Put two stars of Battlestar Galactica on stage with an artificial intelligence expert and two leading robotics professors…and you suck the sci-fi out of the room and replace it with reality (sort of). The World Science Festival event “Battlestar Galactica: Cyborgs on the Horizon” drew a large crowd at the 92nd Street Y on Friday night, for a discussion of how human brains might soon fuse with computer chips to create real cyborgs.
Moderator Faith Salie introduced the panelists: Nick Bostrom, director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University; Michael Hogan, also known as Colonel Saul Tigh; Hod Lipson, director of the Computational Synthesis group at Cornell University; Mary McDonnell, a.k.a. President Laura Roslin; and Kevin Warwick, professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading in England.
Salie asked each panelist to define what a cyborg is. Everyone had different answers: Warwick said it’s something that is part human, Lipson said it’s a moving target or a physical device that takes on biological life, and Bostrom said it’s the essence of human intelligence.