In science fiction, one of the most popular concepts is the cyborg — a creature that’s part human and part machine. Now, a Russian billionaire is determined to take this sci-fi trope and make it a reality.
The man is named Dmitry Itskov, and no, this isn’t an April Fools’ joke.
Itskov is totally serious about wanting to make humans immortal by merging them with machines, and he’s been pushing the project forward since 2011 when he founded the 2045 Initiative, ostensibly the deadline for “substance-independent” minds to receive artificial bodies — what some scientists refer to as the Singularity.
As Digital Trends describes, the ultimate goal is to be able to transfer a person’s mind or consciousness from a living brain into a machine with that person’s personality and memories intact.
Freed of physical form, the person would exist in a network similar to the internet and be able to travel at the speed of light all over the planet, or even into space.
To call Itskov’s plan ambitious is an understatement, but he’s mapped out several key steps to get there.
The first goal, called Avatar A, involves a person controlling a robotic human replica via a brain-machine interface (BMI), a technology that already exists today. That deadline is set for 2020.
Next up is Avatar B, due 2025, which would involve transplanting a human brain into an artificial body “at the end of one’s life”.
That sounds eerily similar to what one of Doctor Who’s most notorious monsters, the Cybermen, do to their victims — granting them immortality, but at the cost of losing all emotion and individuality.