July 20, 2016: Consciousness

What is consciousness and where does it come from? How do physical processes in the brain give rise to complex thoughts and emotions – as well as our sense of experiencing the world as individuals? Can consciousness be fully explained by those physical processes, and if so can we look forward to the rise of conscious machines?

Join us for the Empiricist League’s eighteenth gathering, featuring presentations and a panel discussion on consciousness with leading thinkers from the fields of physics, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence.

Doors at 7pm. First speaker starts at 7:30pm.

RSVP here.

Consciousness and Physics
George Musser is a contributing editor for Scientific American and Nautilus magazines, where he focuses on fundamental physics and space science. His most recent book is Spooky Action at a Distance: The Phenomenon That Reimagines Space and Time–and What It Means for Black Holes, the Big Bang, and Theories of Everything (2015). He has won many awards for his writing, including the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award, and as a senior editor at Scientific American for 14 years, he shared in two National Magazine Awards. Mr. Musser will talk to the Empiricist League about recent work in physics and its implications for consciousness.

Consciousness and the Brain
Dr. Heather Berlin is a cognitive neuroscientist and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She is also the host of the PBS series Science Goes to the Movies, and the Discovery Channel series Superhuman Showdown and has made numerous media appearances including on the BBC, History Channel, Netflix, StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson, and TEDx. Dr. Berlin will speak to the Empiricist League about recent research in neuroscience and its implications for our understanding of consciousness.

Consciousness and AI
John C. Havens is a contributing writer for Mashable, The Guardian, and Slate. He is the author of Hacking H(app)iness – Why Your Personal Data Counts and How Tracking it Can Change the World and has recently published his second title for Tarcher/Penguin, Heartificial Intelligence: Embracing Our Humanity to Maximize Machines. He will be speaking to the Empiricist League about what AI can teach us about consciousness, as well as the ramifications for conscious machines on our world.