Itskov’s project, also called “Avatar,” actually precedes the Pentagon’s. He launched the initiative a year ago, but recently divulged more details to a group of futurists — including Ray Kurzweil — at a three-day immortality conference, called Global Future 2045, held in Moscow.
Until now, most of the work on Itskov’s Avatar has taken place in Russia, where he claims to have hired 100 scientists — all of them paid out of his own deep pockets. Now, Itskov plans to take the mission global. “I want to collaborate with scientists from around the world,” he says. “This is a new strategy for the future; for humanity.”
So how would Itskov’s “Avatar” work? Well, he anticipates developing the program in stages. Within the next few years, Itskov plans to deploy robots that can be operated by the human mind. That’s actually not too wild a proposition: Pentagon-backed research has already demonstrated a monkey controlling a robotic arm using some nifty mind-meld tech, for example. And one study on human patients, out of Johns Hopkins, is using brain implants to control artificial limbs.
After phase one of “Avatar,” however, Itskov’s ambitions arguably eclipse even those of the Pentagon’s maddest mad scientists. In 10 years, he anticipates “transplanting” a human mind into a robotic one. After that, Itskov wants to do away with surgical procedures and instead upload the contents of the mind into its brand new, artificial robo-body. And, last but not least, within 30 years Itskov anticipates developing hologram-type bodies — instead of tangible robotic ones — that can “host” human consciousness.
Read More: Wired