It was reported last year that an Australian startup company wanted to help people transfer their consciousness into artificial bodies so they might live forever. Most of Humai’s ambitions relied on scientific breakthroughs being made in the near future, but now a Russian billionaire is using his fortune to help make this dream a reality.
35-year-old Dmitry Itskov, the man behind Moscow-based media company New Media Stars, founded the ‘2045 Initiative’ in 2011. Its ultimate goal is to create technology that can transfer an individual's personality to a “more advanced, non-biological carrier.”
"Within the next 30 years, I am going to make sure that we can all live forever," Itskov said in recent BBC documentary ‘The Immortalist.’ "I'm 100% confident it will happen. Otherwise, I wouldn't have started it.”
The first part of the project is to create a robotic version of a human body that can be controlled by the brain, and is scheduled to be completed by 2020. This machine could be used to perform dangerous tasks without placing the remote operators in danger.
The final stage of the plan, the transfer of human consciousness into a holographic or robotic avatar, will hopefully take place in 2045 - as indicated by the initiative’s name. Itskov has reportedly already poured $1.43 billion into the project, which shows how much faith he has in the initiative.
Itskov’s team is made up of Russian specialists from the fields of neural interfaces, robotics, neuroscience, and artificial organs. They believe that as the brain functions in a similar way to a computer - sensory data inputs turned into behavioral outputs through computations - the process could be mapped and copied to an actual computer.
The scientists are said to be keeping a close eye on an ongoing project at the California Institute of Technology, which involves using computers so Erik G. Sorto, a quadriplegic, can move a robotic limb using only his thoughts.
Should Itskov eventually realize his ambition, he wants the technology to be available to everyone, not just those who can afford it.
“If there is no immortality technology, I’ll be dead in the next 35 years,” he said. “I want all of this to be available to every person, including myself. And to a lesser degree, I am motivated by the fear of death and the wish to postpone [that] moment,”
If we really do get to the stage where technology allows us to live forever in robot form, it will be interesting to see just how many people choose immortality.