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This is now a digital-only ThinkIn.
Consciousness is a tricky subject. Academics, philosophers, artists and mathematicians have grappled with its definition for centuries. There’s something mysterious about our perception of the world, and the way it gives rise to the feeling of conscious being. Something mysterious that makes us who we are.
With the increasing sophistication of artificial intelligence models — like Google’s LaMDA — questions about the nature of consciousness are surfacing. Can a programme be sentient? Do other animals possess a form of consciousness similar to ours? Do conscious things deserve particular rights? The brain and the body, the nervous system and the senses, all seem to play a role. What on earth is going on in there?
editor and invited experts
Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience, University of Sussex; Co-Director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness; Author of ‘Being You: a new science of consciousness’