VII. WumanKinder: An EarthSphere Transition in Individuality
4. Conscious Integrated Information Knowledge
Singer, Ming. Unbounded Consciousness. London: Free Association Books, 2001. A work in progress toward a synthesis of philosophy, psychology, quantum physics, and nonlinear systems which argues for a complementarity and superposition of qualia (felt awareness) and quanta (objective aspects) of the dynamically emergent self.
Tagliazucchi, Enzo. The Signatures of Conscious Access and its Phenomenology are Consistent with Large-scale Brain Communication at Criticality. Consciousness and Cognition. 55/136, 2017. A Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience scholar (search ET website) scopes out a necessary synthesis of the global workspace and integrated information models, see G. Mashour, et al above. By so doing, he adds a further aspect by noting a move toward and poise at an active critical mode.
Conscious awareness refers to information processing in the brain that is accompanied by subjective, reportable experiences. Current models of conscious access propose that strong sensory stimuli can ignite a global network of regions which allows further processing. The immense number of possible experiences indicates that activity associated with awareness must be highly differentiated. However, information need also be integrated to account for the unitary nature of consciousness. We present a computational model that identifies conscious access by way of self-sustained percolation in an anatomical network. We show that the amount of integrated information is maximal at the critical state threshold. (Abstract excerpt)
Tannenbaum, Arnold. Consciousness and the Self-Sensing Brain. American Journal of Psychology. 119/2, 2006. The University of Michigan psychologist expands his theory of a dynamical sentience which emerges via self-organizing complex adaptive systems from sensory experience.
This article builds on the argument in the literature that the brain senses itself and that a coherent sensing system within the brain, a sense of consciousness, is essential to the generation of consciousness and is a basis for the special richness of human subjective experience. (205)
Taylor, John. Mind and Consciousness: Towards a Final Answer? Physics of Life Reviews. 2/1, 2005. A survey of quantum, synchronization, dynamical systems, narrative gravity, global workspace and relational mind approaches, each of some value, then leads the proposal of an advanced neuroscience model of attention. The journal and article can be reached via Google.
Taylor, John, et al. Introduction to the Special Issue on "Brain and Consciousness.". Neural Networks. 20/9, 2007. A collation that includes Walter Freeman, Bernard Baars, Axel Cleeremans, and other notables in this regard. As a ten year update to a 1997 issue, a salient advance might be the inclusion of complex system dynamics that can serve to illume modular hierarchies for the ascent of knowing awareness. (See L. Andrew Coward, and Freeman for examples)
Toker, Daniel and Friedrich Sommer. Greater Than the Sum: Integrated Information in Large Brain Networks. arXiv:1708.02967. Akin to Engel and Malone’s writings about Wikipedia, UC Berkeley neuroscientists apply Giulio Tononi’s collegial theory (search) of a tandem relation between a neural complex coherence and its aware content further afield than human cerebration. Here is another example of a prime natural principle, such as symbiosis, major transitions, and more, which is finding increasing apply across many realms.
Recent work in information theory has produced a sound measure of integrated information based on time-series data, which quantifies how much more information a system carries than the sum of its parts. As a principled measure of global information in complex systems, integrated information holds the promise of transforming a number of scientific fields, particularly neuroscience. Unfortunately, the measurement of integrated information involves a combinatorial search problem, which has made it impossible to measure this quantity in large systems such as brains. Here, we present a solution to this problem, reducing the computation time for large systems from longer than the timespan of the universe to just several hours. After evaluating our solution, we demonstrate that brain connectomes are structured in ways that facilitate high integrated information and provide the first measurement of integrated information in a real nervous system: the brain of Caenorhabditis elegans. (Abstract)
Toker, Daniel and Friedrich Sommer. Information Integration in Large Brain Networks. PLoS Computational Biology. February, 2019. UC Berkeley neuroscientists proceed to tidy up some mathematical issues with this popular theoretic synthesis by Giulio Tononi and many colleagues that appears to quantify a parallel, tandem relation between an aware cerebral sentience and a sapient knowledge content.
An outstanding problem in neuroscience is to understand how information is integrated across the many modules of the brain. While classic information-theoretic measures have transformed our understanding of feedforward information processing in the brain’s sensory periphery, comparable measures for information flow in the massively recurrent networks of the rest of the brain have been lacking. To address this, recent work has produced a sound measure of network-wide “integrated information.” But, a computational hurdle has stymied attempts to measure large-scale information integration in real brains. Here, we show that spectral clustering, applied on the correlation matrix of time-series data, provides an approximate but robust solution. Finally, we use our solution to support of the hypothesis that information integration is maximized by networks with a high global efficiency, and that modular network structures promote the segregation of information. (Abstract excerpt)
Tolson, Jay. Is There Room for the Soul? U. S. News & World Report. October 23, 2006. Unusual for a weekly newsmagazine, the article is a well-researched and written overview of the major players and viewpoints of the emerging field of consciousness studies. Yes there is a place, depending on what a “soul,” along with a personal self, is imagined to be.
Tononi, Giulio. Consciousness as Integrated Information. Biological Bulletin. 215/3, 2008. In a paper cited as a “provisional manifesto,” the University of Wisconsin psychiatrist sets out a detailed equation of sentient awareness with its contained knowledge. A mathematical exposition in cerebral qualia space of this “integrated information theory” (IIT) leads to the claim that consciousness ought to be appreciated as an intrinsic natural quality. A gradated evolutionary ascent is then seen to accord with relative information levels, or “discriminable states” with various encodings. Not said to be a panpsychism but as a result, as the several quotes aver, a radically different kind of universe and human becomes possible. Rather than the old moribund machine whereof people are “specks of dust,” if a rising, awakening sentience is the measure, human persons appear as its brightest, phenomenal center. Here, deep in the scientific literature, dawns some 70 years later just the vectorial tandem of complexity and consciousness that Pierre Teilhard de Chardin presciently foresaw in his cosmic genesis vision.
The IIT claims that, just as the quantity of consciousness generated by a complex of elements is determined by the amount of integrated information it generates above and beyond its parts, the quality of consciousness is determined by the set of all the informational relationships its mechanisms generate. (224)
Tononi, Giulio. Consciousness, Information Integration, and the Brain. Laureys, Steven, ed. The Boundaries of Consciousness: Neurobiology and Neuropathology. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2005. Sentient awareness is due to the brain’s modular capacity to join experience and knowledge into a coherent whole. Akin to the global workspace theory of Baars, Dehaene and Changeux, consciousness is associated with an informational content. But this not need be linguistic based for infants and animals are also seen as self-aware. One then wonders if humankind itself might reach a common consciousness, a grand intentional synthesis of human learning, the one story, which is an aim of this website.
Tononi, Giulio and Christof Koch.
Consciousness: Here, There but Not Everywhere.
After a decade of thought and research, the University of Wisconsin and Allen Institute for Brain Science neuroscientists post a summary document on this phenomenal occurrence both for its cerebral and evolutionary aspects. As the Abstract details, our aware sentience can be understood to arise from and supported by its relative knowledge content. As animal studies then aver, gradated degrees of informed cognition and sensory acumen can be traced through life’s procession back to the nematodes. By this 2010s synthesis, the long materialist or physicalist phase whereof mindful subjectivity is ephemeral can be set aside. While not a panpsychism, by this theory “consciousness is an intrinsic, fundamental property of reality.” Such a 21st century conclusion, aided by global collaborations, is seen to resolve and affirm deep intuitions from Plato to Teilhard.
The science of consciousness has made great strides by focusing on the behavioral and neuronal correlates of experience. However, correlates are not enough if we are to understand even basic neurological fact; nor are they of much help in cases where we would like to know if consciousness is present: patients with a few remaining islands of functioning cortex, pre-term infants, non-mammalian species, and machines that are rapidly outperforming people at driving, recognizing faces and objects, and answering difficult questions. To address these issues, we need a theory of consciousness that specifies what experience is and what type of physical systems can have it. Integrated Information Theory (IIT) does so by starting from conscious experience via five phenomenological axioms of existence, composition, information, integration, and exclusion. From these it derives five postulates about the properties required of physical mechanisms to support consciousness.
Tononi, Giulio, et al. Integrated Information Theory from Consciousness to its Physical Substrate. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 17/7, 2016. As this model which equates degrees of cognitive awareness with relative knowledge content grows in veracity and usage, Tononi with Melanie Boly, Marcello Massimini and Christof Koch (search names) proceed to discern its deeply rooted basis in material nature. At this late worldwise vantage, by way of many diagrams for brain anatomy and neural connections, human beings become ever more of a microscopic icon for an increasingly cerebral macrocosmos.