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Could humans become immortal by 2045? Russian scientists think so

Jordana Divon
Shine On
August 1, 2012

Those of us young enough to hang on for another 33 years may be able to extend those three decades into eternity.

Of course, you'd have to be okay with living out the rest of your endless days as something better suited to a James Cameron movie.

But if transforming into a cybernetic humanoid robot sounds like the thing for you, Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov's 2045 Initiative could use a little help from your personal chequing account in order to fund his dream of humans becoming immortal.

The 31-year-old claims he has assembled a team of top scientists to work on the initiative — a six-stage project that would ultimately see our brains housed in a fully functional holographic human avatar by the year 2045.

Itskov claims his idea will "free" the majority of people on the planet from "disease, old age and even death" through advanced neuroscience, nanotechnology and android robotics.

He projects a human brain will be successfully transplanted into an artificial body in just eight years.

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To fund his ambitious endeavour, Itskov has written an open letter to the world's wealthiest flesh-and-blood denizens by appealing to what he hopes are their own delusions of grandeur.

"Currently you invest in business projects that will bring you yet another billion. You also have the ability to finance the extension of your own life up to immortality," he writes.

"Our civilization has come very close to the creation of such technologies: it's not a science fiction fantasy. It is in your power to make sure that this goal will be achieved in your lifetime."

According to a diagram on Itskov's website, the process will involve creating an artificial brain, a mind transfer into a completely artificial body, the development of a hologram body and finally, a mind transfer into said hologram body.

Essentially this means is that our intelligence would be housed in a non-biological container. So it would be our consciousness, but flipping around in a strange, futuristic body substitute that would be immune to the ravages of old age and death.

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As CBC notes, his projection may fall within the realm of possibility.

"DARPA is already working on it via a program called 'Avatar' … through which the Pentagon hopes to create a brain-machine interface that will allow soldiers to control bipedal human surrogate machines remotely with their minds," the network reports, citing an article from Popular Science magazine.

While the idea of artificial brain-controlled body parts could do wonders for paraplegics or those who have lost limbs, transforming biological humans into a cybernetic holograph army begs the question of whether people would want to live forever in the first place.

What will humankind look like if it's slowly populated by the cast of Surrogates?

And what will that mean if someone gets sentenced to life in prison? Or simply grows bored after a few hundred extra years? That's a Twilight Zone episode anyone considering immortality should put on their Netflix queue.

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