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Speaker(s): Ned Beauman, Dr Kate Devlin, Professor Nicholas Humphrey
Chair: Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch
Recorded on 27 February 2016 at Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
While social psychologists and cognitive scientists affirm that minds do not exist separated from biological and social systems, our human utopias have always dreamt of a disembodied, free-floating consciousness. William Gibson invented cyberspace in 1984 and blew our minds away in Neuromancer: for the young rustlers, digitally enhanced cowboys ‘jacked into a custom cyberspace desk that projected disembodied consciousness into the consensual hallucination that was the matrix…the elite stance involved a certain relaxed contempt for the flesh. The body was meat.” Falling into the prison of flesh was the Fall and disembodying cognition the picture of our human future.
From Neuromancer to The Peripheral, Gibson tells the story of multiple interfaces between bodies-machines-environments-consciousness. Can consciousness exist independently of our human social selves? Will machines ever possess it? Does consciousness require a material base of any kind at all? Could it genuinely fly free of physical matter?
Ned Beauman's debut novel, Boxer, Beetle, won the Writers' Guild Award for Best Fiction Book and the Goldberg Prize for Outstanding Debut Fiction.
Kate Devlin (@drkatedevlin) is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computing at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Nicholas Humphrey is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at LSE, Visiting Professor of Philosophy at New College of the Humanities and Senior Member, Darwin College, Cambridge.
Sandra Jovchelovitch is a Professor in the Department of Social Psychology at LSE.
The Department of Social Psychology (@PsychologyLSE) is a leading international centre dedicated to consolidating and expanding the contribution of social psychology to the understanding and knowledge of key social, economic, political and cultural issues.
NERRI (Neuro-Enhancement: Responsible Research and Innovation) (@NERRI_eu) is a three-year project supported by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme which aims to contribute to the introduction of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in neuro-enhancement (NE) in the European Area and to shape a normative framework underpinning the governance of neuro-enhancement technologies.
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