Although James Cameron's "Avatar" took place more than 140 years into the future, a Russian billionaire has teamed with dozens of scientists to lay out a plan that would use avatars to transfer human consciousness into an artificial form. The goal: human immortality by 2045.
The 2045 Initiative, a life-extension project founded by 31-year-old Russian billionaire Dmitry Itskov in February 2011, offers a timeline for immortality over the next 33 years. Beginning with remotely controlled robotic avatars and re-creating the human brain through computer models, the end result would be human immortality in the form of holographic avatars.
The 2045 Initiative, which has had a major social media blitz, brought together 30 top Russian scientists to develop the "imortal" technology, laying out the plan for human immortality on its website.
"The first phase is to create a humanoid robot dubbed 'avatar,' and a state-of-the-art brain-computer interface system. The next phase consists of creating a life-support system for the human brain and connect it to the 'avatar.' The final phase … is to create an artificial brain in which to transfer the original individual consciousness into," reads the plan.
Here's the 2045 Initiative's timeline for this feat:
2015 - 2020: A robotic copy of a human body remotely controlled by a brain-computer interface
2020 - 2025: An avatar is created in which a human brain can be transplanted at the end of life
2030 - 2035: An avatar that can now contain an artificial brain in which a human personality can be transferred at the end of life
2040 - 2045: A holographic avatar emerges
In addition to taking the Internet by storm, the 2045 Initiative has also launched its own political party, called Evolution 2045, pushing a new strategy for human development. The Russia-based party takes a global approach, encouraging other countries to follow in its footsteps "not in the arms race, but in the race for building a bright future for mankind."
Last month Itskov appealed to members of the Forbes World's Billionaires List, urging them to take heed of the "vital importance of funding scientific development in the field of cybernetic immortality and the artificial body.
"Contributing to cutting-edge innovations in the fields of neuroscience, nanotechnology and android robotics is more than building a brighter future for human civilization. [It's 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," read Itskov's open letter.
Itskov plans to host a Global Future Congress meeting next year in New York. A previous event was held last February in Moscow.
This massive hypothetical technology would give the "new" mankind amazing survival abilities, according to the Initiative.
"The new human being will receive a huge range of abilities and will be capable of withstanding extreme external conditions easily: high temperatures, pressure, radiation, lack of oxygen," claims the Initiative on its website.
And according to a slick video produced by the 2045 Initiative, once the hologram-like avatar reinvents mankind's scientific and social structure, war and violence will go by the wayside as "spiritual self-improvement" becomes mankind's primary goal.
But what about the average Joe who just wants to live forever?
The cost of these avatars should be on par with that of an automobile, the Initiative's website assures, as soon as mass production begins.
So start saving up.