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Jan 4, 2020

Rethinking Consciousness: A Scientific Theory of Subjective Experience

Posted by in categories: biological, food, neuroscience, robotics/AI

If you’re interested in mind uploading, I have a book that I highly recommend. Rethinking Consciousness is a book by Michael S. A. Graziano, who is a Princeton University professor of psychology and neuroscience.

Early in his book Graziano writes a short summary:

“This book, however, is written entirely for the general reader. In it, I attempt to spell out, as simply and clearly as possible, a promising scientific theory of consciousness — one that can apply equally to biological brains and artificial machines.”

The theory is Attention Schema Theory.

I found this work compelling because one of the main issues in mind uploading is how do you make an inanimate object (like a robot or a computer) conscious? Graziano’s Attention Schema Theory provides a methodology.

After reading the book, be sure to read the Appendix, in which he writes:

“First, it serves as a tutorial on the attention schema theory. The underlying logic of the theory will be described in its simplest form. Second, I hope that the exercise will show engineers a general path forward for artificial consciousness.”


Focusing attention can help an animal find food or flee a predator. It also may have led to consciousness. Tracing evolution over millions of years, Michael S. A. Graziano uses examples from the natural world to show how neurons first allowed animals to develop simple forms of attention: taking in messages from the environment, prioritizing them, and responding as Focusing attention can help an animal find food or flee a predator. It also may have led to consciousness. Tracing evolution over millions of years, Michael S. A. Graziano uses examples from the natural world to show how neurons first allowed animals to develop simple forms of attention: taking in messages from the environment, prioritizing them, and responding as necessary.

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