Toward a Science of Consciousness 1998

Patrick Juola patrick at
Mon Apr 27 07:56:24 EST 1998

In article <6i1us6$qpi$1 at> jac at (Jim Carr) writes:
>tonmaas at (Ton Maas) writes:
>} "Mdg" <Mdg at> wrote:
>} >Leads me to a question I always wondered about, say we hit the point where
>} >we can actually map a human brain to a fine enough detail that we can
>} >simulate it's behavior on a computer.  Will the simulation be conscious?
>} According to neurophysiologists Varela & Maturana consciousness is
>} restricted to autopoietic systems - which by definition produce their own
>} organization by an evolutionary process not unlike "tinkering". Seems like
>} the conscious computer will have to invent itself from scrap in order to
>} ever attain consciousness :-)
>patrick at (Patrick Juola) writes:
>>Unfortunately, this definition is immediately and trivially incorrect.
>>Individual humans do not evolve; evolution is a process restricted to
>>populations.  An individual human (which I assume is conscious) is
>>largely a copy of prior humans -- and so a sufficiently detailed copy
>>of a human organism should also be conscious, by a similar process.
> Largely, but part of that "copy" is a brain that is a work in progress 
> whose structure is not wholly dictated by genetics.  Although not 
> evolution in the strict sense of evolutionary biology, the brain 
> does change and adapt.  A 'sufficiently detailed copy' would have to 
> include those rules that allow the 'tinkering' the previous posted 
> noted was important. 

But that's part of the "fine enough detail" described above.  Hell,
Hebbian adaptation has been known about for at least fifty years;
the idea that neural architecture changes in fine details is the
central focus behind the modern "neural network" paradigm.  So are you
suggesting that we've had conscious computers since 1986?


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