Roger Beaty is a postdoctoral fellow in cognitive neuroscience working with Daniel Schacter in the Schacter Memory Lab at Harvard University. His research explores the neural and cognitive basis of creativity. In particular, he studies the roles of memory systems and cognitive control in creative thought.
Keith Frankish is a philosopher and writer. He is an Honorary Reader in Philosophy at the University of Sheffield, a Visiting Research Fellow (formerly Senior Lecturer) at The Open University, and an Adjunct Professor with the Brain and Mind Program in Neurosciences at the University of Crete. His interests lie mainly in philosophy of mind, and he is well known for defending an illusionist view of phenomenal consciousness and a two-level theory of the human mind. In this exclusive interview he discusses his ideas on the relationship between Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness.
Subhash Kak is an Indian American computer scientist. He is Regents Professor and a previous Head of Computer Science Department at Oklahoma State University–Stillwater who has made contributions to cryptography, artificial neural networks, and quantum information.
Arthur I. Miller is fascinated by the nature of creative thinking – the mind’s ability to transform information from everyday experiences into the most sublime works of art, literature, music and science. Professor Emeritus at University College London, he is currently completing a book on AI and creativity in art, literature and music, ‘Mozart’s Flute: Genius and Creativity in the Age of Machines’.
“As a metaphysical artist I am concerned with a three-way comparison between: metaphysics (science of subject / why), Science of object (how), and information technology, the most important metaphor we have for the nature of consciousness.”
“To avoid killing its essence, rather than as a specimen to pin down and dissect, it is best to think of spirituality as related to experience – often subtle, but also usually powerful and emotionally charged experience. The spiritual dimension is therefore better considered as an adventure playground to explore, full of fun, challenge and excitement, of opportunities to test oneself, to learn and to grow.”
Larry Culliford was a hospital doctor and GP before becoming a psychiatrist. In 1998, he helped found the ‘spirituality and psychiatry’ special interest group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. In this exclusive interview he discusses his experience and ideas into understanding the psychology of spirituality.
Bill Viola is a seminal figure in the field of video creating installations, films, sound environments, flat panel video pieces and works for concerts, opera and sacred spaces for over four decades. Viola uses video to explore the phenomenon of sense perception as an avenue to self-knowledge. His works focus on universal human experiences and have roots in both Eastern and Western art as well as spiritual traditions, including Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and Christian Mysticism. Using the inner language of subjective thoughts and collective memories, his videos communicate to a wide audience, allowing viewers to experience the work directly, and in their own personal way.
“My art seeks to give form to those processes of thought which have yet to be fully articulated and to explore the enormous scope of the beautiful and delicately balanced neural choreographies designed to reflect what is occurring in our own minds as we think.
In the ‘Contemplation’ series of drawings the process of repetitive mark-making enables a heightening of concentration, acting like a visual mantra or kasina, focussing shifting thoughts and intending to settle the mind of the practitioner.
Building up in layers, the work plays with the transitory nature of light and perception. The viewer becomes a part of the process, whose eyes move across the work, creating an opportunity of awareness into the temporal nature of reality and, hopefully, stillness of the mind.”
Jasper Sharp is a writer, curator and filmmaker. He is the co-director of The Creeping Garden (2014) and the author of The Creeping Garden: Irrational Encounters with Plasmodial Slime Moulds (Alchimia, 2015).
Will Holloway is a London-based poet who writes about science and other public themes. His collection Better Than Paradise is due to be published by Smokestack Books in 2018.