The neuroscience of consciousness
The possibilities and limitations of A.I.
The neuroscience of augmented and virtual reality
Making decisions in a complex world
Anil Seth is a leading researcher, writer, and public engagement specialist in consciousness science, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence. He has broad experience of communicating new ideas from the forefront of research in these areas, which confront some of humanity’s greatest questions and challenges.
In his scientific work, Anil seeks to understand the biological basis of consciousness by integrating research across many different disciplines from mathematics to virtual reality to cognitive neuroscience and psychiatry.
As well as pioneering this interdisciplinary approach, he is recognised for his influential theories about how conscious experiences of the world and self are forms of ‘controlled hallucinations’. His work emphasises impact, driving fresh approaches to psychiatric disorders, shaping the development of neuroscientically-informed technologies in AI and beyond, and inspiring creative work in art and culture.
Anil is a sought-after speaker. His 2017 TED talk was rated by Wired as a ‘classic’ of the year and has been viewed over 7 million times since July 2017. He has given invited presentations at venues ranging from reclaimed bunkers in London to the Royal Institution Friday Discourse, and he is equally at home talking to high-school students, select groups of business and community leaders, or conference audiences in the thousands. Whatever the situation, he is known for his accessible and engaging style, coupled with a broad and deep knowledge.
He contributes regularly to many media including the New Scientist, The Guardian, and the BBC – for which he has appeared in ‘The Life Scientific’ and ‘The Infinite Monkey Cage’ among other shows. He is a featured scientist in the Vice/Motherboard feature documentary The Most Unknown, now on Netflix.
Anil's writings include editing and co-authoring "30 Second Brain" (Ivy Press, 2014), consulting for Eye Benders (Ivy Press, 2013; winner of the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize 2014) and contributing regularly to a variety of media including the New Scientist, The Guardian, and the BBC. He also writes the popular blog NeuroBanter.
Anil's pioneering research provides a window into the most mysterious and fundamental element of our existence - consciousness.
With exceptional clarity, and drawing upon a wealth of research and colourful examples, Anil explains that what we experience as consciousness is the result of hallucinations created by the brain - and what we call "reality" is the hallucinations we agree on.
The implications of his work are profound. What does this understanding of consciousness mean for the possibilities and limitations of A.I.? What about Virtual and Augmented Reality technology? What does it mean for the future relationship between human and machine? How does this change the way we think about decision-making?