Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

TagAnil Seth

the-complexity-of-digital-ethics-background-generative-ai-stockpack-adobe-stock
The complexity of digital ethics background. generative AI

Leading Consciousness Theory Slammed as “Pseudoscience.” Huh?

Integrated Information Theory’s panpsychist leanings are the 124 neuroscientist critics’ real target

Since last week, 124 neuroscientists, including some really big names, have signed an online letter,” to be published in a journal, denouncing a leading theory of consciousness, Integrated Information Theory (IIT), as “pseudoscience.” If you don’t follow these controversies, IIT may not immediately ring a bell. But the theory featured in popular science news earlier this summer when dualist philosopher David Chalmers won a 25-year bet with IIT neuroscientist Christof Koch. He had bet that a “consciousness spot” would not be found in the brain and it was not. But they were both good sports about it and, as agreed, Koch bought Chalmers a case of fine wine. But the signatories to the letter are in no mood for parties. Read More ›

conceptual-image-to-be-used-as-background-facade-of-buildings-representing-architecture-or-offices-of-the-business-world-stockpack-adobe-stock
Conceptual image to be used as background. Facade of buildings, representing architecture or offices of the business world.

Neuroscientist vows post-wager: We’ll nail consciousness yet!

Anil Seth, proponent of the “hallucination” theory of consciousness, vows that researchers will find that consciousness spot or circuit in the brain

Prominent University of Sussex neuroscientist Anil Seth shared some thoughts at Nautilus on neuroscientist Christof Koch losing the 1998 wager with philosopher David Chalmers this year. He had bet that a consciousness spot or circuit would be found in the human brain within the next 25 years. It wasn’t. Seth offers, Back in the late 1990s, consciousness science was full of renewed promise. Koch—a natural optimist—believed that 25 years was more than enough time for scientists to uncover the neural correlates of consciousness: those patterns of brain activity that underlie each and every one of our conscious experiences. – Anil Seth, “Finding the Neural Correlates to Consciousness Is Still a Good Bet,” Nautilus, July 5, 2023 As author of Being Read More ›

blume-des-lebens-mit-sternenkosmos-und-lichtstreifen-stockpack-adobe-stock
Blume des Lebens mit Sternenkosmos und Lichtstreifen

The Science “Advances” Disproving the Mind Are Ever More Elusive

A friendly interview with an important neuroscientist makes that starkly clear

University of Sussex neuroscientist Anil Seth, author of Being You: A new science of consciousness (October 2021), is quite determined to stamp out consciousness as an immaterial idea. It’s “stubbornly mysterious,” according to Tim Adams for The Guardian. But, we are assured, “Advances in understanding how the brain functions undermine those ideas of dualism, however.” But those advances prove increasingly elusive. From the interview: Anil Seth: It’s the boring answer of continuing to do rigorous science, rather than proposing some eureka solution to “the hard problem” [the question of why and how our brains create subjective, conscious experience]. My approach is that we risk not understanding the central mystery of life by lurching to one or other form of magical Read More ›

Unlocking latest smartphone with biometric facial identification scan

Yes, your brain is a machine—if you choose to see it that way

As a Nobel Prize physicist pointed out, our method of study determines what we learn

Anil Seth, a Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex, gave a TED talk recently (linked below) in which he asserted that “the combined activity of many billions of neurons—each one a tiny biological machine—is generating our conscious experience…” So, is your brain really a biological “machine”? Or is that just an analogy, like saying that a restaurant kitchen is a “hive” of activity? If so, how good is the analogy? Why do we select the analogy of a “machine” rather than a different one? It’s an important question, as we will see, because the questions we ask of nature constrain the answers we obtain. A machine is an artifact. It is a human-built assembly of Read More ›

marc-olivier-jodoin-572629-unsplash

Does your brain construct your conscious reality? Part II

In a word, no. Your brain doesn't "think"; YOU think, using your brain
The brain understands nothing, imagines nothing, sees nothing. It wills nothing. We understand, we imagine, we see, and we will, using our brains. Read More ›
cristina-gottardi-685293-unsplash

Does your brain construct your conscious reality? Part I

A reply to computational neuroscientist Anil Seth's recent TED talk
His talk is a breathtaking compendium of fallacies on the mind and the brain. We can learn a lot from him—by understanding the errors into which he falls and the way out of those errors. Read More ›