Hakwan, Steve, and I discuss many issues around the scientific study of consciousness. Steve and Hakwan focus on higher order theories (HOTs) of consciousness, related to metacognition. So we discuss HOTs in particular and their relation to other approaches/theories, the idea of approaching consciousness as a computational problem to be tackled with computational modeling, we talk about the cultural, social, and career aspects of choosing to study something as elusive and controversial as consciousness, we talk about two of the models they’re working on now to account for various properties of conscious experience, and, of course, the prospects of consciousness in AI. For more on metacognition and awareness, check out episode 73 with Megan Peters.
- Hakwan’s lab: Consciousness and Metacognition Lab.
- Steve’s lab: The MetaLab.
- Twitter: @hakwanlau; @smfleming.
- Hakwan’s brief Aeon article: Is consciousness a battle between your beliefs and perceptions?
- Related papers
- An Informal Internet Survey on the Current State of Consciousness Science.
- Opportunities and challenges for a maturing science of consciousness.
- What is consciousness, and could machines have it?”
- Understanding the higher-order approach to consciousness.
- Awareness as inference in a higher-order state space. (Steve’s bayesian predictive generative model)
- Consciousness, Metacognition, & Perceptual Reality Monitoring. (Hakwan’s reality-monitoring model a la generative adversarial networks)
0:00 – Intro
7:25 – Steve’s upcoming book
8:40 – Challenges to study consciousness
15:50 – Gurus and backscratchers
23:58 – Will the problem of consciousness disappear?
27:52 – Will an explanation feel intuitive?
29:54 – What do you want to be true?
38:35 – Lucid dreaming
40:55 – Higher order theories
50:13 – Reality monitoring model of consciousness
1:00:15 – Higher order state space model of consciousness
1:05:50 – Comparing their models
1:10:47 – Machine consciousness
1:15:30 – Nature of first order representations
1:18:20 – Consciousness prior (Yoshua Bengio)
1:20:20 – Function of consciousness
1:31:57 – Legacy
1:40:55 – Current projects