March 24, 2013

Russian Tycoon Promotes and Funds Immortality via Robotics and Uploads but has Concerns about Radical Biological Life Extension

32-year-old Dmitry Itskov is seeking investors to fund research for technology that will make eternal life possible by transferring human consciousness in an artificial form to avatars (robotic bodies).

Itskov is the founder of Initiative 2045, a non-profit organization focused on creating an international research center where scientists will research and develop the technologies to make eternal life possible.

Last year, Itskov wrote a public letter to individuals on Forbes billionaires list asking them to invest in his project. While Itskov did not receive any public responses, he did accomplish his goal of getting word out about the project and he is continually in talks with wealthy individuals about his project, he said.

"The goal was to get the public's attention," Itskov said. "I do communicate with some of the richest people in the world, but I can't share who they are."

This summer, Itskov will make a pitch to not only to the world's most wealthy individuals, but the entire business community, to invest in his project as well as research and development in areas that help further his cause.

In June, Itskov's organization will be hosting the second annual Global Future 2045 World Congress, an event where leading scientists, technologists and entrepreneurs will gather to discuss and demonstrate new technologies that are paving the way for life expansion.

Itskov on SENS

Nextbigfuture asked Itskov if he would support SENS as a Plan B for life extension in case the robotic avatar path has difficulties. Itskov position was that civilization was already overstressing the environment and biological life extension would put further stresses on resources and on the biosphere.

However, this line of reasoning is flawed. There is the technological means toclean up the environmental problems that exist now via electrification of transportation, engines and processes with lower emissions, clean nuclear energy and other means. Complete biological immortaility would cause less than a 1% per year increase in the population.

Robotic whole brain emulation would be able to increase economic growth to levels that are not limited to human population growth It would be tougher to keep 20% or higher per year economic growth (even if was mostly virtual or robotic) cleaner than 3-5% per year economic growth. Robin Hanson has extensively analyzed the effect and potential of robotics and whole brain emulation to radically boost economic growth.

If Itskov has success with whole brain emulation, robotics and uploading then there would be far more importance on decoupling growth from negative environmental impacts and from cleaning up existing pollution and emissions that are by products of economic activity.

Robin Hanson forecasting the next mode of growth.

Mode     Doubling   Date Began   Doubles  Doubles
Grows     Time (DT)  To Dominate  of DT    of WP
----------  ---------  -----------  ------   -------
Brain size   34M yrs    550M B.C.     ?       "~16"
Hunters     230K yrs   2000K B.C.    7.2       8.7
Farmers      860 yrs    4700 B.C.    8.1       7.5
??            58 yrs    1730         3.9       3.2
Industry      15 yrs    1903         1.9      over 6.3   

What if was like the industrial transition.

2067-2120 timing estimate

first adopter gains

New mode   Initial %        Final %
Brains       less than 1%        20
Humans        5                 100
Farming      10                  40 
Industry     20                  50
?             ?                   ?
Knowledge was always key

Five steps to Radical Production

1. Atomic Precision
2. General Plants - like PCs beat signal processor. Scale economy to make, easier design, efficient enough. More differentiation faster evolution of products
3. Local Production
4. Usually idle
5. Self reproduction

Lower marginal costs goes then Costco model may be better. Buy into a club to get lower price on a collection of items

Factor Shares of Income
Labor, human capital, other non-human capital, natural resources, stock dividends

Hanson Views on Singularity

Yes General machine intelligence will make huge difference
Not soon - roughly 20 to 200 years
Not Trend - econ growth has been steady
not Local - an integrated economy grows together, not basement takes over world
Not hand coded - probably brain emulation
Not Horizon - we can see past if fuzzier
-new economy doubles weekly to monthly
- natural wages fall below

Economics of Robots

Staple of fiction
if have more of X, do not want Y more (complement) or less (substitute)?
Machine as substitute to human labor
-ricardo 1821, most science fiction
-wages fall to machine cost

Automation as complement to human labor
-wicksell 1923, modern econmomics consensus
-wages have risen as automation cost have fallen

So are robots a substitute or complement?

Robots substitute on task but tasks are complements

complement tasks - if certain tasks become nearly free or lower value then the remaining tasks become more valuable.

The effect of a rising tide. the importance of the shape of the curve of tasks versus human advantage.

A simple robot growth model

complex growth model - many things shrinking or growing

Hanson has worked on AI before and thinks it was hard and is still hard.
Thinks whole brain emulation is hard but doable.

Pivotal : What Ready Last
1. computing
- other techs fast or fine brain detail key
- broad smooth anticipated transition

2. Scanning (least likely)
- large coalitions, first dominates, diversify
- most in future descend from one human

3. Modeling
- may be big surprise so disruptive change.

Cheap for robots

* Immortal (even so most can't afford)
* travel - transmit to new body (but security)
* Nature - don't need ecosystems
* Labor - work less tool intensive
* copies
- malthusian population explosion, rapid growth
- Wages may fall to fast falling hardware cost
+ depends on mental task landscape shape
+ happens if they slave or if free
+ only draconian population wage

Emulations feel human
*They remember a human life
*retain human tendencies
-love, gossip, argue, sing, violate,play, work, innovate
*more alientated worlds - as were farms, factories
- office work in VR

Humans Eclipsed

* Wages well below human subsistence
- some humans may find servant jobs
* but rich if held non-age assets

More implications
*copies rent bodies or own on loan
- evicted if can't pay
* to recoup trainin invetment copy cabal limits copy wage
- security to prevent bootleg copies
* fast growth discourages transport encourages local prodution
less than 1 cm robots seem feasible

one skyscraper holds billions is megacity

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