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Building Russia’s First Android

A Russian team of researchers has built (part of) the country’s first realistic android.  Like the Geminoids built in Japan the android bears an uncanny resemblance to its human creator, Dmitry Itskov.

Itskov is the eccentric founder of several online news outlets and Russia-2045, a group that believes the singularity is near.  The team hopes to build a fully-functional replicant by 2020 so that by the middle of the century it will be ready to host a digital copy of the mind, effectively circumventing a little thing called death.  If that sounds kooky, you might be surprised to learn that some very smart people are betting it will happen.

Video:

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The android’s upper-torso was unveiled earlier this year, so it’s still very early in development.  Some simple face recognition is being demonstrated and they have a pair of robot hands moving, but they hope to get it walking in a year or two.  That seems overly optimistic, given it can’t even blink, but more power to them.

More entertaining than the android is the following (English) propaganda piece from the movement that forecasts the next 30 years.  It’s a great piece of theater brimming with buzzwords and hilarious predictions, but the commingling of science with promises of immortality results in a pseudo-religious tone that raises red flags.

It’s one thing to be optimistic about technological progress and where it should take us in the future.  It’s another thing entirely to pretend that these purported breakthroughs are inevitable.

I’m getting flashbacks to the short films they made in the ’50s predicting moon colonies and other technological craziness by the year 2000, or worse, the stuff of Scientology.  Their prediction that humanoid robot avatars will be as popular as cars by 2015 was particularly humorous – and is that regular cars, or the flying type?   By the end of the video I was half expecting them to invite me to join their local chapter.  Watch it and see if you agree:

Video:

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You can watch more videos at the movement’s YouTube channel here, if you want to risk subliminal mind enslavement.

[source: Russia-2045 (RU)] & [5-TV (RU)] & [Wired] Thanks, Michael!