Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Anil Seth: Your brain hallucinates your conscious reality (ted.com)
28 points by amelius on Aug 31, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 5 comments

Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream, merrily merrily, merrily, merrily life is but a dream.

A dream with error correction. When error correction is faulty due to being irrational, or asleep, or on certain drugs, all sorts of strange things appear.


"Consciousness" is used to mean lots of different things. The video talks about how we perceive ("are conscious of") the world and ourself.

I suspect that if we saw that a cat perceives the world and itself in much the same way as us, and acts on its observations, we would not hesitate long to believe it was conscious.

However, a computer can also be taught to perceive the world and itself, and act on its observations, and we would not call it conscious, because we think that it's still not aware that it's doing all that. But then we could teach it that. Etc. It's hard to formulate what's missing, but we humans feel conscious in a way that's more than just observation and introspection.

I suspect that once we no longer understand computers, we will eventually start to think of them as conscious too. Whether they really are will probably be impossible to know. [1]

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room#Consciousness

His lecture at the Royal Institution is better and more in depth.


Worth a watch if you have an hour to spare.

There's not a whole lot that has changed in our theory of consciousness between the the establishment of French existentialism, via Husserl, and this video.

Isn't this just representationalism?

I mean, I get that this presentation is based on more empirical grounds and on material which is more fleshed out than the speculations of long dead philosophers. But unless a person is unfamiliar with indirect realism, there isn't anything inherently mind-blowing about the idea of a "controlled hallucination". And this is what this TED talk is about.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact