precisely. So, then replace 'consciousness' with 'sentience' in my original proposition. I am not saying response to an environment is sentience; but, when using living brain tissue, there may be a chance that these computers will eventually display sentience.
I saw this documentary yesterday (which had a VERY interesting sequence about those rat neurons flying planes, interviewing one of their "fathers" ^^). It is about the future, AI and transhumanism, called TechnoCalyps, which despite the title is actually rather good. It's on youtube, too.. so if you have 3 hours to spare.. it is sure to make you think about a whole range of subjects.
IMHO these things cannot be considered in isolation. We as society should really start talking about our progress and where we want to go, instead of a few people being into it, the rest feeling threatened. We can do better, and we surely have to the tools for it.