Consciousness

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Consciousness in popular culture

Following up on last week’s Q&A, here’s some info:

We talked about some of the following:
Stanisław Lem’s book Solaris (and others), which discusses the impossibility to infer consciousness from behaviour from an entirely different life form. It was made into a film thrice, the two best-known ones being the 1972 version by the definitive intellectual’s filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, and once in 2002 Steven Soderbergh one starring George Clooney (it is, in fact, the infamous Clooney nude buttocks film, although it is not certain whether they belong to him or a stand-in). Though Tarkovsky is always brilliant, in both cases I recommend the book. (Still, if you’ve never seen a Tarkovsky film, you have developed eyes for nothing.)

I’d also like to point out Ex Machina, a film recently out about AI, which was recently reviewed for the New Scientist by Anil Seth, director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science (University of Sussex — by the way if anyone want’s to do a PhD with him starting 2015, deadline is 23 March).

In terms of altered states of consciousness, a person who has done a lot on out-of-body experiences (and on bodily consciousness and experience of prosthetics) is Olaf Blanke. People who have done interesting stuff on dreaming are Sophie Schwartz and Antti Revonsuo; for the function of dreams/sleep see also Philippe Peigneux. But many more do research on that.


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