Another self-made man (and it always seems to be men) is throwing money at digitizing the mind. Dmitry Itskov, a young media entrepreneur, has announced he is recruiting a team of scientists to, within the next decade no less, transplant human consciousness into a robot. After that it will, he hopes, be a short step to downloading minds so we can all live forever. Unimaginatively he calls the project “Avatar”.
As I noted in one of my first postings, digitising the mind is becoming de rigeur for technophile futurists. They happily gloss over the woeful state of our current understanding of how the brain, and mind, work. The conference where Mr Itskov’s announcement was made (and he organised) seems to be the typical gathering of like-minded techno-optimists (with a yogi thrown in for diversity and spiritual credibility) common for some classes of futurists. A good (futures) event for me is where you have a broad range of different views and outlooks, and where the real nutty issues (seldom technological) are debated.
Mr Itskov would like to team up with DARPA, who also have their own less ambitious Avatar project. They just want to develop a system to enable a soldier to team up with a robot.
If wealthy folk like Dmitry Itskov really want to improve longevity, I hope he is also putting some of his money toward improving health care in Russia and elsewhere too.