This company wants to download your thoughts so you can live forever
The sales pitch on Humai’s website is packed with encouraging tech jargon. So much, in fact, that it takes a while to get to the point: “We’re using artificial intelligence and nanotechnology to store data of conversational styles, behavioral patterns, thought processes and information about how your body functions from the inside-out,” it reads. So what is this – a fitness band?
“This data will be coded into multiple sensor technologies, which will be built into an artificial body with the brain of a deceased human.”
Oh, so it’s just one of your bog-standard necromancy startups! Why didn’t you say so sooner?
We like startups at Alphr. We especially like ambitious startups that push the limits of what we thought possible, and make us reassess the way the world works.
We like startups at Alphr. We especially like ambitious startups that push the limits of what we thought possible, and make us reassess the way the world works.Only the harshest critics could fault Humai on the ambition scale, but with only five members of staff at the moment, it goes from “ambitious” to “impossible” remarkably quickly. Ironically, a company that’s ultimate goal is to allow you to live forever is unlikely to live long enough to see its ambitions realised.
So, what’s the plan? Popular Science caught up with Josh Bocanegra, CEO and founder of Humai for some answers. “We’ll first collect extensive data on our members for years prior to their death via various apps we’re developing,” he explained. “After death, we’ll freeze the brain using cryonics technology. When the technology is fully developed, we’ll implant the brain into an artificial body.”
“As the brain ages, we’ll use nanotechnology to repair and improve cells. Cloning technology is going to help with this too.”
There’s a reason it hasn’t been done before and yet, in the same interview, Bocanegra explains they “believe we can resurrect the first human within 30 years”. Without any venture capital, and a skeleton staff. Be sceptical. Be very sceptical.
Or as Michael Maven – a consultant who has developed retention software – told The Huffington Post: “Nanotechnology is not an answer, it’s a buzzword.” Thirty years is a big window, but nowhere near big enough for technology to fill the gap. “The technology that could extract legible thoughts and ideas out of an organ made of living tissue is nowhere near anything we have yet.”
Former Amazon AI expert Andrea Riposati agreed, telling The Huffington Post: “Everyone will tell you that the technology is not ready. No reason to believe it will be ready in 30 years.”
Could it be a hoax, rather than purely misguided? Bocanegra’s last startup was LoveRoom – an exceedingly shallow blend of Airbnb crossed with a dating site – but Forbes claims the business never existed, something Bocanegra denies.
Still, if it is a hoax, then Riposati reckons Humai may have struck gold with people’s fear of death. “This is an amazing business model for Humai. They can collect monthly/yearly payments from their customers promising something in the future,” he said.
Whatever the motivation involved, for now, bringing brains back to life and communicating in a meaningful way with an artificial body is science fiction, with the emphasis on “fiction”. Be incredibly sceptical of anyone who tells you otherwise.
By contrast, this makes the human head transplant look entirely feasible. And it isn’t.