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Earlier this year this site featured Dmitry Itskov, the media entrepreneur who recently announced a concrete plan — complete with a timetable — for developing a functional technology for uploading human consciousness into an artificial substrate.
That post was part of our three-part series Brain Mapping, Uploading, and Immortality:
Itskov’s overall project is called the 2045 Strategic Social Initiative and the uploading component is the Avatar Project.
Now Itskov is back in the news, soliciting support with a letter to the members of the Forbes World Billionaires List. The letter is reproduced below.
Inviting investment from the world’s richest men and women makes strategic sense. At the same time, it can’t help but raise concerns about who will end up benefitting from this set of technologies, assuming Itskov’s project is successful.
Itskov is clearly aware of this concern, and has gone to some lengths to distinguish what 2045 is doing from military projects on the one hand and from elitist dystopias on the other.
In an article highlighting an endorsement from the Dalai Lama, Itskov contrasts 2045′s goals with those of military projects investigating similar technologies:
“My project has very different, humanitarian goals – it involves technologies that could mark a transition for humanity, with endless benefits in the future. But already in the next few years, we will be able to enhance the life of those who are disabled, radically improving their living standards. This is just the beginning. It’s my goal to ensure it is affordable and accessible for all people – not just for the elite and the military.”
Dmitry Itskov, founder of 2045 Initiative, with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, at his Dharamsala residence.
The text of the letter follows below.
Homo Artificialis will continue to track 2045 in future posts.
Honorable Members of Forbes World’s Billionaires List,
In 2012 alone, 16 new members brought your number to 1,226 people, and your total fortune from 100 billion to $ 4.6 trillion. You have worked hard to achieve amazing results, and often even compromising your health, your longevity. And unfortunately, modern medicine is still the medicine of a hundred percent mortality – the best it can do is to temporarily delay the process of human aging.
But it no longer has to be this way.
Many of you who have accumulated great wealth by making success of your businesses are supporting science, the arts and charities. I urge you to take note of the vital importance of funding scientific development in the field of cybernetic immortality and the artificial body.
Such research has the potential to free you, as well as the majority of all people on our planet, from disease, old age and even death.
Contributing to cutting-edge innovations in the fields of neuroscience, nanotechnology and android robotics is more than building a brighter future for human civilization, but also a wise and profitable business strategy that will create a new and vibrant industry of immortality – limitless in its importance and scale. This kind of investment will change every aspect of business as we know it: the pharmaceutical industries, transportation, medicine, energy generation, construction techniques, to cite a few.
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. 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.
For anyone interested, but skeptical, I am ready to prove the viability of the concept of cybernetic immortality by arranging an expert discussion with a team of the world’s leading scientist working in this field.
I will also be willing to coordinate your personal immortality project entirely free of charge for the sake of speeding up the development of these technologies.
Honorable businessmen and businesswomen, members of the Forbes richest list: human life is unique and priceless. It is only when we have to part with life do we realize just how much we have not done, that we have not had enough time to do what we really wanted or to address something we’ve done wrong. Everything that we have cherished and loved all of a sudden becomes unreachable.
Today you have a unique chance to change this situation. And at the same time bring invaluable benefits to your countries and the world as well as make a mark in history by supporting the creation of the new industry of immortality. You have the power to support and create a new industry of immortality to make revolutionary change that will forever reverberate through the pages of history.
With wishes of health and limitless life-span,
2045 Initiative founder