“…the contents of consciousness are a kind of waking dream—a controlled hallucination—that is both more than and less than whatever the real world really is.” -Anil Seth
Name: Anil Seth, MS, PhD
Specialty: Neuroscientist and Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience.
Location: University of Sussex. Brighton, United Kingdom.
All right, welcome back. Today we’re privileged and delighted to have one of the world’s leading researchers in neuroscience, Anil Seth. Anil is Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex and Founding Co-Director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science. He has published over 100 scientific papers and book chapters and is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Neuroscience of Consciousness. His TED talk on consciousness and controlled hallucination has been viewed over 12 million times and stands as one of TED’s most popular science talks.
Today we’ll dig deep into (what Cal Fussman would call) the big questions of neuroscience: Is my reality the same as yours (do we see the same color red)? What does it mean to be you? Why did we evolve to have consciousness? Are different states of consciousness such as we see in comas, sleep, and general anesthesia measurable and clearly definable? What is consciousness and where in the brain can we find it? Why does a brain adapted to basic, hunter gatherer survival also include the capacity to compose symphonies, write philosophy, debug software code, go to the moon and ponder questions about the nature of its own existence? Will we ever be able to deconstruct the basic elements of consciousness and reconstruct them in a computer AI?
This episode was a lot of fun and will probably be one of my most favorite. To be clear, exploring our current understanding of the brain, consciousness, and the fundamental reality of who we are and how we experience the world around us is just not something you can knock out in an hour. That’s why I can’t recommend to you enough to check out Anil’s new book, “Being You.” With that said, let’s get started…
Links & Resources:
Professor Anil Seth: Anil Seth Profile | University of Sussex
Anil Seth Website: Anil Seth – Neuroscientist
Anil’s book, “Being You: A New Science of Consciousness.” Being You by Anil Seth: 9781524742874 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books
Anil Seth TED Talk: Anil Seth: Your brain hallucinates your conscious reality | TED Talk