Sussex neuroscientist racks up more than 1 million views of latest TED Talk in under three months
By: Neil Vowles
Last updated: Tuesday, 4 January 2022
Professor Anil Seth has backed-up the success of his hugely popular first TED Talk – with his follow up gathering more than one million views within the first three months of release.
In his new TED Talk, How your brain invents your “self”, Prof Seth lays out his fascinating new theory of consciousness and self, centred on the notion that humans "predict" the world into existence.
It follows up on his original TED Talk, Your brain hallucinates your conscious reality, which has been viewed nearly 13 million times since its launch in April 2017 and which details how billions of neurons in the human brain work together to generate a conscious experience.
Prof Seth, Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex and Co-Director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, said: “Having the opportunity to give a second TED talk was both exciting and nerve-wracking, but was well worth it. My first talk is now well over 12 million views, a benchmark I don’t expect to reach this time around - but it is still wonderful to be able to update the TED audience on how the neuroscience of the ‘self’ has continued to evolve.”
The success of his latest TED Talk has been matched by his latest book, Being You: A New Science of Consciousness, which was released this summer to critical acclaim and became an instant Sunday Times bestseller.
The book, which explains Prof Seth’s radical new theory of consciousness and challenges current human understanding of perception and reality, has now been featured in a number of high-profile best of the year book compilations. Being You has been named among Bloomberg’s Best Books of the Year, an Economist Best Book of 2021, a New Statesman Best Book of 2021, among The Guardian’s Best Science Books of 2021 and in the Financial Times’ Best Books of 2021.
The Guardian called it “a vast-ranging, phenomenal achievement” and the Wall Street Journal said “If you only read one book about consciousness, it must be his.”
Prof Seth said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the hugely positive response to the book from both my colleagues, the media, and the wider public. I’d always hoped to the book to reach a large audience, and be well received, but it is never a good idea to expect such things.
“As well as the reviews, it’s been so meaningful to get a steady stream of emails from people all over the world who’ve read it and found something of value in it … and to see the book make its way across countries and continents.
“My hopes for the book - and the TED talk and my other engagement activities - are to spark and reward the interest of people who have felt fascinated by issues of brain, mind, and consciousness, but have never found an accessible way in. I also hope that it brings attention to the fantastic work of my colleagues, especially the students and researchers in my lab - without whom none of this would have been possible.”