By IEEE Spectrum
June 2, 2017
An integrated information theory could hold the answer to whether consciousness is computable.
Credit: Chad Hagen
The argument that consciousness is computable–and instillable within machines–cannot be verified or refuted until a measurable theory of consciousness becomes available, an integrated information theory (IIT) could hold the answer.
IIT identifies intrinsic existence, structure, integration, definition, and specificity as essential properties of all experiences of consciousness. IIT also dictates that the overall level of consciousness is based on its internal architecture, one that has a maximum of intrinsic cause-effect power.
Since IIT is expressed mathematically, it can be representative of any physical system, but a major drawback in terms of generating conscious machines is its stipulation that the computation or simulation of intrinsic causal power is impossible; it must be architected into the system’s physics.
IIT insists computers imbued with human-level intelligence and behaviors will not be truly conscious, but machines based on less conventional architectures, such as neuromorphic hardware schemes, could in principle exhibit significant conscious experience.
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