How does our subjective experience emerge from the brain? How does consciousness relate to the physical world? These age-old, deep questions are now at last being addressed directly and broadly by neuroscience and will become crucial in the decades to come.
The spectrum of consciousness-related conundrums is rapidly expanding: we are saving islands of human brain from devastating injuries, growing cerebral organoids in a vat, and building intelligent machines that perform faster and better than any healthy subject, just to mention a few.
Where does consciousness arise? Where is the boundary between insentient matter and a spark of subjectivity? Society needs to be scientifically and culturally prepared to face these emerging questions.
To do so, an approach with the broadest scope is needed: diverse theoretical frameworks, brain anatomy, physiology, and chemistry across scales and species, detailed and large-scale computer simulations, deep learning, neuromorphic computing, robotics, clinical neurology, anaesthesiology, psychology, behavioural, computational, and philosophical analysis must interact and blend on a single infrastructure.
These ingredients are naturally present in the Human Brain Project, and this workshop, stirred by world-leading scholars in the field, is where they come together for the first time in this multidisciplinary setting.