The 2045 Project: Cyborg Avatars Uploaded With Human Consciousness

milestones_small_enWhen you’re a tech multi-millionaire, this is the kind of project you come up with, at least in the case of 32-year-old Russian Dmitry Itskov. David Segal reports for the New York Times:

Get right up close to Dmitry Itskov and sniff all you like — you will not pick up even the faintest hint of crazy. He is soft-spoken and a bit shy, but expansive once he gets talking, and endearingly mild-mannered. He never seems ruffled, no matter what question you ask. Even if you ask the obvious one, which he has encountered more than a few times since 2011, when he started “this project,” as he sometimes calls it.

Namely: Are you insane?

“I hear that often,” he said with a smile, over lunch one recent afternoon in Manhattan. “There are quotes from people like Arthur C. Clarke and Gandhi saying that when people come up with new ideas they’re called ‘nuts.’ Then everybody starts believing in the idea and nobody can remember a time when it seemed strange.”

It is hard to imagine a day when the ideas championed by Mr. Itskov, 32, a Russian multimillionaire and former online media magnate, will not seem strange, or at least far-fetched and unfeasible. His project, called the 2045 Initiative, for the year he hopes it is completed, envisions the mass production of lifelike, low-cost avatars that can be uploaded with the contents of a human brain, complete with all the particulars of consciousness and personality.

What Mr. Itskov is striving for makes wearable computers, like Google Glass, seem as about as futuristic as Lincoln Logs. This would be a digital copy of your mind in a nonbiological carrier, a version of a fully sentient person that could live for hundreds or thousands of years. Or longer. Mr. Itskov unabashedly drops the word “immortality” into conversation.

Yes, we have seen this movie and, yes, it always leads to evil robots enslaving humanity, the Earth reduced to smoldering ruins. And it’s quite possible that Mr. Itskov’s plans, in the fullness of time, will prove to be nothing more than sci-fi bunk.

But he has the attention, and in some cases the avid support, of august figures at Harvard, M.I.T. and Berkeley and leaders in fields like molecular genetics, neuroprosthetics and other realms that you’ve probably never heard of…

[continues in the New York Times]


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15 Comments on "The 2045 Project: Cyborg Avatars Uploaded With Human Consciousness"

  1. Simon Valentine | Jun 3, 2013 at 10:01 pm |

    bunk huh


    only a few roadblocks
    one being time
    but hey
    22 years from now i’ll be 48
    just about time to buy one, yeah?

    mr. itskov
    good twin
    make me a thousand if services i provide are well enough in return
    and we’ll fly in thousands to the next place
    and start some humans over there
    you know
    be their gods or something, like it usually goes up

  2. Without death there wouldn’t be sex.

  3. Solaris comes to mind. If this ever comes to fruition, count me out. I’d rather pass then go on living as a thing.

  4. Anarchy Pony | Jun 3, 2013 at 11:40 pm |

    For who?

  5. Noah_Nine | Jun 4, 2013 at 12:56 am |

    I’d do it…

  6. BuzzCoastin | Jun 4, 2013 at 1:25 am |

    > envisions the mass production of lifelike, low-cost avatars that can be uploaded
    with the contents of a human brain,
    complete with all the particulars of consciousness and personality

    ah, skuzz me butt
    that’s been done already
    every-time you open your browser or answer your telephone
    (which is now both, brought to by your friendly gov-telecom)
    maybe he wants to create a Replicant that can be uploaded
    but do Androids dream electric dreams?
    ask Google Play

    what’s the name of his co?
    The Tyrell Corporation?

  7. Adamas Macalz | Jun 4, 2013 at 8:15 am |

    I wonder if you would eventually be able to upload yourself from a cybernetic body into a new meat suit?

  8. From a philosophical stand point wouldn’t putting your consciousness into a andriod or robot be like killing yourself? At the moment your consciousness is transferred wouldn’t that be death? Who’s to say that’s really you in that robot and just not some copy just like if you were to invent a teleporter; the moment you step in you would just die and a copy of you would be made on the other side. This worries me that men like this think they’ll be able to live forever when in fact they’ll just be killing themselves every time they transfer their consciousness.

    • broken_vacuum | Jun 4, 2013 at 1:17 pm |

      Well being that you right now are a hologram your brain creates out of the waves in the universe I’d tend to disagree. The body is nothing more than a radio receiver, all you’d be doing is upgrading your stereo system. There is no conscious death. The universe was created by conscious beings figuring out how to do just this. The big bang was the moment in time that they did it. We’re, from what this guy hopes, a mere 40 years or so from creating a new universe that will join all the infinite universes already here.

    • Monkey See Monkey Do | Jun 4, 2013 at 3:43 pm |

      Copying the consciousness signal to the artificial brain wont necessarily destroy the original but the consciousness may start evolving independently of each other.

      • As far as I know, consciousness is neither just a signal nor just a series of 1s and 0s.

  9. Bruteloop | Jun 5, 2013 at 12:29 am |

    I caught a reasonable film called ‘Surrogates’ that touches on aspects of this in a social sense.Bruce Willis is in it. Though it presupposes remote avatar control rather than consciousness upload. However it is clear that, in the future, there will remain no clear solution to bad wigs for Willis.

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