Immortality sounds nice, to some. But only if you're on Forbes' World Billionaire list. Now, the rich can embark on a way to stay rich and become richer.
Entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov and a team of Russia's leading scientists want to make humans immortal. They call it the 2045 initiative, and they want to create a fully functional holographic human avatar that comes with an artificial brain that's got all your thoughts, passions, fears, opinions, emotions and memories in it. All of that, transferred into that avatar by 2045.
Itskov and his colleagues are completely serious. Completely serious. And they need lots of money to do it.
"Honorable businessmen and businesswomen, members of the Forbes richest list: human life is unique and priceless," writes Itskov in an open letter to the world's 1,226 wealthiest citizens. "It is only when we have to part with life do we realize just how much we have not done, that we have not had enough time to do what we really wanted or to address something we've done wrong." He continues:
I urge you to take note of the vital importance of funding scientific development in the field of cybernetic immortality and the artificial body. 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.
Contributing to cutting-edge innovations in the fields of neuroscience, nanotechnology and android robotics is more than building a brighter future for human civilization, but also a wise and profitable business strategy that will create a new and vibrant industry of immortality - limitless in its importance and scale. This kind of investment will change every aspect of business as we know it: the pharmaceutical industries, transportation, medicine, energy generation, construction techniques, to cite a few.
It might sound just about clinically insane crazy, but if there's one thing that's possible, its the ability of the human imagination to come close if not achieve whatever Iskov plans to do.
Ray Kurzweil, for one, is convinced. Can Itskov get the money he needs to deliver on his goals? Fundraising results aside, the 2045 Initiative has a very, very long road ahead of it; the world's most advanced brain-machine interfaces are, after all, still incredibly rudimentary.