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A Theoretical Computer Science Perspective on Consciousness

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The quest to understand consciousness, once the purview of philosophers and theologians, is now actively pursued by scientists of many stripes. This paper studies consciousness from the perspective of theoretical computer science. It formalizes the Global Workspace Theory (GWT) originated by cognitive neuroscientist Bernard Baars and further developed by him, Stanislas Dehaene, and others. Our major contribution lies in the precise formal definition of a Conscious Turing Machine (CTM), also called a Conscious AI. We define the CTM in the spirit of Alan Turing's simple yet powerful definition of a computer, the Turing Machine (TM). We are not looking for a complex model of the brain nor of cognition but for a simple model of (the admittedly complex concept of) consciousness. After formally defining CTM, we give a formal definition of consciousness in CTM. We then suggest why the CTM has the feeling of consciousness. The reasonableness of the definitions and explanations can be judged by how well they agree with commonly accepted intuitive concepts of human consciousness, the breadth of related concepts that the model explains easily and naturally, and the extent of its agreement with scientific evidence.


ConsciousControlFlow(CCF): A Demonstration for conscious Artificial Intelligence

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Currently, Artificial Intelligence (AI) gains great advances. However, current focus is functional AI, which provides some specific functions such as face recognition, the game of go and question-answer. Different from functional AI, conscious AI [6] aims to build AI systems with consciousness. Conscious AI will not only help to build better AI systems by solving the problem of data-driven approaches but also create the opportunity to study neuroscience and behavior science by connecting behavior with conscious activities. With its wide applications and great interests, many researchers devote to the model of consciousness.


Will we ever have Conscious Machines?

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The question of whether artificial beings or machines could become self-aware or consciousness has been a philosophical question for centuries. The main problem is that self-awareness cannot be observed from an outside perspective and the distinction of whether something is really self-aware or merely a clever program that pretends to do so cannot be answered without access to accurate knowledge about the mechanism's inner workings. We review the current state-of-the-art regarding these developments and investigate common machine learning approaches with respect to their potential ability to become self-aware. We realise that many important algorithmic steps towards machines with a core consciousness have already been devised. For human-level intelligence, however, many additional techniques have to be discovered.


Representation Internal-Manipulation (RIM): A Neuro-Inspired Computational Theory of Consciousness

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Many theories, based on neuroscientific and psychological empirical evidence and on computational concepts, have been elaborated to explain the emergence of consciousness in the central nervous system. These theories propose key fundamental mechanisms to explain consciousness, but they only partially connect such mechanisms to the possible functional and adaptive role of consciousness. Recently, some cognitive and neuroscientific models try to solve this gap by linking consciousness to various aspects of goal-directed behaviour, the pivotal cognitive process that allows mammals to flexibly act in challenging environments. Here we propose the Representation Internal-Manipulation (RIM) theory of consciousness, a theory that links the main elements of consciousness theories to components and functions of goal-directed behaviour, ascribing a central role for consciousness to the goal-directed manipulation of internal representations. This manipulation relies on four specific computational operations to perform the flexible internal adaptation of all key elements of goal-directed computation, from the representations of objects to those of goals, actions, and plans. Finally, we propose the concept of `manipulation agency' relating the sense of agency to the internal manipulation of representations. This allows us to propose that the subjective experience of consciousness is associated to the human capacity to generate and control a simulated internal reality that is vividly perceived and felt through the same perceptual and emotional mechanisms used to tackle the external world.


Eureka: A family of computer scientists developed a blueprint for machine consciousness

CMU School of Computer Science

Renowned researchers Manuel Blum and Lenore Blum have devoted their entire lives to the study of computer science with a particular focus on consciousness. They've authored dozens of papers and taught for decades at prestigious Carnegie Mellon University. And, just recently, they published new research that could serve as a blueprint for developing and demonstrating machine consciousness. That paper, titled "A Theoretical Computer Science Perspective on Consciousness," may only a be a pre-print paper, but even if it crashes and burns at peer-review (it almost surely won't) it'll still hold an incredible distinction in the world of theoretical computer science. The Blum's are joined by a third collaborator, one Avrim Blum, their son.