Tonight's guest, Dr. Bart Kosko, the author of such books as Heaven in a Chip(1) has pondered what the future may hold for our species. In a symposium on the TV program Closer to Truth(2), Kosko pointed out that while the human brain is a marvel of natural biology, it has certain limitations. "We'll be re-engineering the brain a piece at a time, initially with implants and other supplements and ultimately engineering an outright replacement," he said.
Kosko sees our evolution going in the direction of transferring our consciousness into increasingly advanced computer chips which would allow people to live theoretically forever. "Just take the example of your past," he said. "You can't remember a great deal of what you did three years ago. But if you had the detailed richness of that experience wholly embedded in a chip, you could not only relive it at will, you could edit it...in innumerable creative ways."
But will we become "chip potatoes?" Kosko doesn't see this as a bad thing. Once our brains have been uploaded into chips, it would open up dramatic new forms of communication with others in the system. "At a minimum, it would be like allowing the ants crawling around in an airplane to have a sense of what the airplane is and how they all fit into the global economy. I just don't think we can accommodate those kinds of thoughts in our three pounds of (cerebral) meat right now," he said.