That Thinking Feeling

Wednesday, March 14, 2007 - 17:00

You think, therefore… what? We can’t be sure of much when it comes to consciousness. Not only do scientists not agree on what consciousness is – they don’t agree on whether they ever will be able to agree! What if you’re not you, but a self-aware supercomputer? Could you tell the difference? Is consciousness an emergent phase transition? What does that even mean? Grab the aspirin and help us explore these questions, together with a little help from A.I. expert Marvin Minsky.

Also, put down that can of Raid! He may be small and repulsive, but that cockroach in your pantry just might be contemplating its own existence. (Okay, now blast ‘m).


  • Marvin Minsky – Founder of MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and author of The Emotion Machine
  • Patricia S. Churchland – Professor of Philosophy, University of California, San Diego.
  • Jaron Lanier – Professor of Philosophy at University of California, Berkeley and author of Freedom and Neurobiology; Reflections of Free Will, Language, and Political Power
  • John R. Searle – Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Nicholas Strausfeld – Neurobiologist at the University of Arizona at Tucson.