‘Tononi’s hypothesis predicted — with a whole lot of maths — that “devices as simple as a thermostat or a photoelectric diode might have glimmers of consciousness — a subjective self”.’
An intriguing, even if mind-boggling read.
It gets better.
‘Six years later, Tegmark proposed that there are two types of matter that could be considered according to the integrated information theory. The first is ‘computronium’, which meets the requirements of the first trait of being able to store, process, and recall large amounts of information. And the second is ‘perceptronium’, which does all of the above, but in a way that forms the indivisible whole Tononi described.’
And then this.
‘”If consciousness is indeed an emergent feature of a highly integrated network, as IIT suggests, then probably all complex systems — certainly all creatures with brains — have some minimal form of consciousness,” he says. By extension, if consciousness is defined by the amount of integrated information in a system, then we may also need to move away from any form of human exceptionalism that says consciousness is exclusive to us.”‘
The refutal of human exceptionalism may be a scary prospect to many people, including scientists. We’re desperate to be exceptional, more special than other life, and it’s not just the monotheistic religions that wind us up. Science believed for a long time that humans were the only life form with consciousness. (Classic human-centered prejudice, revamped for the times. From the soul of monotheisms to consciousness, changing the terms but not the script.)
Thankfully, science is changing tack. Human exceptionalism is refuted, study by study, and that’s a good thing. The world opens up to a plethora of possibilities, leading to a richer and dare I say more conscious state of existence.
From the bays of Pearl Coast,
Fish a ton of oysters, strike a shiny pearl.