Dmitry Itskov

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Another post which concerns the work of Dmitry Itskov and other immortality enthusiasts. This one presents the opening of a smart report about transhumanism from Andrew Couts at Digital Trends:

“Behind me, a Florida-orange senior citizen, in her orange blazer, wearing orange earrings, an orange bead necklace, and a white summer fedora, stands on the tip-toes of her orange leather loafers to get a better look at the weird scene unfolding in front of the crowd in the lobby of Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in midtown Manhattan.

‘Yes,’ I tell Orange Woman. ‘The one sitting down is a robot. The one standing up is the guy who made him … er … it.’

‘Oh!’ she says. ‘I couldn’t tell the difference.’

‘Gemanoid HI-2,’ as it’s called, is an exact replica of its eccentric creator, Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro. Same hair. Same all-black shirt and pants. Same little necklace. The only discernable difference between the two is that, while Dr. Ishiguro tells jokes, Mr. Gemanoid sits silently, slightly cross-eyed, blinking and jerking its head, with the eternally confused look of someone who suffered a paralyzing stroke while contemplating the ethics of Westboro Baptist Church.

In a tripod contraption next to Gemanoid hangs another of Ishiguro’s creations – a demented Casper the Ghost with all the charm of an aborted fetus. Its legs are a fused-together chunk. It has no hands, holes in place of ears, and the Mona Lisa smile of something undead. Ishiguro calls it Telenoid, an android designed with human-like features, but without all the pesky details that save onlookers from missing out on cold-sweat nightmares.

‘Well, that’s just wonderful,’ says Orange Woman. ‘It’s so lifelike!'”

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I’ve mentioned Russian billionaire Dmitry Itskov a couple of times, including yesterday. He wants to defeat death, in a sense, by 2045. The plan is to upload a person’t brain information into a computer so that their consciousness can be digitized and preserved. You will be a hologram, you will be an avatar–and you will be lovely. He just did an Ask Me Anything on Reddit. A few exchanges follow.

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Question:

Can you explain in layman’s terms how you are planning to achieve said immortality?

Dmitry Itskov:

No one can say for sure at this point what our “end product” would look like.In the life extension community, we use a saying “a bridge to a bridge” to help explain what we’re trying to do.

We may not develop “immortality technology” in time for those alive today, or those past a certain age. What we might develop is a “20 year pill,” which would be a technology that would give an 85 year old an almost guaranteed 20 more years. At the end of that 20 years, we may have a “50” year pill, because the technology has improved in that 20 years. By the time that 50 year pill has run it’s course, we might have the 1,000 year pill.

What we’re trying to do is create technologies enabling the transfer of a individual’s personality to a more advanced non-biological carrier, and extending life, including to the point of immortality.

Basically, we’re taking the part of the brain that makes somebody “who they are”- memories, feelings, etc, and putting them in something that will last much longer than the human body. The initial stages of such technology will be similar to a brain transplant, where the physical brain is supported by some physical means. Eventually, we may progress to uploading one’s brain like a computer program, where it can exist forever. Think of this like uploading your consciousness or “soul” to something that will last thousands, millions, or even an indefinite years.

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Question:

Do all of the parts of me get to be immortal? I’m in my 50s and don’t want to live forever if I have to live like my clients! 

Dmitry Itskov:

Actually, at some part your physical body will be replaced. Whatever avatar you live in will be physically and biological perfect- you’ll be 22 forever, if desired!

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Question:

Do you think by that time, well all spend most of our time in virtual reality?

Dmitry Itskov:

It’s difficult to say what the exact state of life extension will look like by 2045. I believe it’s possible.

That will almost certainly be the case if we start stretching for “immortality”- after all, the sun will clock out any conventional life on earth in 5 billion years.

Of course again, it really is impossible to say for sure. Who knows what future advances in physics and technology will allow us to do? Perhaps the answer to immortality lies in the manipulation of spacetime, something we can’t conceive now but may be the norm 1,000 years from now.

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Question:

How does it feel being a Russian mad scientist?

Dmitry Itskov:

Ask me in 32 years.

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The opening of David Segal’s New York Times article about the Russian billionaire who wants to replace death with downloading:

GET right up close to Dmitry Itskov and sniff all you like — you will not pick up even the faintest hint of crazy. He is soft-spoken and a bit shy, but expansive once he gets talking, and endearingly mild-mannered. He never seems ruffled, no matter what question you ask. Even if you ask the obvious one, which he has encountered more than a few times since 2011, when he started ‘this project,’ as he sometimes calls it.

‘I hear that often,’ he said with a smile, over lunch one recent afternoon in Manhattan. ‘There are quotes from people like Arthur C. Clarke and Gandhi saying that when people come up with new ideas they’re called ‘nuts.’ Then everybody starts believing in the idea and nobody can remember a time when it seemed strange.’

It is hard to imagine a day when the ideas championed by Mr. Itskov, 32, a Russian multimillionaire and former online media magnate, will not seem strange, or at least far-fetched and unfeasible. His project, called the 2045 Initiative, for the year he hopes it is completed, envisions the mass production of lifelike, low-cost avatars that can be uploaded with the contents of a human brain, complete with all the particulars of consciousness and personality.”

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Hindustan Times report profiles the attempts of a Russian oligarch to create cyborgs by 2045, essentially defeating death. Even if he is successful (very unlikely), what he preserves won’t be exactly you or I. The opening:

“A Russian billionaire has unveiled plans to make humans immortal by converting them into ‘Terminator-style’ cyborgs – a creature that’s part human and part machine – within the next three decades.

Thirty two-year-old mogul, Dmitry Itskov has been pushing the project forward since 

His ultimate goal is to transfer a person’s mind or consciousness from a living brain into a machine with that its personality and memories intact, according to website Digital Trends.

The so called ‘Cyborg’ will have no physical form, and exist in a network similar to the Internet and be able to travel at the speed of light all over the Earth, or even into the space.”

 

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From Katie Drummond at Wired: “According to Dmitry Itskov, a 31-year-old Russian media mogul, the U.S. military’s Avatar initiative doesn’t go nearly far enough. He’s got a massive, sci-fi-esque venture of his own that he hopes will put the Pentagon’s project to shame. Itskov’s plan: Construct robots that’ll (within 10 years, he hopes) actually store a human’s mind and keep that consciousness working. Forever.

‘This project is leading down the road to immortality,’ Itskov, who founded New Media Stars, a Russian company that runs several online news outlets, tells Danger Room. ‘A person with a perfect Avatar will be able to remain part of society. People don’t want to die.'”

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