Submitted by Exponential Times on Tue, 2014-05-06 03:24
What is the secret of consciousness? Is it the quantum nano tubules inside our nerve cells? Is it a fundamental force of nature? Is it perhaps something from outside this universe altogether? No, it's something much more disappointing than that. But the reason it seems such an anticlimax at first is only that we've been looking so hopefully and anxiously for the wrong thing. The truth is actually very exciting, but to understand why, we need to learn how to look at ordinary things in an extraordinary way. And we need to do this as soon as possible, before we cause our fellow sentient beings more suffering than we would wish.
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
A radical new explanation of how life and consciousness emerge from physics and chemistry.
As physicists work toward completing a theory of the universe and biologists unravel the molecular complexity of life, a glaring incompleteness in this scientific vision becomes apparent. The "Theory of Everything" that appears to be emerging includes everything but us: the feelings, meanings, consciousness, and purposes that make us (and many of our animal cousins) what we are. These most immediate and incontrovertible phenomena are left unexplained by the natural sciences because they lack the physical properties—such as mass, momentum, charge, and location—that are assumed to be necessary for something to have physical consequences in the world. This is an unacceptable omission. We need a "theory of everything" that does not leave it absurd that we exist.
Consciousness is an enigmatic beast. It’s more than mere awareness – it’s how we experience the world, how our subjective experience relates to the objective universe around us. And therein lies the rub, in that tiny little word “how.” These kinds of questions were once the province of philosophy, religion or perhaps fantasy, but within the last few decades, neuroscientists have added a scientific voice to the discussion, using available medical technology to explore just what separates so-called “mind” from brain. How do the neural and chemical workings of our brains create our minds, our total experience of the world, our thoughts and feelings, and that sense of self that distinguishes the individual from everyone else? In this eBook, The Secrets of Consciousness, we look at what science has to say about one of humankind’s most fundamental, existential mysteries. We begin at the beginning, as they say, with Section 1 on the very nature of consciousness and move on to discuss theories of neural development.
Is consciousness an epiphenomenal happenstance of this particular universe? Or does the very concept of a universe depend upon its presence? Does consciousness merely perceive reality, or does reality depend upon it? Did consciousness simply emerge as an effect of evolution? Or was it, in some sense, always "out there" in the world? These questions and more, are addressed in this special edition.
This conference marks the 20 th anniversary of the first Tucson “Toward a Science of Consciousness” conference. Speakers will reflect on progress over the last 20 years and on challenges for the next 20 years, as well as presenting research from the leading edge of the science of consciousness.
Toward a Science of Consciousness is an interdisciplinary conference known for rigorous and leading edge approaches to all aspects of the study of conscious experience. These aspects include neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, molecular biology, medicine, quantum physics, and cosmology as well as art, technology, and experiential and contemplative approaches. The conference is the largest and longest-running interdisciplinary gathering probing fundamental questions related to conscious experience. An estimated 700 participants from over 60 countries are due to take part. As in previous conferences, program sessions will include plenary and keynote talks, concurrent talks, posters, art/science demos and exhibits, pre-conference workshops, side trips, and social events in the Tucson tradition.
Submitted by Exponential Times on Mon, 2013-03-11 16:58
With the help of a hammer-wielding scientist, Jennifer Aniston and a general anaesthetic, Professor Marcus du Sautoy goes in search of answers to one of science's greatest mysteries: how do we know who we are? While the thoughts that make us feel as though we know ourselves are easy to experience, they are notoriously difficult to explain. So, in order to find out where they come from, Marcus subjects himself to a series of probing experiments.
He learns at what age our self-awareness emerges and whether other species share this trait. Next, he has his mind scrambled by a cutting-edge experiment in anaesthesia. Having survived that ordeal, Marcus is given an out-of-body experience in a bid to locate his true self. And in Hollywood, he learns how celebrities are helping scientists understand the microscopic activities of our brain. Finally, he takes part in a mind-reading experiment that both helps explain and radically alters his understanding of who he is.
Submitted by Exponential Times on Wed, 2013-02-27 06:49
Malcolm Maclver's formative years were as a grade four dropout living with his off-the-grid parents in a remote part of northern Ontario, Canada. He's since overcompensated by getting training in a host of disciplines including computer science, philosophy, neuroscience, and engineering, and is now a professor of engineering and neurobiology at Northwestern University. He works on the relationship between how animals move and how they sense their environment. He also develops technology based on exotic movement and sensing capabilities of animals. He pioneered the development of a new sensor inspired by the ability of certain fish to sense using a self-generated electric field. This new technology holds great promise for enabling work around oil spills or in submerged vessels where ordinary vision is useless. He has served as science advisor for several sci-fi TV series and movies, blogs about science for Discover magazine, and develops science-inspired interactive art installations that have exhibited internationally.
Submitted by Exponential Times on Mon, 2013-01-28 07:53
My Mind's Eye: A Series of Video Interviews.
Episode 1 - The Mind Body Problem: An interview with Ned Block,
Silver Professor of Philosophy, Psychology and Neural Science at NYU