In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Anil Seth about the scientific study of consciousness, where consciousness emerges in nature, levels of consciousness, perception as a “controlled hallucination,” emotion, the experience of “pure consciousness,” consciousness as “integrated information,” measures of “brain complexity,” psychedelics, different aspects of the “self,” conscious AI, and many other topics.
Anil Seth is Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex and Founding Co-Director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science. In his work, he seeks to understand the biological basis of consciousness by bringing together research across neuroscience, mathematics, artificial intelligence, computer science, psychology, philosophy, and psychiatry. In addition to delivering new insights into the nature of consciousness, his research has helped shape novel approaches to psychiatric disorders, as well as driving innovative methods in machine learning and in brain-inspired technologies.
His recent book—Being You: A New Science of Consciousness—explores what it means to “be you”—that is, to have a specific, conscious experience of the world around you and yourself within it.
Episodes that have been re-released as part of the Best of Making Sense series may have been edited for relevance since their original airing.