A Russian multi-millionaire is targeting the business community to raise money to fund a project that aims to make immortality a reality by 2045.
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It may sound like something straight out of a science fiction novel, but Dmitry Itskov, a 35-year-old media mogul, is seeking investors to fund research for technology that will make eternal life possible by transferring human consciousness in an artificial form to avatars (robotic bodies).
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"It's the next space race," Itskov said at a question and answer meeting on Friday to a handful of journalists.
Itskov is the founder of Initiative 2045, a non-profit organization focused on creating an international research center where scientists will research and develop the technologies to make eternal life possible.
Last year, Itskov wrote a public letter to individuals on Forbes billionaires list asking them to invest in his project. While Itskov did not receive any public responses, he did accomplish his goal of getting word out about the project and he is continually in talks with wealthy individuals about his project, he said.
"The goal was to get the public's attention," Itskov said. "I do communicate with some of the richest people in the world, but I can't share who they are."
This summer, Itskov will make a pitch to not only to the world's most wealthy individuals, but the entire business community, to invest in his project as well as research and development in areas that help further his cause.
In June, Itskov's organization will be hosting the second annual Global Future 2045 World Congress, an event where leading scientists, technologists and entrepreneurs will gather to discuss and demonstrate new technologies that are paving the way for life expansion.
Speakers at the event will include Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google (GOOG) and Peter H. Diamandis, the founder of the X Prize Project and co-founder of Planetary Resources, among other scientists and business people.
At the event, Itskov said that he will try and convince the business community that investing in immortality is a profitable business opportunity.
Itskov said businesses will be needed to manufacture the robotic bodies that will serve as the avatars, build brain-computer interfaces (systems that allow the human brain to control the robot), and make tele-presence robotic systems (networks used to transfer a human's conscientiousness to a different avatar in another location).
Itskov said that he is not ignorant of the fact that some people may be hesitant, even reluctant, to consider a future where humans upload their consciousness to a robot. However, he said that for the human species to survive, an evolutionary change is necessary and humans need to be thinking of a long-term solution for their existence.
"Not everyone understands the motive of the project...I know we could really change things just by changing the way we think," Itskov said. "I have no doubts, not even a small doubt that this is possible."
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