Computational consciousness

Dana H. Ballard

in Perception, Action, and Consciousness

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199551118
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191594960 | DOI:
Computational consciousness

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Much previous work has concentrated on finding a mechanistic explanation of how it feels to be conscious and, specifically, in trying to trace that feeling to the neural substrate. This chapter argues that the question of why consciousness exists may have a ready answer when compared to its useful partner, the unconscious. Unconscious programs represent repeated and reliable interactions between the agent and the world that can be coded invariantly for each case. Consciousness is used to direct the search for new programs, and in that search it becomes essential to distinguish the agent from the surround. It is further argued that since the neural hardware must be shared between the two states, consciousness must be handled at a higher level of abstraction that incorporates a bookkeeping strategy termed as tagging.

Keywords: consciousness; computer science; brain; computational role; neural substrates; abstraction

Chapter.  7015 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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