London Futurists

What’s it like to be an AI, with Anil Seth

April 13, 2024 London Futurists Season 1 Episode 79
What’s it like to be an AI, with Anil Seth
London Futurists
More Info
London Futurists
What’s it like to be an AI, with Anil Seth
Apr 13, 2024 Season 1 Episode 79
London Futurists

As artificial intelligence models become increasingly powerful, they both raise - and might help to answer - some very important questions about one of the most intriguing, fascinating aspects of our lives, namely consciousness.

It is possible that in the coming years or decades, we will create conscious machines. If we do so without realising it, we might end up enslaving them, torturing them, and killing them over and over again. This is known as mind crime, and we must avoid it.

It is also possible that very powerful AI systems will enable us to understand what our consciousness is, how it arises, and even how to manage it – if we want to do that.

Our guest today is the ideal guide to help us explore the knotty issue of consciousness. Anil Seth is professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex. He is amongst the most cited scholars on the topics of neuroscience and cognitive science globally, and a regular contributor to newspapers and TV programmes.

His most recent book was published in 2021, and is called “Being You – a new science of consciousness”.

The first question sets the scene for the conversation that follows: "In your book, you conclude that consciousness may well only occur in living creatures. You say 'it is life, rather than information processing, that breathes the fire into the equations.' What made you conclude that?"

Selected follow-ups:

Music: Spike Protein, by Koi Discovery, available under CC0 1.0 Public Domain Declaration

Show Notes

As artificial intelligence models become increasingly powerful, they both raise - and might help to answer - some very important questions about one of the most intriguing, fascinating aspects of our lives, namely consciousness.

It is possible that in the coming years or decades, we will create conscious machines. If we do so without realising it, we might end up enslaving them, torturing them, and killing them over and over again. This is known as mind crime, and we must avoid it.

It is also possible that very powerful AI systems will enable us to understand what our consciousness is, how it arises, and even how to manage it – if we want to do that.

Our guest today is the ideal guide to help us explore the knotty issue of consciousness. Anil Seth is professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex. He is amongst the most cited scholars on the topics of neuroscience and cognitive science globally, and a regular contributor to newspapers and TV programmes.

His most recent book was published in 2021, and is called “Being You – a new science of consciousness”.

The first question sets the scene for the conversation that follows: "In your book, you conclude that consciousness may well only occur in living creatures. You say 'it is life, rather than information processing, that breathes the fire into the equations.' What made you conclude that?"

Selected follow-ups:

Music: Spike Protein, by Koi Discovery, available under CC0 1.0 Public Domain Declaration