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As most of you know, Dr Robert Jastrow of NASA’s Institute for Space Studies is a sober, sensible scientist; he is not a science fiction writer or a wild-eyed Futurist (like me.) Nonetheless, Dr Jastrow’s new book, The Enchanted Loom: Mind in the Universe (Simon and Schuster, 1981) concludes that it is our destiny to achieve immortality by becoming computers.

Jastrow points out that some computers have already learned to decipher a few of the brain’s signals, and can tell if a human is excited or elated, or even distinguish if he / she is looking at a circle or a square. Eventually, Jastrow says, computers will be able to contain a human mind: “…a bold scientist will be able to tap the contents of his mind and transfer them into the metallic lattices of a computer. Because mind is the essence of being, it can be said that this scientist has entered the computer, and that he now dwells in it.”

Jastrow summarizes: “The union of mind and machine has created a new form of existence, as well designed for life in the future as man is designed for life on the African savanna. It seems to me this must be the mature form of intelligent life in the Universe. Housed in indestructible lattices of silicon, and no longer constrained by the life and death cycle of a biological organism, such a kind of life could live forever.”

from Robert Anton Wilson’s Trajectories Newsletter, March 1982.

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