When a high school dropout challenges the world in their unnecessary acceptance of death.
What makes a successful business? Better yet, what makes a successful entrepreneur? Some might say that it requires certain specialties with a diploma to back it up. Others say it requires ambition and dedication.
While none of these qualities are to be ignored, a business of the 21st century — and equally an entrepreneur to build said business — requires something more.
“Lots of companies don’t succeed over time… What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future.” — Larry Page (Co-Founder of Google)
In other words, what is needed most is a vision; businesses of the future need visionaries.
The thing is, visionaries don’t just pop out of nowhere. Their vision ferments over time, gradually building its own framework. Certain events in life become extrapolated into a single entity, adding character and depth into the ultimate vision itself. No one truly sees a visionary until their vision begins to materialize.
For Josh Bocanegra, Founder and CEO of the robotics company Humai, his vision took years in the making.
While Bocanegra might be basking in the ongoing success of his vision today, his journey began in struggle. At age 16, Bocanegra had dropped out of high school with a single goal in mind — start an internet business. And not just any internet business; a music site where artists could purchase music production that he’d produced himself.
Going by the pseudonym “Lyr1kz,” Bocanegra achieved his first run of success in the music industry. Just ask American rapper Stat Quo. For what was supposed to be Stat Quo’s debut album called Statlanta under Eminem and Dr. Dre’s, Shady Records and Aftermath Entertainment, Bocanegra helped produce the song “Cry,” featuring Brevi.
That all changed, however, by age 18 when his daughter was born. It was then he knew he had to earn more income.
Expanding his knowledge in both programming and marketing, Bocanegra took to the books and eventually started his own marketing consultation service for music producers by the age of 19.
It was during this time period where he coded his first algorithms and started gaining an interest in the future prospect of artificial intelligence (AI). Little did he know then that his interest in AI will become an integral facet of his ultimate vision yet to be.
One year later, tragedy had struck. Suffering from liver failure, his father had passed away. Stricken by the death of his father, Bocanegra stopped all business and music-related work and dedicated the next 6 months of his life in studying religious history in the pursuit of answers — of any answer. With no answer found to help cope with the pain, and a burning desire to change the world using modern science, by age 22, he became an atheist.
Having formulated this new secular worldview, Bocanegra decided to permanently halt his music ventures and instead begin dedicating his life in the pursuit of solving problems from both a scientific and technological standpoint.
Driven by the memory of his father’s death, his research into human longevity and resurrection led him to start taking online courses on biology, neuroscience, linguistics, and life extension technology.
For the next two to three years, Bocanegra began testing the marketing waters with an experiment known as LoveRoom. Referred to as “OKCupid meets Airbnb” by Business Insider, this PR experiment gained so much media attention that it was eventually picked up by major television networks one year after its launch.
What started off as nothing more than a marketing experiment, LoveRoom became a legitimate TV show idea and has since been signed with a major network, which is scheduled to air sometime next year.
For Bocanegra, however, LoveRoom was never meant to be a legitimate idea. This experiment was merely a stepping stone towards what he truly wanted to do: to extend the average human lifespan.
Realizing what can be achieved with an idea and the right amount of media coverage, Bocanegra knew what his next step had to be. There he began writing out ideas for a life support system for the brain with the subsequent possibility of developing a bionic body transplant. It was then that his vision began to unfold.
By the age of 26, on October of the year 2015, Bocanegra launched the landing page for his life extension project called Humai. Everything he learned up to that point — from marketing and PR, to his LoveRoom experiment and his work in AI — went into the development of his newly found company. Two months later, Humai was featured in nearly every news outlet throughout the world, resulting in over 200 applications from researchers, scientists, and scholars who wanted to help see his vision come to life.
Less than a year has passed since then and Bocanegra is now working with a team of 20 different people, ranging from AI researchers, neuroscientists, behavioral scientists, engineers, roboticists, and futurists. Here they are working tirelessly on the very same life support system Bocanegra had envisioned, alongside with the development of an AI mobile app that will emulate both the personality and conscious manifestation of those whom have died. Although this app is merely a temporary patch to help people grieve, it seems fitting that the very first prototype Bocanegra had built now emulates his father’s personality, by which he is able to interact with via text.
The app is not the vision, however. The vision is in helping people achieve longer and healthier lives; to not go through what Bocanegra had to with the death of his father. The vision is to conquer death, not by religious means, but rather through the “miracles” of modern science and technology.