Russian billionaire initiative to create hybrid replicas of humans in order to obtain immortality

// May 13th, 2013 // The Future

2045 Initiative roadmap

In 2012, Russian Billionaire Dmitry Itskov announced the founding of the 2045 Initiative which he explained is a way to extend the human life by replacing human beings with replicas. Partnering with Itskov in the project are many Russian specialists that are leading experts in the fields of anthropomorphic robotics, living systems modeling and brain and consciousness modeling all with the goal of transferring one’s individual consciousness to an artificial carrier and achieving cybernetic immortality.  The 2045 Initiative begins in earnest in 2015 and is scheduled to achieve all of its goals by the year 2045.

Itskov’s ultimate goal is to create “non-biological carriers” in which to transfer a human’s personality and consciousness, in order to overcome existing threats to the environment and human species. The first state of the project is slated to begin in earnest in 2015 and plans to be completed by the year 2020. At that time, affordable android “avatars” controlled by a brain-computer interface should be available for use by the general population.

During the second stage of the project, to take place during a five year period between the years 2020 and 2025, they hope to have created an autonomous life-support system (using “hybrid bio-electronic devices) for a human brain link to a robotic entity which will allow them to save persons whose bodies are completely worn out or irreversibly damaged.

During the period of 2030 through 2035, the third stage of the 2045 Initiative project, they plan to have completed a model of the brain and human consciousness along with the means to transfer that consciousness onto an artificial carrier. At this point, “cybernetic immortality” will be possible.  In addition to immortality, humans will be allowed to expand their god-given human capabilities and “restore or modify their own brain multiple times”.

Itskov explained that at the conclusion of the project, in the year 2045, “substance-independent minds will receive new bodies with capacities far exceeding those of ordinary humans. A new era for humanity will arrive!”

The projects organizers explained that providing extended life and immortality will not be the only beneficial result of their project.  In addition to immortality, avatars will allow humans to work safer in dangerous environments or perform rescue missions without risk of injury to their human bodies.

Itskov summaries the project as thus:

“By the year 2045, substance-independent minds will receive new bodies with capacities far exceeding those of ordinary humans. A new era for humanity will arrive. Neo-humanity will change the bodily nature of the human being, and make them immortal, free, playful, independent of limitations of space and time. These transformations will not restrict the individuality and freedom of each separate person, but on the contrary will ensure maximum creative development and reveal their unlimited potential”

As for the impact of the project on humanity’s long-held religious beliefs, Itskov intends to include the world’s major spiritual traditions and religions in the project and has publicly stated that wishes to keep an open dialog with those entities.

As of 2013, 20,000 people have signed up in support of the 2045 Initiative.

Below is a complete list of Russian scientists (and their tasks) working on the 2045 Initiative.

I. Creating the structural elements of the body involves:

1. Creation of a body and its power components — an arm, a hand, a bipod that includes the robot’s legs, and a model head with facial features.

Vladimir A. Konyshev, President of Neurobotics.
Development of animatronic head with the elements of communicative and emotional behavior.

Mikhail Y. Yablokov, Ph.D. in Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Senior Researcher at the Heat-Resistant Thermoplastics Laboratory at ISPM (Russian Academy of Sciences).
Creation of electro-active polymeric structures for the “artificial muscles” using thin film technologies.

Professor Alexander A. Frolov, PhD. in Biology, Chief of the Mathematical Neurobiology Learning Lab at the Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology (Russian Academy of Sciences).
Creation of a humanoid robot and a neural network controller that ensures the sustainable management of robot’s movements through both direct communication and feedback.

Vladimir A. Konyshev, Head of Neurobotics, Robotics Research and Training Center at the Bauman Moscow State Technical University.
Creation of an anthropomorphic leg.

Mikhail Y. Eingorin, Head of the Computer Problems Laboratory, Head of the Department (1964 -1990) and Assistant Professor at Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod, President of SKIT R&D and Pilot Design Company.
Development of digital linear and circular engines to provide the motor capacities of the robot.

2. Creation of a sensory system (sensory organs): Sight, hearing, organs of chemoreception (smell and taste), artificial skin (capable of discerning texture and temperature). In the long term we expect to empower the robot with sensitivity to IR, UV, and magnetic fields, extending the sensory capabilities of a human operator.

Professor Vladimir G. Yakhno, Ph.D. in Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Head of the Auto-wave Processes Group, Laboratory Chief at the Institute of Applied Physics (Russian Academy of Sciences).
Creation of a system to rapidly analyse liquid multi-component products, corresponding to a given standard.

Mikhail Y. Yablokov, Ph.D. in Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Senior Researcher of the Heat-Resistant Thermoplastics Laboratory at ISPM (Russian Academy of Sciences).
Creation of a multi-sensory analyzer of olfactory data – an “electronic nose”.

3. Development of the robot’s power supply.

 

II. Development of autonomous behavior includes the following projects:

1. System of internal coordination: The system of maintaining equilibrium at rest and in motion, and a system to track objects in the external world.

Professor Alexander A. Frolov, PhD. in Biology, Chief of the Mathematical Neurobiology Learning Lab at the Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology (Russian Academy of Sciences).
Creation of a humanoid robot and a neural network controller that ensures sustainable management of the robot’s movements through both direct communication and feedback.

Valery D. Zuckerman, Applied Research deputy director at the Neurocybernetics Research Institute of South Federal University, Head of the Laboratory of self-organizing brain networks.
Creation of adaptive self-adjusting body control systems.

Professor Vladimir G. Yakhno, Ph.D., Head of the Auto-wave Processes Group, Laboratory Chief at the Institute of Applied Physics (Russian Academy of Sciences).
Creation of a system to analyse images from the set of sensors and select the objects of the specified class, matching their description in the operator’s language. Oriented for “parsing debris”.

2. Systems to harmonizing with the external environment: The system to mimic patterns and recognize of sensory images and the system to construct individual purposeful movements guided by and adapted to the synthesized model of the environment.

Vladimir A. Konyshev, Head of Neurobotics.
Development of an animatronic head with elements of communicative and emotional behavior.

Professor Alexander A. Frolov, PhD. in Biology, Chief of the Mathematical Neurobiology Learning Lab at the Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology (Russian Academy of Sciences).
Creation of a humanoid robot and a neural network controller that ensures the sustainable management of robot’s movements through both direct communication and feedback.

Professor Vladimir G. Yakhno, Ph.D., Head of the Auto-wave Processes Group, Laboratory Chief at the Institute of Applied Physics (Russian Academy of Sciences).
Creation of a system to analyse images from the set of sensors and select the objects of the specified class, matching their description in the operator’s language. Oriented for “parsing debris”.

3. The system of purposeful autonomous behavior (including a system to simulate emotional behavior), implemented in a fully autonomous mode to meet general goals set by a human operator.

Professor Vladimir G. Yakhno Ph.D., Head of the Auto-wave Processes Group, Laboratory Chief at the Institute of Applied Physics (Russian Academy of Sciences).
The system to analyse images from the set of sensors and select the objects of the specified class, matching their description in the operator’s language. Oriented for “parsing debris”.

Lev A. Stankevich, Ph.D. in Engineering, Professor of Department of System Analysis.
Technical proposal for the development of artificial neural systems of a humanoid robot (avatar).

 

III. Development of external control system via BCI:

1. Control system via BCI, based on recognition of EEG indices that correspond to movements, detected from motor cortex.

Vladimir A. Konyshev, Head of Neurobotics.
Development of an animatronic head with elements of communicative and emotional behavior.

2. Control system via BCI with biofeedback training.

Professor Alexander Y. Kaplan, Ph.D. in Biology, Head of the Neurophysiology and Neural Interfaces Lab at the Russian State University Biology Department (MSU).
Theoretical and experimental development of prototyping solutions controlled by EEG manipulators and robotic devices.

3. System to provide the operator with sensory data from the robot.

Professor Alexander Y. Kaplan, Ph.D. in Biology, Head of the Neurophysiology and Neural Interfaces Lab at the Russian State University Biology Department (MSU).
Theoretical and experimental development of prototyping solutions controlled by EEG manipulators and robotic devices.

Here is the FAQ from the 2045.com website:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE 2045 INITIATIVE

What is the 2045 Initiative?

The 2045 Initiative is a nonprofit organization with the goal of creating a network community with the world’s leading scientists in the field of life extension by means of the cybernetic technologies and to support them as an investment hub, contributing to various projects.

This initiative produces an annual congress – “Global Future 2045”. The first took place February 17-20 in Moscow, and the next will be held in New York, June 2013.

Who’s the founder of 2045?

Dmitry Itskov founded the initiative in 2011 as a global network of scientists global pursuing the goal of cybernetic immortality.

What are the main phases of the Avatar Project?

Among the featured life-extension projects, the first is to create a humanoid robot dubbed “Avatar”, and a state-of-the-art brain-computer interface system. The next phase consists of creating a life support system for the human brain and connect it to the “Avatar”. The final phase of this project is to create an artificial brain in which to transfer the original individual consciousness into.

There is a fourth step that we hope to attain, but is not part of our main goals right now. This fourth step is to create a hologram body, or a body of light.

What makes you think technology will develop fast enough to enable the type of advancement you envision by 2045?

The development of technology in the modern world is happening exponentially. Everyone knows about Moore’s Law, whereby the power of computers doubles every eighteen months. In addition, in the conference «Future Talks», held in October 2010 in Vienna, futurologist Ray Kurzweil, known for his accurate predictions of technological developments, suggested that by the mid-2040’s all the organs of the human body could be replaced by artificial ones, whose characteristics will be superior to their biological counterparts by all measures.

Similarly, other scientists believe that the middle of this century will be the point of singularity. For example, Alexander Panov in Russia and Australian Graeme Snooks independently found that the qualitative transitions in the history of our civilization take place in the accelerated mode, and at about 2045, humanity must enter a certain mode of  evolutionary singularity, beyond which it becomes difficult to make predictions. In short, many exciting developments await us in the middle of this century, and all of them, inevitably, will be linked to the developments of new technology.

In this century alone we’ve witnessed a lot of technological shifts  and there is no reason to believe that our goal is unattainable if you look at the accelerating technological progress.

What is the best implementation of this type of technology (artificial intelligence) today in both consumer (Siri, for instance) and professional applications?

Our intelligence – is the “software”.  By developing their consciousness, their minds, people in some sense will update their  “software.”  Various software packages of artificial intelligence will become part of avatar technologies.

In practice, these technologies will be needed in almost all spheres of human life. And very soon, artificial bodies remote controlled  by people at a distance would extinguish the fires,  deal with  accidents in conditions dangerous to human life and health, will be used by police officers, representatives of intelligence agencies and security forces as well as peacekeepers. People will no longer have to risk their lives. At the same time  they will gain physical strength, endurance, speed far exceeding  our current biological human body. People will  more effectively explore  our planet’s natural resources, study the seas and oceans, permafrost areas  and  Earth’s polar regions. The very concept of “disability” will disappear: thanks to new technologies, people with disabilities will receive new abilities through avatars and telepresence. They will become  fully active members of society, capable of all kinds of work.

When the technologies of individual consciousness transfer to a non-biological carrier are fully developed, people will really be able to get rid of all the limitations of the physical body, become virtually immortal, and human civilization will finally be able to explore  the Universe.

What are the potential implications–both positive and negative–of the avatars you plan to create? What should someone expect as far as the capabilities of an avatar implanted with a human brain?

The transplantation of the human brain into an artificial body is the final stage of the “Avatar B” project.  The first stage involves the creation of an autonomous life support system for the human brain as well as its connection with the robot –  a copy of the person (an avatar). The second possible stage is the transfer of a biological head onto an artificial body. The basis for such experiments was laid by the Soviet scientist Vladimir Demikhov, the founder of organ transplantation surgery, when he was conducting experiments on the transplantation of a second head to a dog.

As for the transfer of the human brain into an artificial body, the benefits of such technology have already been described in science fiction.  For example, in Arthur C. Clarke’s short story, “A Meeting with Medusa” the brain of the protagonist, mortally wounded in the airship crash is transplanted into an artificial body. Thanks to this procedure the protagonist becomes capable of space travel, which would be impossible in a biological body.

At the same time, in the long term the transplantation of the human brain into an artificial body is an intermediate stage in the development of avatar technology. We hope it will prolong the life of the people whose biological body is worn out or endangered by life-threatening illnesses or injuries. Such technology will allow scientists to buy time until technology is developed to the point when it becomes possible to transfer an individual’s consciousness to a fully non-biological carrier.

Besides, even at this intermediate stage, avatar technologies can be used by people with physical, sensory or other functional limitations and disabilities. Currently, there are over a billion people in the world who have some form of disability. This is about 15 percent of the planet’s population.

With the help of avatar technologies paralyzed people will once again be able to feel the joy of movement. Those who have no vision, hearing or sense of smell will be able to utilize their senses.  With the help of avatar technology people with disabilities will be able to regain full lives!

On the whole, the positive effects of creating and implementing artificial non-biological carriers (avatars) for our minds are obvious. We are talking about the creation of additional physical capacity compared to that of the human body, a complete victory over aging, disease and death. Avatar technology will make people more free to pursue unlimited opportunities for creativity, knowledge, self-development and will eventually lead to the next evolutionary step of human evolution. This evolution will not be just of the body but of the mind as well.

As for the negative consequences of the introduction of our technology – they will be minimal. The potential problems we can foresee, relate solely to the current level of human evolution and socio-economic and political organization of our societies, the current ways of thinking and the level of public discourse. Thanks to the profound changes in human evolution that will occur under the influence of avatar-based technologies, the negative effects of such technologies will simply disappear.

How do you expect the existence of avatars to impact social interaction?

The creation of avatars will change everything in our societies: politics, economics, medicine, health-care, food industry, construction methods, transportation, trade, banking, etc. The whole architecture of society will be transformed, there will be an increase in its self-organization, people will unite to fight the biggest and universal concerns of humankind – that of death.

Technologies have always evolved as extensions of the human body and have given it extra capabilities.  For example, the phone, the computer and the automobile. Over time, many current technological devices, which operate outside the human body, will be integrated into the new body. Everything will focus to a single technological chain with the aim of creating and perfecting an artificial human body.

Consequentially, a new industry focused on the production of carriers will emerge.

Do you believe you have particular ethical responsibilities when creating systems that will equal or surpass human “intelligence”? If so, what particular ethical dilemmas does it pose?

Our main task is not the creation of artificial intelligence but the transfer of individual consciousness to an alternative non-biological carrier. Of course, some elements of artificial intelligence will be present in the avatars, however, they will only have an auxiliary function. Our goal is not to create an imitation of a person by means of artificial intelligence.  Our goal is to be able to move the individual  “I”, of an individual human consciousness into a new individual non-biotic body, thus saving people from suffering and death. We do not want to create robots that resemble humans, we want to help the living persons.

It is simply impossible to accurately predict all the consequences of implementing such technologies. In addition, experience tells us that the ethics of using new technologies usually occur alongside the process of their implementation. No one created the highway code before the car became a mass mode of transport. The codes of behavior and interaction in the Internet has not yet been fully formed despite the fact that the Net is now several decades old.

New technologies have always changed the world, and the world has changed according to the new rules of the game. New ethos and culture are constantly being  created. This is an ongoing process, it is constantly evolving even in relation to the technologies that have been around for a long time.

Today, it is impossible to imagine what will happen with the widespread  introduction of avatars. Therefore, with time, we see the need  to create an ethical council with the task to develop a list of  laws and guidelines that will form the basis for an ethical code for avatar technologies in the future.

One of the main dilemmas facing humanity, a dilemma that poses many ethical problems, is the choice between personal and public benefit.  Nowadays, the basis for personal benefit is thought of in relation to the vast amount of consumer goods sold and bought annually. With the emergence of avatar-based technologies, the avatar as a new medium for human consciousness will be the new most important value. It will incorporate  all the consumer variety, which is very important for most people. As a result, the pursuit of current consumerism will lose meaning. Instead, people will unite to address their significant social problems, with the bigger aim to further human evolution.

What is your view of the current stage of scientific advancement in the world? Is there enough innovation and focus on “next-generation” technologies like the avatars you propose?

Modern science has become a victim of consumer culture mainly focused on  providing people with various goods and services. Science became the servant of business, if there is no commercial demand for a particular research area  – research doesn’t happen.  Only those technologies deemed to be valuable can generate profits in a relatively short period of time.

Science has ceased to be a tool in the development of mankind, a means of realizing our dreams. Have we forgotten how to dream, instead becoming hostages of consumer culture? But as long as people are mortal, all the diversity of things that is produced  by humanity  – phones, houses, cars, boats, planes – at a certain point  becomes pointless.

Sums of money spent in developed countries on science are laughable:  2.7% of GDP in the U.S. In Russia  it is 1.03%. Alas, these funds are insufficient to implement the strategic plan for the development of mankind.

Of course, I would like to give some positive examples of scientific developments in the context of avatar technologies.  In Lausanne, Switzerland, for example , a new center has been established,  essentially a small city – for the study of human brain and brain modeling.  This new project is called “Neyropolis” and combines  such projects as  “Blue Brain” and “Human Brain Project”. In addition, Paul Allen donated a total of half a billion dollars for the  study of the human  brain in the  Allen Institute for Brain Science which he founded in Seattle.

Currently scientists are actively studying the brain, sooner or later  they will construct an artificial brain and will be able to answer the question – what does our  identity consist of?  The logical next step would be to move the individual human “I” to the alternative carrier,  reducing the dependence on the biological body and  dramatically prolong life. Regardless, we are already moving in this direction. But the paradox is that, for some reason  the project of  extension of life, radically getting rid  of diseases has not become a mega-project, the world’s most important dominant societal task.  Pathetically, little is spent in this area compared to the amounts of money that circulate in industries – banking, pharmaceuticals, food industry etc.

Many scientists already believe our ideas to be interesting and  ambitious. They also see as evident  the vector of development of technologies in this area.  At the same time  the topic of immortality is a kind of social taboo.

In order to change this situation, we really need to think about the nature of  our development and goals.   When the pursuit of immediate profit ceases to be a major goal, and the evolution of humanity  becomes  a priority in science, only  then we will be able to witness the  emergence of the next generation of innovation.

Will this be affordable for the average consumer?

Eventually, yes. Today, an average Geminoid, or human-like robot costs approximately $300K without mass production. However, when we reach a period when we can mass produce the technology, we predict the costs to be similar to the automobile.

What do you say to those in science who are skeptical of your claims and ability to reach your goal?

History is littered with misconceptions professed by both laymen and great scientists. For example, “No one will pay good money to get from Berlin to Potsdam in one hour when he can ride his horse there in one day for free”, stated King William I of Prussia, on hearing of the invention of trains, 1864. “That the automobile has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been introduced” (Scientific American, January 2, 1909). The physicist Lord Kelvin said in 1895 that, “flying machines heavier than air are impossible”. Many of our contemporaries were also wrong in regard to the radio, the telephone, and the Internet.

I believe John F. Kennedy once said, “The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.”

The skepticism with respect to the avatar-based technologies is very much like  the  misconceptions we have just been talking about. History often laughs at such skeptics.

We have already attained some very prominent minds, and involved talented scientists  in our project. They are willing to work towards its realization, believing in the project’s idea and its ultimate goal. As history shows, a remarkable invention sometimes requires just one genius. Or two, as was the case with the radio!

Sources: Wikipedia, 2045.com, Dmitry Itskov, CNN, MSN, Huffington Post

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