As humans increase our lifespans though science and nutrition, as well as advancements in treating disease, we must wonder what are the limits of the human lifespan? Biblical conjecture aside, statistics from the United Nations show that we can expect to live about 71 years (71.5) without unforeseen circumstances interrupting. That's a long life, but many of us fear not getting to complete our personal bucket lists, or missing the chance to see children or grand kids grow up.
Wouldn't it be great if we could increase the limits of the human lifespan?
Just a few more years could mean the chance to spend more time with family and friends, a chance to see technology develop. Perhaps even enough time to answer the most profound of questions such as alien visitation and global warming. Even those of us who live the fullest of lives would gladly accept a few more years on Earth to do more and see more. But is it possible? Can we live forever in some form?
That's the goal of a a nonprofit organization founded by Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov. Called the 2045 Initiative, scientists in the fields of neural interfaces, robotics, and artificial organs aim to extend life expectancy - but not through physical means. After all, the physical body has limitations and even the best nutrition and science cannot overcome the basic fact that the human body will wither and die.
Founded in 2011, the 2045 Initiative aims to "create technologies enabling the transfer of an individual’s personality to a more advanced non-biological carrier, and extending life, including to the point of immortality. We devote particular attention to enabling the fullest possible dialogue between the world’s major spiritual traditions, science and society".
What is that 'non-biological carrier'? An Avatar. A holographic image will provide the visual representation of the human being while their brain is held in a life support device. The brain will be hooked up to a computer interface that will serve as a conduit between the avatar and the thoughts produced by the preserved brain. Eventually, as technology is developed, the group hopes to eliminate the need for an organic brain by transferring the consciousness of the subject into an artificial brain.
The Avatar project has three phases: during phase A, the robotic copy of the human will receive an interpret commands from the brain via interface. This phase is aimed for completion by 2020. During phase B, the human brain is removed and held on life support, eliminating the need for a physical host. This phase completes by 2025. Phase C, to be completed by 2035, is where the actual personality of the subject is uploaded to computer form. Finally, in phase D to be completed by 2045, the actual hologram is produced to replicate the human who provided the thoughts and personality for the program.
It's a far off possibility, but just recently Elon Musk announced a program called Neuralink which is trying to achieve exactly what the 2045 Initiative is hoping for - creating an interface between the human brain and a computer. Using flexible threads, data will be transferred between the host brain and computers or cell phones.
Neuralink has been hailed as an innovation in medical technology since those who have lost motor function could recover the ability to interact with their surrounding world. The positives are that less members of society are left behind and it's easy to see how learning could be accelerated at an astronomical pace. In the future, it may be possible to download an encyclopedia of information to the human brain, or implant a whole host of languages for communication across continents and cultures.
But no one is talking about the negatives of human-computer interface technology. Could a human being be implanted with thoughts, made to serve a master? If the personality can be removed, could one just as easily be implanted? No doubt, military's around the world will monitor the progress of the 2045 Initiative and Neuralink in hopes of creating the perfect soldier - one who has had emotions that cloud thinking removed.
What do you think? Would you voluntarily download your thoughts to a computer? Comment Below
For more information about the 2045 Initiative visit their web page by clicking here.