DARPA & Hollywood – An Interesting Alliance

Ever watched a sci-fi Hollywood movie and thought wow, that’s absolutely amazing, but entirely impossible! We all have, yet so many of those fantastical notions we see in our favourite films might not be as far-fetched as you think.

The U.S Military’s Darpa (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency) are currently working on a couple of projects that will make you hold your hands up in the air and go wooooooooaaaaahh, I didn’t think that was possible!!!

For one, they have the Avatar Project, which though similar to the James Cameron Blockbuster of the same name, and works on the basis of trying to enable soldiers to occupy a robot vessel rather than a big blue alien from the planet Pandora!

The idea is that these robot hosts can then go on and fight in battle for their human controllers! Sounds a bit like Jonathan Mostow’s ‘Surrogates’ which stars Bruce Willis and features a futuristic world in which people live almost wholly through their robot surrogates which look better, work better and do not age like the human body!

‘Surrogates’ also features scenes where battle surrogates are sent to war against the enemy, meaning that human life (from the country who has the snazzy robots) is rarely sacrificed in warfare. Sounds totally crazy, doesn’t it?

Danger Room is brilliant for keeping those of us who aren’t on Darpa’s top secret mailing list in the loop regarding the latest and most advanced projects that are being worked on at the moment. They recently did an interesting article about the Avatar programme, and a great write-up about Alphadog, a robotic dog designed to be able to carry military gear for miles on end without tiring, over all kinds of terrains.

Those geniuses at Darpa are also trying to ensure that Alphadog will be a good companion to a lonely soldier, like a normal dog would, and have built in technology to make him interact in the same way! Does Alphadog bark, play fetch, poop in inappropriate places or chase squirrels, though I wonder?

The latest reveal from Danger Room is about Russian media mogul Dmitry Itskov’s latest scientific venture, ironically, it is also called Avatar, and of course, he thinks his project is way better and will do much more for humanity than the Pentagon’s one!

His master-plan involves creating robots that he hopes will have the ability to store the human MIND and keep our consciousness going forever and ever. Ah, that age old human quest for immortality comes up once again!

Itskov hopes to have this technology up and running in just over a decade and is planning on bringing in scientists from all over the world to work on his visionary project.
But Itskov’s dream doesn’t stop there, not content with transplanting a human brain into a robotic host-body, Itskov then plans to get rid of all that fiddly surgery and ‘upload’ the entire contents of our minds into a new robobody.

Then, if that wasn’t quite progressive enough for you, after that he predicts the advancement of a holographic host for the human consciousness. He tells Danger Room; “Holograms give plenty of advantages. You can walk through walls, move at the speed of light…Remember in Star Wars, Obi-Wan’s hologram? That was pretty amazing.”

Sounds pretty unbelievable to me, but then, I’d be the first to hold my hands up and say that I’m no science or technology expert! Do you think Itskov’s vision can become a reality? Would you want your mind to live forever inside a robot-host or do you think we’re playing with dangerous forces? Can a robot host a soul too? Or would you become soulless like the automation storing your memories and personal information? Let us know what you think!

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About Sheniz Raif

I am, and think I have always been, a writer. I’ve been scribbling stories since I was old enough to hold a pen and thoroughly enjoy using my words to make people laugh or inspire them. I love going to gigs and am a professional groupie for a couple of awesome bands. I am an avid fan of socializing, football, film, and refusing to grow up! I’m also a proud member of the BODO UK team!