee breaks, adjournments and delays.
  • We have strengthened the transhumanist community by inviting interesting guests: Аlexander Nikonov, Valery Chumakov, Igor Nezovibatko and others.

We were pleased to hear the organisers recognize our efforts at the Summit.

3.2 Shortcomings

  • We did not start transmission on time as we promised, yet we still managed to began at the moment of the opening. Not surprisingly we had barely enough time to set up the equipment.
  • We were not able to solve the problem of low-quality sound at our studio during the first day.
  • We did not have the chance to invite a professional TV host – unfortunately they all left Moscow for the weekend.
  • Not enough guests came to the studio.

3.3 Lessons for the Future

  • We should record and immediately post online individual talks. The ustream statistics shows that the number of page views for our recordings is comparable with the size of the live audience.
  • We should train more translators in our community (understanding the terms and topics are of extreme importance).
  • If possible, we should start preparing the event 1-2 weeks in advance and have at least a day and a half to test the system. If the event is longer, like the transmission of the Singularity University lectures we hope to organize in autumn, we should start preparing a month ot two earlier.
  • It is important to ensure the possibility of demonstrating presentations from downloaded files, not from the video stream, as the latter may be in low resolution.
  • It would be wise to have a relevant long lecture or video in case of a prolonged transmission failure.

4. Acknowledgements

We would like to give special thanks to the Rostock Group and personally to Alexander Chikunov who provided financial and moral support to the H+ Summit rebroadcast. Their actions are in full accordance with their wonderful motto: “Making world better!” .

We cordially thank everyone who worked at the Summit transmission and participated in it, as well as the invited guests (sorry if I have forgotten anybody):

Valerija Pride

Danila Medvedev

Stanislav Lipin

Alexei Sazhin

Alta Kaler

Yuri Vasiltzov

Victor Zykov

Pavel Ilyin

Mikhail Malyshev

Mikhail Kryzhanovsky

Nikolai Kouznetzov

Darya Khalturina

Helena Kouznetzova

Andrei Marchenya

Igor Nezovibatko

Alexander Nikonov

Mikhail Sychev

Oleg Tikhonov

Alexei Turchin

Valery Chumakov


Matvei Yezhov

We also express our gratitude to the H+ Summit organizers and participants – Alex Lightman, David Orban and others. We are grateful to everybody who watched and helped but whom we have not mentioned. We are also indebted to the mass media for their support of our initiative.

Next time we shall organize a transhumanist event even better!


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