Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Thompson on Tononi's integrated information theory

From this article:

"Despite Tononi’s bold claim that 'consciousness is one and the same thing as integrated information' (2008, p. 232), integrated information does not seem sufficient for consciousness. On the one hand, even simple systems have some degree of integrated information, so the equation of consciousness and integrated information implies that even simple systems, such as a photodiode, have some degree of consciousness. On the other hand, complex digital computers can possess a high amount of integrated information. Yet neither system is conscious (at least the attribution of consciousness to such systems seems highly implausible) (see Searle 2013). As Ned Block (2009) points out, the integrated information theory fails to distinguish between intelligence, in the sense of being able to solve complex problems by integrating multiple sources of information, and consciousness, in the sense of sentience or felt awareness (phenomenal consciousness). Since integrated information does not seem sufficient for consciousness—let alone identical to it—the presence or absence of integrated information cannot be the crucial mark of whether a state is conscious or not conscious."

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