Anil Seth Profile picture
Jan 27 10 tweets 5 min read
1/ Interesting #antisocial on @BBCRadio4 w/ @adamfleming, @mocost, Rachel Winder, others on #neurodiversity (…). It relates to our recent work on ‘perceptual diversity’, and our attempt to measure it with #ThePerceptionCensus
2/ Why use a different term ‘perceptual diversity’? The original definition of neurodiversity from @singer_judy, rightly emphasised that *everyone* is different and that differences are not deficits. So there is no single ‘neurotypical’ ‘textbook’ brain (as @mocost said). But:
3/ The term neurodiversity has tended to become associated with neurodivergent conditions, such as autism and ADHD – as evidenced by the focus on these conditions in @adamfleming’s programme.
4/ This association may ironically reinforce the idea that if you don’t identify with a neurodivergent condition, then you are ‘neurotypical’ and experience things 'as they are.'
5/ But just as we all differ on the outside, we all differ on the inside too. (There is also variation within the 'predominant neurotype'). There is much to be gained by fully recognising that we *all* experience the world – and the self – in different ways.
6/ Such a recognition could cultivate a better understanding of (and empathy with) neurodivergent conditions, as well as bring about a richer society in general (echoing the original neurodiversity parallel with biodiversity).
7/ To put the idea of perceptual diversity on a firm evidence base, we need to get out there and measure how perceptual experiences differ among *all* of us – which is what #ThePerceptionCensus is aiming to do.
8/ We’ve already had more than 20,000 people take part from over 100 countries, so please join in and help us advance the researchm - and learn about your own powers of perception too. Find out more here… and take part
9/ My hope is that by mapping out the hidden landscape of inner diversity, we will be better able to embrace, and benefit from, the full range of how people experience the world (and the self) – whether neurodivergent or not…
10/ whoops got the hashtag wrong, #bbcantisocial - for the above thread on neurodiversity, perceptual diversity, and #ThePerceptionCensus

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More from @anilkseth

Jan 2
1/ Excellent @guardian #BigIdea piece on agency, 'free will', and the point of feeling that one could have done otherwise by @philipcball - you certainly won't regret your decision to read it 👇🏽…
2/ It's a terrific distillation of a very sensible view on these thorny issues. So much to agree with, e.g.: "There is no such world in which “everything is the same except my decision”. The decision is not somehow superimposed on the rest of the world, but emerges from it."
3/ Also: "our volitional neural circuits are genuine causes of things that happen. We don’t change the future (a meaningless concept), but rather we are a part of what creates it." - to which new work in causal emergence may be relevant
Read 4 tweets
Dec 26, 2022
1/25 Since it’s that time of the year, here’s some (maybe all) of the books I’ve read or listened to in 2022, roughly in chronological order 📚👇🏽
2/ Exact thinking in demented times, by Karl Sigmund. A fascinating, lyrical, vivid, and deeply researched history of the Vienna Circle. Takes a while, but repays handsomely.…
3/ Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke. How she conjures such a vivid and magical world with just words I have no idea. It is a world I did not want to leave. Read it, and then listen to Chiwetel Ejiofor read it to you. Wonderful.…
Read 27 tweets
Oct 13, 2022
1/ Fascinating new @NeuroCellPress paper by @CorticalLabs showing that neuronal cultures can be trained to play Pong through a training regime based on active inference… - 👏🏽 @ANeuroExplorer, Hon Weng Chong and colleagues
2/ I greatly admire the work, but I am concerned about the "exhibit sentience" in the title of the paper. True, sentience can be formally defined merely as 'responsiveness to sensory impressions' - but many people interpret it as a minimal form of consciousness or awareness
3/ There is *no reason* to suppose that @CorticalLabs #DishBrain experiences anything at all, and confusion over this issue is dangerous because the prospect of synthetic awareness in cultures/organoids is ethically highly problematic
Read 6 tweets
Oct 12, 2022
Really enjoyed this opening panel on "AI, sentience, and hype" at #WSAI22 @WorldSummitAI - many 🙏🏽 to my fellow panelists (& brilliant host @Kantrowitz), and I'm so sad I can't be there IRL ...
I talk more about the prospects and pitfalls of 'machine consciousness' in my book Being You - A New Science of Consciousness, elaborating on the distinction between consciousness and intelligence & much more
... and forgive me for a blatant plug - people at #WSAI22 @WorldSummitAI do please consider taking part in #ThePerceptionCensus to help us advance research into 'perceptual diversity' and discover more about your own powers of perception
Read 4 tweets
Oct 8, 2022
1/ A great summary of the @NobelPrize winning work in Physics this year, awarded to John Clauser, Alain Aspect, & Anton Zeilinger - by @dangaristo in @sciam…
2/ It's great to see the Physics prize recognise work in the fundamentals of quantum mechanics (QM) - in particular the fantastically creative & rigorous experimental work, stretching back decades, showing that the universe is not 'locally real'
3/ The experiments test, in various ways, the famous 'Bell inequalities' - formulated by the physicist John Bell (who sadly died in 1990, & so could not benefit from the prize).…
Read 11 tweets
Oct 6, 2022
1/ "The afterlife is in our heads". A detailed and balanced analysis of Near Death Experiences (NDEs) by @KristenFrench in @NautilusMag - well worth reading…
2/ There's a near-dead-give-away quote right up top, from Lujan Comas: "For us, it’s important to demonstrate that death is only for the material body". Using 'demonstrate that' rather than 'investigate whether' speaks volumes
3/ I don't deny that NDEs are extremely meaningful for those that have them, but to take their content literally is to make a common confusion between 'how things seem' and 'how things are' - a confusion that bedevils all of perception, in one way or another
Read 4 tweets

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