A Russian media magnate says he can bring the movie Avatar to life, and by the the year 2045 you’ll be able to live forever by transplanting your brain into a lifelike robot — except you’ll have to be a billionaire to qualify.
At least for now.
Baby-faced mogul Dmitry Itskov is only 32, but he’s already made his millions and now he’s thinking ahead, plowing millions into his “radical life extension” project, the 2045 initiative.
The goal of the initiative, which Itskov (pictured, with prototype robot) started two years ago, is “to create technologies enabling the transfer of an individual’s personality to a more advanced non-biological carrier, and extending life, including to the point of immortality.”
That’s what it says on its web site. The “2045” of the name represents the year when Itskov believes this amazing innovation will actually become a possibility.
“This project is leading down the road to immortality,” he told a reporter. “Nobody wants to die.”
A number of things have to happen before we get to 2045. First, completely understand the human brain. That in itself is no small task. But the emerging science known as neurotech aims to do just that and is receiving backing from the U.S. and European governments.
The U.S. government has poured $110 million into the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, unveiled by President Barack Obama in April. The European Union has injected $1.3 billion into its own Human Brain Project. So the race to map the entire neural network is underway.
The next step into Itskov’s 2045 project is to build robots that can be controlled by the human mind. The final step is to build robots that can support a transplanted human brain — allowing your brain to live on even when the rest of your body dies.
Itskov recently sent a letter to a list of the world’s richest people, offering the opportunity of a lifetime — a potentially very long lifetime.
“I urge you to take note of the vital importance of funding scientific development in the field of cybernetic immortality and the artificial body,” Itskov wrote. “Such research has the potential to free you, as well as the majority of all people on our planet, from disease, old age and even death.”
But though these billionaires could presumably afford to buy their own avatars, Itskov is willing to do them one better.
“I will also be willing to coordinate your personal immortality project entirely free of charge,” Itskov wrote. “For the sake of speeding up the development of these technologies.”
Yes, it is indeed good to be rich.