Anil Seth Profile picture
Neuroscientist: consciousness, perception, & dreamachines. TED speaker, & author: Being You - A New Science of Consciousness.
Jan 30 14 tweets 4 min read
1/🧵 Lots of fuss and bother about the announcement from @neuralink today about having implanted their tech in a human brain for the first time.… 2/ This technology is definitely advancing, and there are many exciting implications, especially in medicine: restoring function in people with paralysis, or after loss of vision, or some other sense, &c. And its great to have more players in this field to drive progress.
Dec 18, 2023 25 tweets 12 min read
1/🧵 Here's some books I read & (increasingly) listened to during 2023 - and before we get going, do consider getting #BeingYou if you haven't already - or leaving an @amazon review if you have 🙏🏽 Its now in translated into 8 languages w/ 6 more coming
Image 2/ A great companion is #TheExperienceMachine, by Andy Clark @CogsAndy - his latest on predictive processing, and excellent on how ideas like active inference and the extended mind can work together.…
Nov 1, 2023 16 tweets 5 min read
1/🧵 As the UK #AISummit gets going, a reminder that AI is not about to become conscious, but that even AI that merely *seems* conscious will still pose grave ethical/social concerns. As @demishassabis said, this is not the time to move fast & break things… 2/ Intelligence and consciousness are very different thngs. Intelligence is about doing the right thing at the right time, while consciousness is about having subjective experience. You don't have to be (species-level) smart, in order to suffer. Image
Oct 3, 2023 9 tweets 2 min read
1/🧵 There are times when we acutely regret our unintended actions. For me, this is one. Regarding the ‘IIT as pseudoscience’ letter, I was quoted in The Atlantic saying something I sincerely regret, questioning peoples’ knowledge of IIT, and ... 2/ ... of the implications of signing the letter. I deeply apologise for this, and I unreservedly retract the quote.
Aug 27, 2023 10 tweets 4 min read
1/ Interesting (long) post on AI consciousness, which makes some good points. But there are (it seems to me) many misconceptions too. What AI folk think about consciousness is important, so let's have a look 👀 2/ Consciousness (raw subjective experience, C) is not the same thing as self-awareness (which entails more than this) and sentience (which requires less). There is also no necessary connection between consciousness and free will or (arguably) agency (depends on your thoery) Image
Jul 6, 2023 13 tweets 3 min read
1/ "Why finding the neural correlates of consciousness is still a good bet" - my @NautilusMag take on the wager between @davidchalmers42 & Christof Koch, and (more so) on the first @ArcCogitate results, announced at @theASSC NYC 👇🏽…
2/ A few things to emphasise. First, adversarial collaborations are really hard - in design, implementation, and marshalling of the strong minds involved. Huge credit to Lucia Melloni @ncc_lab, @Liad_Mudrik & Michael Pitts for managing it so successfully - a real achievement👏🏽🙏🏽
Jan 27, 2023 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:
Jan 2, 2023 4 tweets 3 min read
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."
Dec 26, 2022 27 tweets 19 min read
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.…
Oct 13, 2022 6 tweets 4 min read
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
Oct 12, 2022 4 tweets 3 min read
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
Oct 8, 2022 11 tweets 5 min read
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'
Oct 6, 2022 4 tweets 2 min read
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
Jul 7, 2022 18 tweets 9 min read
1/🧵 Do you what I see? Today we launch #ThePerceptionCensus, part of @Drea_m_achine, and one of the largest citizen science studies on human perception ever undertaken. Check out this video, and discover more (and sign up) here: Image 2/ It may seem to us that we experience the world ‘as it is’, but in fact we each inhabit a unique, personalised ‘inner universe’. Just as we all differ on the outside, we all differ on the inside too. Image
Jun 15, 2022 10 tweets 6 min read
1/ A little late to the #LaMDA party, but here's my 2p for what it's worth 🧵. Basically, I agree with @GaryMarcus (& the vast majority of the AI/neuro community) that there is no reason whatsoever to believe that #LaMDA is conscious… 2/ #LaMDA is a highly impressive 'word sequence model' (h/t @rogerkmoore) which can give the impression of intelligent understanding, but it is a mistake to take this (variable) impression as evidence for actual intelligent understanding.
May 31, 2022 27 tweets 14 min read
1/ A milestone I had hoped not to mark. Today is 6 months since my COVID infection, and I’m still on my #LongCovid journey. Time for a few thoughts. Longish 🧵👇🏽 2/ TLDR version: it’s rough as hell, don’t get COVID, if you do get COVID then do what you can to stop it going long (there are things), if it does go long then rest, take care of your body and mind, you’re not alone & there is hope
May 4, 2022 14 tweets 7 min read
1/ Theories of Consciousness – out now in @NatRevNeurosci. In this review (and mild manifesto), Tim Bayne & I survey the current landscape of theories of consciousness (ToCs), examine how they relate to each other and to empirical data …… 2/ .. and outline three ways we think theories need to be developed to deliver a mature regimen of theory-testing in the neuroscience of consciousness.
May 4, 2022 4 tweets 2 min read
1/3 Just finished @Ananyo Bhattacharya's excellent The Man From The Future - a compelling biography of one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th Century - John von Neumann. And it's more than that.… 2/3 Surveying von Neumann's visionary contributions, the book takes in the birth of quantum mechanics, the foundations of mathematics, the development of atomic and nuclear weapons, the origins of the computer, the development of game theory, & the beginnings of artificial life.
Sep 2, 2021 20 tweets 10 min read
1/20 FINALLY – its launch day (UK, @FaberBooks) for Being You – A New Science of Consciousness. It will be in bookshops around the country, and also available online (hardback, eBook audiobook) - more details at and at… 2/20 I’m excited to talk about the book this evening at the Royal Institution @Ri_Science, in person and online, starting at 7pm and followed by beers. Now with added @AdamRutherford. Tickets available here:…
Sep 1, 2021 4 tweets 3 min read
Today things 1/4: The audiobook and ebook versions of Being You are *now available* for download (UK only I'm afraid) ahead of the hardback launch tomorrow, see… Today things 2/4: After many months of development with @moocowmedia (thank you 🙏🏽) I have a new, vastly revamped website, which goes live today🍾 Check it out here:
Jun 15, 2021 14 tweets 6 min read
1/n How can we identify and measure ‘emergent’ processes in complex systems? Here’s a new #arXiv preprint addressing this question, by Lionel Barnett (@LionelBarnett2) and me. It’s all about ‘Dynamical Independence’. Thread: 2/n Emergence is a popular but difficult to grasp concept. We all have strong intuitions about when macroscopic processes ‘emerge’ from the micro-level constituents – as in flocks (murmurations) of starlings.