Web entrepreneur plots immortality: Do you want to live forever?

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Money can buy you immortality, according to the Russian internet multi-millionaire who is ploughing a fortune into a project to create a human that never dies.

Web entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov is behind the “2045 Initiative”, an ambitious experiment to bring about immortality within the next 30 years.

Dmitry Itskov wants to live forever. The 32-year-old Russian billionaire and media mogul thinks he can do this by building himself (and everyone) an android body by the year 2045.

There are a few flaws to Itskov’s idea, but that hasn’t stopped more than 20,000 people from publicly supporting the site outlining his plan of using android bodies for immortality. Dubbed the 2045 Initiative, Itskov is selling his idea as the “next step” in human evolution, or “neo-humanity,” as he refers to it.

It doesn’t stop with android bodies, either. The 2045 folks are also calling for a new religion and set of ethics because they don’t believe any of the current ones can handle the societal implications of living forever—as most of the current ones have you dying first in order to achieve immortality.

“I am going to make sure that we can all live forever,” Dmitry Itskov said. “I’m 100 percent confident it will happen. Otherwise I wouldn’t have started it,” he added. We believe that it is possible and necessary to eliminate aging and even death, and to overcome the fundamental limits of the physical and mental capabilities currently set by the restrictions of the physical body.

The 2045 Strategic Social Initiative, founded by Itskov in February 2011, involves the input of leading scientists in the field of robotics, artificial organs, artificial systems and neural interfaces in Russia. It aims to develop a technology that will allow the transfer of an individual’s personality to a more advanced non-biological body that can live for years and toward immortality.

They will recruit experts and researchers in the field of anthropomorphic robotics through building an international research center. With the help of scientists, death may soon be just a thing of the past.

The new human being will receive a huge range of abilities and will be capable of withstanding extreme external conditions easily: high temperatures, pressure, radiation, lack of oxygen, etc. ‘Using a neural-interface humans will be able to operate several bodies of various forms and sizes remotely.’The project is also addressing the moral issues of living forever.

‘We suggest the implementation of not just a mechanistic project to create an artificial body, but a whole system of views, values and technology which will render assistance to humankind in intellectual, moral, physical, mental and spiritual development.’

“The main goals of the 2045 Initiative: the creation and realization of a new strategy for the development of humanity which meets global civilization challenges; the creation of optimale conditions promoting the spiritual enlightenment of humanity; and the realization of a new futuristic reality based on 5 principles: high spirituality, high culture, high ethics, high science and high technologies.

His future, that “new period of controlled evolution,” goes something like this:

By 2020, Initiative 2045 aims to make this avatar technology widely available and mainstream—never mind that’s seven years from now and a working prototype doesn’t exist yet.

By 2025, Itskov expects an “autonomous life-support system for the human brain linked to a robot.” In other words, they’ll have the tech for implanting the human brain into the robot. By 2035, a human should be able to upload their brain into a robot, and by 2045 our bodies will be replaced with holograms. When this happens, Itskov says we will become “a new species.” Besides creating the technology needed for this kind of evolution, Initiative 2045 has a variety of “key” future projects beyond trying to start an “international social movement.” Along with a social network called immortal.me, Itskov lists the projects he wants to start: a charity foundation called Global Future 2045, the “scientific research centre ‘Immortality,’” “a business incubator” with no further elaboration, a “University of ‘Immortality,’” and an “annual award for contribution to the realization of the project of ‘Immortality.’”

To help realize these goals is the Global Future Congress, which held its first meeting in Moscow last year. The congress will meet again in New York City this June, where it promises to unveil the most human-like robot the World has ever seen.

Conspicuously absent among all of Itskov’s writings, as well as among all the scientists, philosophers and spiritual leaders speaking at this year’s conference, are experts on cyber security and the Internet philosopher-types who love pontificating on the effects of connecting the brain to the Internet.

Itskov is funding the project that can unlock the secrets of the human brain and free the body from biological limitations such as illness and disabilities.

“If there is no immortality technology, I’ll be dead in the next 35 years,” Itskov said. At the moment, death will eventually come to everyone because the body is designed to live for just a couple of decades. The cells in the body lose the ability to repair themselves. This leads to a lot of diseases including cardiovascular diseases and other age-related conditions.

In the initiative’s 2015 to 2020 future prospects, they plan to create inexpensive android “avatars” which are controlled by a brain computer. This will enable people to travel in extreme situations, perform rescue operations and work in dangerous environments. This technology can be used by people suffering from disabilities, helping them recover from loss of senses.

His journey toward immortality will be featured in BBC’s Horizon documentary, The Immortalist. Though his goal is a bit ambitious, there are other companies who share the same vision. Humai, an Australian startup, wants humans to live forever too.

It’s certainly an ambitious goal, and there’s debate in the scientific community over whether the intricacies of the human brain can even be replicated in a machine at all. What’s more, many of the Initiative’s ambitions rest on discoveries that humanity is not yet close to making.

However, he’s already started planning for his digital immortality – he told Tristan Quinn that he sees himself having multiple bodies in different forms, living on Earth and in space while his conciousness moves between them.

Itskov is pouring his fortune into the initiative, but only time will tell whether he succeeds in his goals or not.