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Published: Jun.10.2011

How Consciousness is Like Las Vegas, and Where the Real Focus Should Be

Richard Shoup

Many scientists, this author included, are deeply frustrated with the thinking and discourse that currently surrounds the concept of "consciousness". In this talk, we discuss various meanings and definitions attributed -- generally unspecified or unspoken -- to consciousness, and how this lack of clarity leads to confusion with other concepts such as awareness, creativity, and experience, as well as with quantum measurement, psychic phenomena, and the existence of a personal identity. We discuss why it is a common misinterpretation of quantum mechanics to attribute the "creation" of physical reality to consciousness. Finally, we present several phenomena that genuinely ARE of interest in this regard, which do present serious evidence for the Self, and which deserve much more attention from science.

Bio: Richard Shoup obtained his B.S.E.E. and Ph.D. Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. In 1970, he became one of the earliest employees at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, where he built one of the first digital painting and animation systems for video and graphic arts. For his pioneering computer graphics work, Shoup later received both an Emmy and an Academy Award. Shoup left Xerox in 1979 to co-found Aurora Systems, an early manufacturer of digital videographics and animation systems. In 1993, Shoup joined Paul Allen's Interval Research Corporation in Palo Alto, and in 2000, he co-founded the Boundary Institute, a small non-profit research group studying foundations of physics, mathematics, and computer science.