Itskov, a 31-year-old media entrepreneur, says that he aims to transplant a human brain into a robot body within 10 years. He says his technology will be of interest at first to the ‘disabled and close to dying’
‘I understand these are some very big challenges for scientists,’ Itskov says. ‘But I believe in something you call ‘The American Dream.’ If you put all your energy and time into something, you can make it a reality.
Itskov envisages surgically ‘transplanting’ a human consciousness into a robot body within 10 years. He hopes to then ‘upload’ minds without surgery, leaving human bodies as empty husks as their owners ‘live on’ inside robots. The project is called Avatar after the James Cameron movie, set far in the future, where human soldiers use mind control to inhabit the bodies of human alien hybrids as they carry out a war against the inhabitants of a distant world.
‘The next effort of science will be to create a new body for the human being,’ says Itskov, speaking at the Global Future 2045 conference.
‘It will have a perfect brain-machine interface to allow control and a human brain life support system so the brain can survive outside the body.’ Itskov says that the system will at first be of interest to, ‘Disabled people and people at the edge of dying.’ ‘The third phase will be to create an artificial human brain,’ he says – a computer environment into which human minds can be uploaded.
His final goal, he says, is to upload human minds into holographic bodies. Holograms give plenty of advantages. You can walk through walls, move at the speed of light, he says. ‘Remember in Star Wars, Obi-Wan’s hologram? That was pretty amazing.’
Itskov says he wants to work with DARPA – the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency in the U.S military. DARPA is already researching ways for its troops to use their minds to remotely control androids who will take human soldiers’ place on the battlefield. The Pentagon’s hi-tech research arm, has earmarked $7million for research into the project, also nicknamed Avatar.
According to the Darpa’s 2013 budget: ‘The Avatar program will develop interfaces and algorithms to enable a soldier to effectively partner with a semi-autonomous bi-pedal machine and allow it to act as the soldier’s surrogate.