Can machines be conscious?

June 08, 2008

What are the essential properties of consciousness, those without which there is no experience whatsoever?

We think the answer to that question has to do with the amount of integrated information that an organism, or a machine, can generate.

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To be conscious, then, you need to be a single integrated entity with a large repertoire of states. Let's take this one step further: your level of consciousness has to do with how much integrated information you can generate. That's why you have a higher level of consciousness than a tree frog or a supercomputer.

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