AI, Consciousness and the Case Against Reality w/ Donald Hoffman, Ph.D

Oct 23, 2019 · San Francisco, United States of America


Artificial Intelligence can drive cars, create music, recognize objects, find a new solar system, discover a hominid species, and trounce anyone in a game of Go. Reports of the limits have been exaggerated by some and underestimated by others, and we do not know what the future holds and what AI might be capable of.

Might it be possible for AI enjoy conscious experiences? Or even feel real love? Many physicalists claim that unconscious matter, with proper complexity, ignites consciousness, but there is yet to be a scientific theory—or even a remotely plausible idea—about how this might happen.

Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman proposes a new theory framework for understanding the mystery of consciousness and how it relates to AI. He argues, using evolutionary game theory, that brain activity cannot cause our conscious experiences or our behaviors, and asks the radical question: Can we rejig our spacetime interface to open new portals into the preexisting realm of conscious agents?

On Wednesday, October 23rd, Donald will present his theory of consciousness to the CoHack community and discuss how it might be used to solve some of the open problems in the fields of consciousness studies and AI. Following his talk, there will be a period of breakout sessions to drop in deeper with Donald and the community to share and discuss your own ideas on these mind-expanding topics.


Donald Hoffman, Ph.D, is a cognitive scientist and author of more than 90 scientific papers and three books, including Visual Intelligence: How We Create What We See (W.W. Norton, 2000). He received his BA from UCLA in Quantitative Psychology and his Ph.D. from MIT in Computational Psychology. He joined the faculty of UC Irvine in 1983, where he is now a full professor in the cognitive science department. He received a Distinguished Scientific Award of the American Psychological Association for early career research into visual perception, the Troland Research Award of the US National Academy of Sciences for his research on the relationship of consciousness and the physical world, and the Rustum Roy Award of the Chopra Foundation.

Learn more about Donald at: and check out his TED Talk here:



6:30pm: Arrive and mingle
7:00pm: Welcome, meditation and connection activity
7:15pm: Donald Hoffman
8:15pm: Breakout Sessions
9:15pm: Closing


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  • Consciousness Hacking - San Francisco

    Consciousness Hacking is a global community exploring technology as a catalyst for psychological, emotional and spiritual flourishing. It’s an inside-out perspective on how technology can serve us by changing our relationship to the world, rather than the world itself. Meetings will feature insightful talks, community building, and support for new ideas and concepts. Have an idea for a cool EEG or meditation app? How about a new approach to therapy that uses sound and light? Maybe you're interested in crea

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