“Interestingly, we are able to predict or anticipate our own decisions. Work by physiology professor Benjamin Libet at the University of California at Davis shows that neural activity to initiate an action actually occurs about a third of a second before the brain has made the decision to take the action. The implication, according to Libet, is that the decision is really an illusion, that “consciousness is out of the loop.” The cognitive scientist and philosopher Daniel Bennett describes the phenomenon as follows: “The action is originally precipitated in some part of the brain, and off fly the signals to muscles, pausing en route to tell you, the conscious agent, what is going on (but like all good officials letting you, the bumbling president, maintain the illusion that you started it all.)”
Ray Kurzweil’s 2005 book ‘The Singularity is Near’
If you’re keen to verify, the reference provided in Kurzweil’s notes is: Daniel C. Dennett, ‘Freedom Evolves’ (New York: Viking, 2003).
“…but like all good officials letting you, the bumbling president, maintain the illusion that you started it all.”
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