Consciousness: a journey from the mind to the brain
Consciousness is our private universe: people, objects and colours, sounds, pleasures, pains, thoughts and feelings – any possible experience. We know that consciousness depends on the brain, but how and why it happens is still an insoluble mystery.
The theory of integrated information takes its cue from the essential properties of experience and derives properties that are necessary and sufficient for the consciousness physical substrate. The theory explains why some brain parts are important and other are not and why consciousness disappears during certain sleep stages, in spite of the fact that the neural activity is similar to that of waking.
New methods inspired by the theory are opening possibilities to assess the consciousness degree of patients with brain injuries, during the development, and in species other than ours. One of the most significant and current implications of the theory is that calculators, in spite of their possibility to act in a way that is indistinguishable from humans and including to surpass our intelligence, will necessarily lack consciousness.
Chariman: Giuseppe Plazzi.