20 July 2012

The League of Immortal Billionaires

Earlier this year, a Russian media mogul named Dmitry Itskov formally announced his intention to disembody our conscious minds and upload them to a hologram--an avatar--by 2045. In other words he outlined a plan to achieve immortality, removing the human mind from the physical constraints presented by the biological human body. He was serious. And now, in a letter to the members of the Forbes World’s Billionaire’s List, he’s offering up that immortality to the world’s 1,266 richest people.

“Many of you who have accumulated great wealth by making success of your businesses are supporting science, the arts and charities. I urge you to take note of the vital importance of funding scientific development in the field of cybernetic immortality and the artificial body,” Itskov wrote in the letter. “Such research has the potential to free you, as well as the majority of all people on our planet, from disease, old age and even death.” _PopSci

If this idea pans out, it will provide the Earth's billionaires with more time to accumulate wealth and influence than they could have previously dreamed. Such billionaire avatars would have the time to play high stakes games of poker stretching over centuries, rather than mere hours or days.

Over such time periods, the Earth's economies are likely to experience any number of boom and bust cycles -- each cycle presenting huge opportunities for capital acquisition. The power to manipulate markets, economies, and governments would grow accordingly.

We are learning that China's economy is not up to the task of saving the world from another recession.
Peter Misek: We came back from China really depressed, I have to say. It appears that mainland China is correcting significantly. The statistics the government publishes, frankly we think are largely fabricated. So you have to rely on other statistics such as retail sales, electricity usage, mall traffic, etc. And what we saw, and what we heard was pretty grim. We think consumer electronic sales could be falling double-digits year-over-year in June and thus far in July. And we think the catalyst frankly is job losses. The premier of China was on this morning basically saying the labor situation is severe, meaning job losses are accelerating and unemployment is skyrocketing. _Mish

Europe is experiencing rapid capital displacement:

You can see capital moving rapidly away from the marginal European economies toward those which are considered to have a sounder financial basis. What you cannot see in this chart is the capital which is moving out of the EU entirely, to Switzerland and elsewhere.

An immortal billionaire avatar could easily pull the strings to move large blocks of capital from one arena to another, as the situation warrants. Just as long as financial institutions could be sure that the avatar was sending the orders, and not some hacker who had tapped into the avatar's communications network or data base.

Personally, I do not see a great deal of capital flight going into Russia. Likewise, it isn't very probable that many billionaires will be eager to move their "souls" into a Russian controlled data bank complex, if they are not eager to move their capital there.

Russia's core population is slowly collapsing. Will this Russian media tycoon open his data banks to receive the souls of ordinary Russians, to keep the country's "population" from dwindling to virtually nothing? That might be one way to save the country, and would certainly be a nobler gesture than the attempt to trap and control the wispy remnants of Earth's billionaires, inside an electronic purgatory.

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Blogger Craig R. Meyer said...

Just curious: Why the persistent interest in Russia?

Friday, 20 July, 2012  
Blogger neil craig said...

If this can be done (& Kurzweil has predicted mind uploading for the 2030s and life expectancy rise 1 year per year by 2022 http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/kurzweils-predictions-2010-on.html ) the marginal cost for each new individual, ie excluding reasearch, may be surprisingly low. After all with Moore's Law the sort of computer capacity of a human brain will be held in something much smaller than a human head.

Saturday, 21 July, 2012  
Blogger al fin said...

CRM: Russia is the world's largest nation by land area, possesses the world's largest store of natural resource wealth, controls the world's second largest military by firepower, produces some of the world's most beautiful women -- and yet is burdened by a thugocratic government which is holding down economic diversification and casts a pall of malaise over the entire giant land.

Russia's brain drain, its capital flight, its demographic implosion, its public health disaster, the overseas flight of its fertile women, and much more, stand in stark contrast to Russia's huge potential.

Who wouldn't be interested in such a place?

Saturday, 21 July, 2012  
Blogger Stephen said...

Given the possibility that people like Bernie Madoff could get this treatment and continue in their misdeeds, I wonder how long it would be, if this was a reality, before portions of the population were calling for shutting down the systems containing the avatars.

Saturday, 21 July, 2012  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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