Consciousness is computational: The LIDA model of global workspace theory

Document Type: 
Article
Article Type: 
Theoretical
Disciplines: 
Artificial intelligence
Topics: 
Theory of Consciousness
Deposited by: 
Prof Stan Franklin on 18 February 2009
Date of Issue: 
2009
Authors: 
Bernard J. Baars, Stan Franklin
Journal/Publication Title: 
International Journal of Machine Consciousness
Alternative URL: 
http://csrg.cs.memphis.edu/csrg/assets/papers/2009/GWT-IJMC-2009.pdf
Abstract: 
We argue that the functions of consciousness are implemented in a bio-computational manner. That is to say, the conscious as well as the non-conscious aspects of human thinking, planning, and perception are produced by adaptive, biological algorithms. We propose that machine consciousness may be produced by similar adaptive algorithms running on the machine. Global Workspace Theory is currently the most empirically supported and widely discussed theory of consciousness. It provides a high-level description of such algorithms, based on a large body of psychological and brain evidence. LIDA provides an explicit implementation of much of GWT, which can be shown to perform human-like tasks, such as the interactive assignment of naval jobs to sailors. Here we provide brief descriptions of both GWT and LIDA in relation to the scientific evidence bearing on consciousness in the brain. A companion article explores how this approach could lead to machine consciousness (Franklin et al 2009 to appear). We also discuss the important distinction between volition and consciously mediated action selection, and describe an operational definition of consciousness via verifiable reportability. These are issues that may well bear on the possibility of machine consciousness.
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