Startup Humai believes it will be able to resurrect a human within 30 years.
How will it do this? CEO Josh Bocanegra told Popular Science his company is developing apps that will collect data on members to get a sense of their thought processes and speaking patterns. These members will then have their brains frozen using a hotly debated cryonic preservation technique. Eventually, these brains get transplanted into artificial bodies.
"As the brain ages we'll use nanotechnology to repair and improve cells. Cloning technology is going to help with this too," said Bocanegra. "We believe we can resurrect the first human within 30 years."
If this sounds like a game of word association for giddy futurists, that's because it might not be a real company (at least not yet). Bocanegra is also CEO of a little startup called LoveRoom, the Airbnb of renting spare rooms to attractive people in hopes of a hookup or the start of a relationship. That company was found to be somewhat of a hoax.
Fusion's Kashmir Hill, then at Forbes, reported in 2013 that the company's website was hosted by website LaunchRock, which allows users to thrust startup ideas before the eyes of internet users to gauge interest. The website was enough to dupe the media into reporting on LoveRoom as though it existed, when in fact it was still just an online form requesting email addresses of interested parties.
LoveRoom reportedly did launch after the media stir, and as of last year claimed to be developing a reality TV show. The website now advertises a dating service whereby users friend each other and arrange to stay together at each other's homes for a week or longer.
The website for Los Angeles-based Humai consists of an image of a model in a forest, some techno-atmospheric music, and an "our vision" page where visitors can type in their email to "get updates on our progress." Sounds as though Humai might be taking the LoveRoom approach of generating interest before getting serious about its service.
Bocanegra tells Inc. Humai was in development years before LoveRoom and insists the life extension project is legitimate. He and two others co-founded the company in late October. The three have no experience in artificial intelligence or biotechnology, he says, "but are exceptionally knowledgeable and super passionate about this project." They started what he called "independent research" seven years ago.
"LoveRoom was just a side project that I decided to focus on as it started getting buzz," he says. As for whether he set up the Humai website to fish for interest, he writes in an email, "Also, unlike LoveRoom, I'm not looking to see if there's interest, I really appreciate the interest, but Humai is a lifelong project that I'm firmly dedicated to."
So Humai sounds, at best, like a pipe dream. Yet its core vision -- preserving the intellect of a deceased person -- is not all that far-fetched.
MIT startup Eterni.me is working on assembling profiles of its beta users based on their online activities. The company's goal is to create online avatars with the personalities, memories, and mannerisms of users to live on beyond users' deaths and communicate with loved ones.
Top investors show strong interest in biotech startups working on inventions aimed at extending the human lifespan. Paypal co-founder and venture capitalist Peter Thiel openly questions humanity's acceptance of death as a fact of life, and is aggressively investing in startups that aim to inch us closer to the possibility of immortality. Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin launched Google (now Alphabet) subsidiary Calico in 2013 with the aim of "curing death."