From the alchemists of imperial China to the Inca priests, through the consumption of ambrosia from classical Greece and the famous philosopher’s stone and fountain of eternal youth. Legends, myths and searches for immortality dot the history of humanity.
Many great minds have stayed by this tortuous path between reality and fiction, motivated by discovering a secret that would end, in too many cases, by driving them crazy. But, what if immortality was closer than we think? The initiative 2045 maintains that it will be in that year when the human being overcomes death. And it will not be thanks to prodigious substances or strange medical procedures, but from the hand of technology, robotics and artificial intelligence.
The (re) evolution of the human being
Driven by the Russian millionaire Dmitri Itskov was born, in 2011, the 2045 Initiative project with very clear objectives: to develop robotic technology and artificial intelligence to the point that they exceed the human being in everything. Navigating between ethics, philosophy and engineering, the initiative ensures that humanity needs to use all its technological power to improve and evolve the human being in himself and not only his environment.
The project walks hand in hand with the theory of technological singularity: a point (around the year 2045) in which robotics and artificial intelligence will surpass human abilities. Itskov argues that, within three decades, robots will not only be more intelligent than man, but will be able to replicate themselves in more and more ready machines. Thus, human beings could transfer our consciousness in these perfect machines and live forever.
As they see their own drivers, to reach this point would end the wars, hunger and disease in the world, because survival would be guaranteed. These robots could survive on a much more extreme planet than today, with high temperatures and very high radiation rates or absence of food and water.
These premises, which transcend the scientific method to venture into distant and utopian futures, have earned the 2045 Initiative the support of political personalities and spiritual leaders such as the Dalai Lama. In addition, the project has become an almost political initiative that promises the creation of a neo-humanity.
The 30-year objectives
2045 Initiative has all the ingredients for a good science fiction movie, only in the real world. Its objectives are also well defined in its manifesto.
- Obtain the support of the international community and create a climate of cooperation between different experts.
- Build an international center for cybernetic research that focuses on the ultimate goal of the project: the creation of an advanced artificial body and a system that allows the transfer of human consciousness in this body.
- Get the collaboration of experts in what they define as “a crusade to promote technological advances”.
- Support the innovation industry and create scientific education programs on the subject for schools and institutes.
- Generate educational content for television, internet and radio; support congresses and fairs conferences; and establish a series of awards that contribute to increase the visibility of the project and encourage participation.
- Create a culture connected with this futurist ideology, promoting faith in technological progress, artificial intelligence, immortality and developing the organization of a cyborg society.
At what point are we
The 2045 project has managed to come out on some covers, the support of some world leaders and be gaining adherents to its cause. However, while the most social aspect of the initiative seems to be growing at a good pace, the real scientific and technological progress of the project is stagnating.
According to Dmitri Itskov, our brain can be completely replaced by what we know as neural networks. Basically, it is a self-learning system in which different interconnected computing units imitate the human brain responding to a series of stimuli and learning from them.
Technology exists and is real. However, it is still far from being able to reach the power and capabilities of a Homo sapiens brain. The 2045 Initiative promised, after a first phase of research, that in 2015 it would have deciphered completely how a brain works and that it would start working on an artificial brain project that would be finished by 2020. But the first point has not yet been compliment.
Once this first step is achieved, the project contemplates the following research phases that would lead to reaching this uniqueness of robotic immortality in 2045.
- 2015-2020 Construction of robotic avatars controlled by computers that simulate the human brain. This would give men the ability to work in dangerous environments and extreme environments.
- 2020-2025 Creation of self-sufficient robotic systems linked to this robotic avatar, initially designed to recover unused parts of the body due to accidents. A twist to bionics.
- 2030-2035 Create an electronic model of the brain and human consciousness and develop a system capable of transferring the consciousness of a human being to an artificial container.
- 2045 After completing all the previous steps, every human being can begin to transform into a self-sufficient robotic being with much more advanced capabilities than those of the biological body. The initiators of the initiative are not sure how it will be achieved, but they firmly believe that the human species will evolve in such a way that, in fact, a completely new species will be created.
Although the technological aspect is late, it is not here where the initiative has found the greatest criticism. In fact, some voices within the technology industry, such as Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, say that, up year, year down, it is possible to reach this level of technological development in the middle of the 21st century.