David is one of the world’s best-known philosophers of mind and thought leaders on consciousness and I was a freshman at the University of Toronto when I first read some of his work. Since then Chalmers has been one of the few philosophers (together with Nick Bostrom) who has written and spoken publicly about the Matrix simulation argument and the technological singularity. (See for example David’s presentation at the 2009 Singularity Summit or read his The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis)
During our conversation with David we discuss topics such as: how and why Chalmers got interested in philosophy; his search in answering what he considers to be some of the biggest questions – issues such as the nature of reality, consciousness and artificial intelligence; the fact that academia in general and philosophy, in particular, doesn’t seem to engage technology; our chances of surviving the technological singularity; the importance of Watson, the Turing Test and other benchmarks on the way to the singularity; consciousness, recursive self-improvement, and artificial intelligence; the ever-shrinking of domain of solely human expertise; mind uploading and what he calls the hard problem of consciousness; the usefulness of philosophy and ethics; religion, immortality, and life-extension; reverse engineering long-dead people such as Ray Kurzweil’s father.
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Who is David Chalmers?
David Chalmers is a philosopher at the Australian National University where he is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Consciousness. Chalmers is also Visiting Professor of Philosophy at New York University and works in the philosophy of mind and in related areas of philosophy and cognitive science. He is particularly interested in consciousness, but also in all sorts of other issues in the philosophy of mind and language, metaphysics and epistemology, and the foundations of cognitive science.