Consciousness: Explored and Explained

Consciousness is a terrible curse. Or so says a character in screenwriter/director Charlie Kaufman’s Being John Malkovich. Part theater of the absurd and part neuroscience fiction, the Oscar-winning filmmaker’s work captures the splintering between what we perceive and what we feel as our brains grapple with multiple layers of reality. Neuroscientist Giulio Tononi, one of the world’s leading sleep researchers, casts new light on the science of the mind, probing where and how consciousness is generated in the brain. Watch this spellbinding conversation between Kaufman, Tononi, and moderator Alan Alda as they explore and explain the art, science, and mystery of consciousness.

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Original Program Date: June 5, 2010
MODERATOR: Alan Alda
PARTICIPANTS: Charlie Kaufman, Giulio Tononi

Alan Alda Introduction 00:00

Participant Introductions 03:45

Being John Malkovich setup video. 05:45

Charlie, what led you to that part of consciousness? 07:05

Just know where stuff happens in the brain doesn’t give you understanding of consciousness? 17:02

Whats the theory of what brings us consciousness? 27:45

Does consciousness have to do with individual elements that make up the whole? 31:55

Alan Alda gets tested on binocular rivalry. 38:47

Being John Malkovich helps explain inattentional blindness. 44:41

The rivalry of body vs consciousness 52:05

The Human brain vs an AI brain. 58:12

Finding consciousness by identifying what it is not. 01:07:00

What is sleep for? 01:18:02

Emotion tied to consciousness. 01:22:02
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