The experience dependent dynamics of human consciousness

Open Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):116-143 (2018)
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By reviewing most of the neurobiology of consciousness, this article highlights some major reasons why a successful emulation of the dynamics of human consciousness by artificial intelligence is unlikely. The analysis provided leads to conclude that human consciousness is epigenetically determined and experience and context-dependent at the individual level. It is subject to changes in time that are essentially unpredictable. If cracking the code to human consciousness were possible, the result would most likely have to consist of a temporal pattern code simulating long-distance signal reverberation and de-correlation of all spatial signal contents from temporal signals. In the light of the massive evidence for complex interactions between implicit (non-conscious) and explicit (conscious) contents of representation, the code would have to be capable of making implicit (non-conscious) processes explicit. It would have to be capable of a progressively less and less arbitrary selection of temporal activity patterns in a continuously developing neural network structure identical to that of the human brain, from the synaptic level to that of higher cognitive functions. The code’s activation thresholds would depend on specific temporal signal coincidence probabilities, vary considerably with time and across individual experience data, and would therefore require dynamically adaptive computations capable of emulating the properties of individual human experience. No known machine or neural network learning approach has such potential.



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Birgitta Dresp-Langley
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

References found in this work

What is it like to be a bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
On a confusion about a function of consciousness.Ned Block - 1995 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.
Consciousness Explained.Daniel C. Dennett - 1993 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (4):905-910.
Consciousness Explained.William G. Lycan - 1993 - Philosophical Review 102 (3):424.

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