Michio Kaku: Feedback loops are creating consciousness

Our ability to make predictions about the future distinguishes our level of consciousness.

  • One of the great questions in all of science is where consciousness comes from.
  • When it comes to consciousness, Kaku believes different species have different levels of consciousness, based on their feedback loops needed to survive in space, society, and time.
  • According to the theoretical physicist, human beings' ability to use past experiences, memories, to predict the future makes us distinct among animals — and even robots (they're currently unable to understand, or operate within, a social hierarchy).
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How your immortal consciousness will travel the universe

Someday we'll beam to the moon for afternoon tea, and be back in New York for dinner.

  • In about 100 years, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku believes we'll explore the universe as pure consciousness — traveling at the speed of light, looking at asteroids, comets, meteors, and eventually the stars. "All of this within the laws of physics," he says.
  • Through recent brain imaging, we know know that the prefrontal cortex of teenagers is fully formed. This induces them to take risks. Also, when guys who talk with pretty girls, we also know it's that blood drains from their brains. Well, their prefrontal cortex. This makes them liable to act "mentally retarded."
  • The Connectome Project will map the entire brain in about 100 years.
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Michio Kaku: Mental communication and infinite knowledge are on the horizon

Soon we'll be able to blink and instantly go online via computer chips attached to our eyes.

  • Eventually computer chips, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku avers, will cost a penny, which is the cost of scrap paper. They'll be so pervasive, they'll even be attached to your eyeball.
  • They'll be in your contact lens, allowing you to blink and go online — you'll have access to the internet and will be able to access the knowledge stored on the internet.
  • In the future, Kaku says, we'll be able to convey emotions and memories to one another another via "brain net." This will render emojis and current forms of entertainment, such as sound-and-screen movies, obsolete.
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There are 2 types of god. Only one is within the boundary of science.

Does God exist? The answer rests outside the "normal" boundaries of science.

  • Science is about natural law, while religion is about ethics. As long as you keep these two separate, Kaku says, there's no problem at all. Problems arise, however, when the natural sciences begin to "pontificate upon ethics" and when religious people begin to pontificate about natural law.
  • Albert Einstein believed in the "god of Spinoza" — not a personal god, but one who has set order and harmony in the fabric of the universe. "You can put the laws of physics as we know them on a simple sheet of paper — amazing! It didn't have to be that way," says Kaku.
  • The existence of God is not testable because such a review is not reproducible or falsifiable, as most scientific investigations are. In this sense, Kaku says the question and answer whether God exists rests outside the "normal" boundaries of science.
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Michio Kaku: Genetic and digital immortality are within reach

Technology may soon grant us immortality, in a sense. Here's how.

  • Through the Connectome Project we may soon be able to map the pathways of the entire human brain, including memories, and create computer programs that evoke the person the digitization is stemmed from.
  • We age because errors build up in our cells — mitochondria to be exact.
  • With CRISPR technology we may soon be able to edit out errors that build up as we age, and extend the human lifespan.
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