A Russian entrepreneur who heads a hi-tech research project called 'Avatar' has contacted billionaires to offer them immortality.
Itskov claims he will personally oversee their immortality process, in exchange for an undisclosed fee.
Itskov, a media entrepreneur, claims to have hired 30 scientists to reach this goal - and aims to transplant a human brain into a robot body within 10 years.
'You have the ability to finance the extension of your own life up to immortality. Our civilization has come very close to the creation of such technologies: it's not a science fiction fantasy. It is in your power to make sure that this goal will be achieved in your lifetime,' says Itskov in a letter delivered to billionaires listed in Forbes magazine.
He has contacted a list of billionaires with a proposal for funding his quest for immortality - which Itskov refers to as 'cybernetic immortality' and the 'artificial body'.
The initiative is opening its San Francisco office this summer, and will be launching a social media project connecting scientists around the world.
'The 2045 team is working towards creating an international research center where leading scientists will be engaged in research and development in the fields of anthropomorphic robotics, living systems modeling and brain and consciousness modeling with the goal of transferring one’s individual consciousness to an artificial carrier and achieving cybernetic immortality,' says Itskov's official site.
'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.'
'For anyone interested, but skeptical, I am ready to prove the viability of the concept of cybernetic immortality by arranging an expert discussion with a team of the world's leading scientist working in this field.
'I will also be willing to coordinate your personal immortality project entirely free of charge for the sake of speeding up the development of these technologies,'
'This project is leading down the road to immortality,' says Itskov. 'A person with a perfect Avatar will be able to remain part of society. People don’t want to die.'
‘I understand these are some very big challenges for scientists,’ Itskov says. ‘But I believe in something you call ‘The American Dream.’ If you put all your energy and time into something, you can make it a reality.
Itskov envisages surgically 'transplanting' a human consciousness into a robot body within 10 years.
He hopes to then 'upload' minds without surgery, leaving human bodies as empty husks as their owners 'live on' inside robots.
The project is called Avatar after the James Cameron movie, set far in the future, where human soldiers use mind control to inhabit the bodies of human alien hybrids as they carry out a war against the inhabitants of a distant world.
'The next effort of science will be to create a new body for the human being,' says Itskov, speaking at the Global Future 2045 conference. 'It will have a perfect brain-machine interface to allow control and a human brain life support system so the brain can survive outside the body.'
Itskov says that the system will at first be of interest to, 'Disabled people and people at the edge of dying.'
'The third phase will be to create an artificial human brain,' he says - a computer environment into which human minds can be uploaded.
His final goal, he says, is to upload human minds into holographic bodies.
Holograms give plenty of advantages. You can walk through walls, move at the speed of light, he says. ‘Remember in Star Wars, Obi-Wan’s hologram? That was pretty amazing.’
Itskov says he wants to work with DARPA - the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency in the U.S military.
DARPA is already researching ways for its troops to use their minds to remotely control androids who will take human soldiers' place on the battlefield.
The Pentagon's hi-tech research arm, has earmarked $7million for research into the project, also nicknamed Avatar.
According to the Darpa's 2013 budget: 'The Avatar program will develop interfaces and algorithms to enable a soldier to effectively partner with a semi-autonomous bi-pedal machine and allow it to act as the soldier’s surrogate.'