Ars on your lunch break: The nature of consciousness

Enlarge / Artist’s rendering of man experiencing awe while regarding the nature of consciousness.Adult Swim

Below, you’ll find the third installment of this week’s After On podcast interview. It’s with University of California, San Francisco neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley, about his trailblazing efforts to develop the medical potential (if any!) latent in video games. Check out part one and part two if you missed them.

Otherwise, press play on the embedded player, or pull up the transcript–both of which are below. The main topic today is consciousness. Adam has his own rather eclectic take on this mysterious force and presence.

His perspective actually inspired several elements my most recent novel (which like my podcast is called After On). Adam and I discuss his views, and how they infiltrated my writing. The final chunk of the podcast is a conversation between me and podcasting superstar Tom Merritt.

In it, Tom and I discuss my interview with Adam–as well as a chunk of the novel After On. You may want to skip this closing portion.

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Click here for a transcript and click here for an MP3 direct download.

Or not. The reason is that there aren’t any spoilers in this mini-interview (for the tiny percentage of you who might actually pick up my novel!).

More significantly, Tom and I discuss the process of writing science fiction (Tom is a fellow practitioner of this dark art). If storytelling interests you, this is something of a backstage look at how folks like us do our thing. If you enjoy my interview with Adam, a full archive of my episodes can be found on my site, or via your favorite podcast app, by searching under the words “After On.” The broader series is built around deep-dive interviews with world-class thinkers, founders, and scientists, and tends to be very tech- and science-heavy.

Finally, if you’re curious about the latest episode in the main After On podcast feed, last week I posted an interview with Great Britain’s Astronomer Royal Martin Rees. We of course discuss some astrophysical awesomeness, like gamma ray bursts. But our main topic is the existential dangers facing humanity in the 21st century.

If you find this topic interesting (or uplifting), you may want to check out the four-part essay I just starting posting on, called “Privatizing the Apocalypse.” This special edition of the Ars Technicast podcast can be accessed in the following places: iTunes: (Might take several hours after publication to appear.)




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