Up Next… Neo-Humanity?

Check out Russia 2045

Could we reach an age of cibernetic immortality? It’s a controversial question (to say the least) however, Dmitry Itskov is now making it loud and clear that he thinks the answer is yes and the Russian media tycoon doesn’t stand alone in his opinion. By founding the Russia 2045 movement in 2011, Itskov is now supported by a team of over 30 experts including some of Russia’s leading astronauts, physicians, mathematicians, neuroscientists and engineers (oh, and he’s also recieved the thumbs up from Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama).

So what does this ambitious initiative entail exactly? The end goal is primarily to create the ultimate avatar by 2045. The project is divided into 5 and 10 year periods, that aim to deliver an increasingly sophisticated avatar: Avatar A is embodied as a robotic copy of a human that can be remotely controlled via Brain Computer Interface; Avatar B is planned to possess a human brain that is transplanted to the avatar at the end of a person’s life. Avatar C promises to hold an artificial brain capable taking on the memories and personality of a person at the end of their life and finally, Avatar D plans to go a step further by making the avatar hologram-like.

What’s the motive for this movement? According to Itskov, modern civilization can’t save us from the limitations of our physical bodies, or from diseases or from death. He maintains that humanity currently follows no road map and we’ve reached a point where our consumer societies are eating up the resources that are much needed to produce true technological breakthroughs. In his eyes, humanity is essentially stuck in a rat race trying to keep up the status quo… hence the need for a new mankind!

Avantgarde as all this may sound, the US’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently dished out 7 million dollars of their 2013 budget to a project named ¨Avatar¨. Similar to Russia 2045′s vision of Avatar A, this avatar would be built for military purposes, allowing soldiers to operate it via Brain Computer Interface. Itskov’s plan is to develop this kind of technology outside of the military realm, expecting to advance research across diverse  fields such as: medicine, neuroscience, cognitive sciences, nanotechnology, robotics and many others along the way.

It’s safe to say that both these projects aim to push the boundaries, however that is what science must consistently do. While we still have time to ponder over where we might stand on the issue of eternal life, Ray Kurzweil will remind us that technology continues to progress at an exponential rate. ¨They say war is too important to leave to the generals and technology is too important to just leave to the technologists… society needs to put a high priority on understanding where we’re heading.¨ Watch the video below to hear more of what Kurzweil has to say.

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