By Darcey Haynes
Science’s Quest for Immortality Continues as Russian Billionaire; Dmitry Itskov Promises to Make Eternal Life Possible by 2045.
Horizon; a BBC documentary series most recently focused on a subject we have all pondered: Eternal Life. Unlike the fictitious story of the forever youthful, beautiful, ageless vampire; Edward Cullen, online media tycoon Dmitry Itskov plans to achieve immortality through the merging of human consciousness and technology.
Whilst social media organisations compete to succeed one another in the digital world by enhancing smartphone applications; Itskov is attempting elude the confinements of time and space; to ultimately transcend death in entirety. In endeavor to achieve this, Itskov has congregated an expert group of researchers and scientists, with the optimum aim to extract all vital aspects of the human brain, including: “individuality, personality, memories”.
Entitling the plan the 2045 Initiative, Itskov presented his own replica android at Russia’s 2045 Conference in 2012, naming it the “next step in human evolution”, arguing it was the start of the “neohumanity” era. Undeterred by the many flaws within his ambition, such as; time frame, insufficiency of current technology but most significantly, the present lack of understanding in the complexity of the human brain- Itskov has gained a vast following of 20,000 supporters.
Despite hailing the Horizon documentary as the best of Wednesday night television, Gerard O’Donovan of The Telegraph argued that science is “still more than a lifetime away”.
Discluding the bounteous dilemmas within his plan, even if immortality was so soon to be achievable- the complexity of faith and morals cannot be avoided, and hence deepen the issue with the concept of living forever. Itskov does not believe that any present religion “can handle the societal implications of living forever- as most of the current ones have you dying first in order to achieve immortality”. Considering this a prominent controversy, Itskov has founded a new political party; Evolution 2045 , naming it “the party of intellectual, technological and spiritual breakthrough”.
The documentary featured quadriplegic man; Erik Sorto, and showed him successfully controlling a robot arm with his mind- two metal electrodes are now permanently embedded into his skull- meaning that when these are hooked up to a specifically designed computer, he can feed and water himself.
Whilst the concept of uploading one’s active consciousness is widely deemed as impossible and a somewhat laughable theory by the neurologist community, Dr Randal Koene – a neuroscientist and research Professor at Boston University’s Center for Memory and Brain says “All of the evidence seems to say in theory it’s possible – it’s extremely difficult, but it’s possible”.
Would you want to live forever? Personally, I think the most wondrous things about life is that it is limited- it pushes us to dream, and strive to achieve all that we possibly can in the short time that we have. Even if a replica Darcey android awaited me after a physical death, I would reject it; life is unpredictable and because of that, I appreciate what I do have more. What do you think on an ethical basis? I’m divided. I think it’s remarkable that we as humans are capable of potentially making this a reality- but whether I think it’s right or not, I’m unsure. I guess we’ll have to wait until 2045…