Sep 25, 2021

What is Consciousness? Part I of the Documentary Consciousness: Evolution of the Mind

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, education, information science, robotics/AI

Consciousness: Evolution of the Mind Documentary (2021), a film by Alex Vikoulov, Part I, WHAT IS CONSCIOUSNESS?

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*Based on recent book The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind’s Evolution (2020) by evolutionary cyberneticist Alex M. Vikoulov, available as eBook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook on Amazon:…atfound-20

The study of consciousness needs to be lifted out of the mysticism that has dominated it. Consciousness is not just a matter of philosophy or spirituality. It’s a matter of hard science. It’s a matter of understanding the brain and the mind — a pattern structure made out of information. It’s also a matter of engineering. If we can understand the functionality of the brain, its neural code, then we can build the same functionality into our computer systems. We should recognize that our brain is not a “stand-alone” information processing organ, though: It acts as a central unit of our integral nervous system with recurrent data exchange within the entire organism and the Universe. Artificial consciousness may be within our grasp, however, not the way many AI researchers envision.

There’s no consensus on what produces consciousness, but everyone regardless of metaphysical views can agree what it is like to be conscious. Given that consciousness is subjectivity, what consciousness is like is what consciousness is.

Different species have a variety of their biological information processors which unsurprisingly results in qualia diversity. All species live in their own unique sensory universes. Consciousness and optimized information-processing are the two sides of one coin. Feeling and thinking are ways we process information, but our emotional sensation is normally faster than a conscious thought.

Contrary to conventional scientific wisdom, conscious minds as macro-level phenomena might have greater influence over the unfolding future than does the sum of their cognitive algorithms that are arguably their micro-level components. That’s why human consciousness is so scientifically elusive. Neuronal circuits supposedly give rise to cognitive modules, and these immaterial cognitive algorithms, in turn, give rise to meta-algorithmic conscious awareness, all in all at least two layers of emergence on top of “tangible” neurons.

Mammalian neural circuits, referred to as the limbic system, are responsible for human emotional intelligence and forming of long-term memories. The main structures of the limbic brain are the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus. The neocortex, the latest evolutionary addition, is present in primates and now culminated in the human brain with its two large cerebral hemispheres. The neocortex has been responsible for the development of human language, abstract thought, imagination and self-reflective consciousness. The neocortex is flexible enough to allow almost infinite learning abilities. The neocortex is also what has enabled human cultures to develop.

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