To the extent that consciousness is useful, it is useful in small quantities, and for very particular kinds of tasks. It's easy to understand why you would not want to be consciously aware of the intricacies of your muscle movement, but this can be less intuitive when applied to your perceptions, thoughts, and beliefs, which are also final products of the activity of billions of nerve cells.

From the Blog

  • Will Self
    Will Self

    The author Will Self and I appeared on stage together to discuss life, death, and what makes good writing.

  • Silicon Immortality: Downloading Consciousness into Computers
    Silicon Immortality: Downloading Consciousness into Computers

    Well before we understand how brains work, we may find ourselves able to digitally copy the brain's structure and able to download the conscious mind into a computer. What are the possibilities and challenges?

  • Q & A in New Scientist magazine
    Q & A in New Scientist magazine

    Read a Q&A with David in New Scientist to find out his latest ideas and advice to young scientists.

  • James Holmes’ Brain: Some Initial Speculations
    James Holmes’ Brain: Some Initial Speculations

    In the wake of the Aurora movie theater shooting, many people had the same questions: What kind of derangement is indicated by the horrific acts of James Holmes? What is wrong with his brain? How will his mental state play out in the courts?

Newsflashes

Sum named Book of the Year by New Scientist

Sum was the only book of fiction in New Scientist magazine's selection of Best Books of 2009.

6 Ways the Internet Will Save Civilization

Read David's new article in Wired magazine: "Apocalyse? No. Six Ways the Internet Will Save Civilization"

Guggenheim Fellowship

David has been named a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. He will use the fellowship opportunity to pursue the genetics and neuroimaging of synesthesia.

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