Daniel Dennett on the Evolution of the Mind, Consciousness and AI

How come there are conscious minds?
How do language and culture evolve?
Should we still teach children things which computers can do better?
Will our smart electronic devices rob us of our intelligence?
Will human intelligence and AI co-evolve?

These are some of the intriguing questions that Daniel Dennett, one of the most influential and provocative thinkers of modern times, sought to answer when he came to the Intelligence Squared stage to discuss his lifetime’s work on the evolution of the human mind. Dennett’s cross-disciplinary approach – encompassing neuroscience, evolutionary biology and artificial intelligence – has been widely acclaimed and helped redefine the role of the philosopher for our age.

In this exclusive event, Dennett explored the major themes of his forthcoming book, 'From Bacteria to Bach and Back', including how our minds came into existence, how our brains work, and how ideas are culturally transmitted. He explorede many of the notions we take for granted about how we think – such as the idea of the individual – offering instead a bold new explanation of human consciousness which views it largely as a product of cultural evolution built up over millennia.

Sharing the stage with Dennett were key figures from the next generation of scientists, AI experts, philosophers and artists, with whom he engaged on what it means to be human.