While browsing the internet, found following idea:
A new theory in neuroscience suggests consciousness is an intrinsic property of everything, just like gravity.
The theory, called Integrated Information Theory, states that consciousness appears in physical systems that contain many different and highly interconnected pieces of information. Based on that hypothesis, consciousness can be measured as a theoretical quantity, which the researchers call phi.
The theory treats consciousness as an intrinsic, fundamental property of reality.
Buddhists have a similar belief in what we in the West call ‘panpsychism’ — the belief that consciousness is everywhere and that we have to reduce the suffering of all conscious creatures.
The idea of universal consciousness, is a prominent thought in Buddhism. And it has been largely dismissed by modern science — until recently.
There are already pressing and practical needs for a way to measure consciousness. Doctors could use phi to tell if a person in a vegetative state is effectively dead, how much awareness a person with dementia has, when a foetus develops consciousness, how much animals perceive, or even whether a computer can feel.
This is perhaps the more urgent task with the birth of computer intelligence. We need to be able to answer the question of whether a machine is conscious. Does it feel anything? If so, what rights does it have? Is turning off computer & erasing hard-disks ethical? What should be our ethical obligations towards it?
For a perspective on how systems can acquire consciousness, if Consciousness emerges from Physical Systems, it will emerge from Artificial Systems too.
Blog author's comments.
i read, i think, i should investigate.
This theory is controversial, so far i considered computers to be Phenomena (without mind) rather than Beings (with mind).
When we consider thinking, we usually equalize many concepts.
There can be:
- Thinking of beings,
- Artificial thinking,
- Abstract thinking.
Thinking beings can be living or dead (during bardo, before reincarnation).
Artificial thinking refers to decision making processes of computers, including artificial intelligence learning & decision making. Computers do not think, these calculate with side effects.
Abstract thinking is generalization of thinking of beings and artificial thinking, but artificial thinking is not the same as thinking of beings. Precisely speaking - artificial thinking is not thinking, but computation - calculation with side effects.
So far i thought that Computers do not have Mind. But if Consciousness can be found everywhere, if it aggregates around pieces of information - perhaps i should reconsider.
However, before accepting IIT as valuable, following questions come to mind:
- Is there difference between Mind & Consciousness?
- Can 'phi' measure apply to computers as well as to living beings?
- Can computers have all of human-perceptions sensors connected?
- Can computations be compared to biological mechanisms of thinking?
- Can computers feel?
- Can mind perceive without sensory organs as well (eyes, ears, ...)? Brain & Nervous System are not Mind, it's a 'Consciousness Filter' through which human body perceives Mind,
- How does quantum entanglement & quantum computing relate? While these can allow to communicate at distance, is it enough to perceive mind?
May all beings have happines and causes of happiness,
May they be free from suffering and the cause of suffering,
May they always experience true happiness, which is totally free from suffering,
May they remain in the great equanimity, which is beyond attachment and aversion.
OM MAHAKALAYE SOHA
OM A RA PA CA NA DHIH
OM MANI PEME HUNG
OM AMI DEWA HRI
OM KALACHAKRA SOHA
OM AH HUNG BENZA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG
Namaste, blessed be.