Institut für Grundlagen der Informationsverarbeitung
O.Univ.-Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Maass
Office hours: by appointment (via e-mail)
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Robert Legenstein
Office hours: by appointment (via e-mail)
is intended for master students, and does not require knowledge
from specific courses.
Two interrelated questions will be discussed in this seminar:
a) When can one say that a machine is conscious, and what would be required to build such a machine?
b) How is consciousness defined by neuroscientists, and what evidence exists for concrete brain mechanisms that implement consciousness?
The first question is addressed by a relatively new research area „Machine Consciousness“ or „Artificial Consciousness“. Many papers in this area are of dubious scientific value, but there are also some interesting ones. We will discuss parts of two of them:
1. Long, L. N., & Kelley, T. D. (2010). Review of consciousness and the possibility of conscious robots. Journal of Aerospace Computing, Information, and Communication, 7(2), 68-84. http://www.personal.psu.edu/~lnl/papers/consc_JACIC_2010.pdf
The talk about this paper should focus on sections 2, 3, and 4.
2. Reggia, J. A. (2013). The rise of machine consciousness: Studying consciousness with computational models. Neural Networks, 44, 112-131.
The talk about this paper should focus on brief characterizations of the 5 approaches to define consciousness listed on p. 116, and then characterize each of them briefly (note that the book by Dehaene that we will also next focuses on definition 1, talk 11. --if given-- will focus on definition 2; hence fewer details are needed for these).
We will next discuss 2 papers from a prominent neuroscientist at Princeton, Michael Graziano, that propose specific definitions of consciousness that are in principle within the reach of artificial machines (see last section of the first one of the two papers):
3. Graziano, M. S., & Webb, T. W. (2014). A mechanistic theory of consciousness. International Journal of Machine Consciousness, 6(02), 163-176. http://www.princeton.edu/~graziano/Webb_Graziano_2014.pdf
See also the article - Graziano, M. (2014). Are we really conscious. Sunday Review. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/12/opinion/sunday/are-we-really-conscious.html?_r=1 which summarizes the main points.
4. Graziano, M. S., & Kastner, S. (2011). Human consciousness and its relationship to social neuroscience: a novel hypothesis. Cognitive neuroscience, 2(2), 98-113. http://www.princeton.edu/~graziano/Cog_Neurosci2011_98.pdf
The talk on this paper should focus an the social aspect of the definition, that was not considered in the first paper (which was actually written later). It also should focus on the first pages, until the beginning of p. 107 (excluding „Challenge 1“).
We will next discuss the book
Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How The Brain Codes Our Thoughts", by the leading cognitive scientist Stanislas Dehaene:
pdf of this book is available for the students
(this pdf is password protected, user and password are the usual ones for our internal webpages for courses etc; ask Daniela Potzinger firstname.lastname@example.org , Charlotte Rumpf email@example.com , or the seminar organizers if you need it)
5. Ch. 1
6. Ch. 2
7. Ch. 3
8. Ch. 4
9. Ch. 5
10. Ch. 6 and pp. 259-260 on Conscious Machines
The talks on these chapters should focus on selected key points, and not go through the book page by page. In addition, also the talks on Ch. 1-5 should address for a few minutes the question to what extent similar definitions or measurements of consciousness as those that are discussed in the book for the brain would also make sense for machines.
Finally, if there is interest we will also have a talk on a very well-known other definition of consciousness based on a measure from information theory:
11. Tononi, G., & Edelman, G. M. (1998). Consciousness and complexity. science, 282(5395), 1846-1851. http://www.its.caltech.edu/~theory/tononiedelman.pdf
Talks should be not longer than 40 minutes, and be clear, interesting and informative, rather than a reprint of the material. Select what parts of the material you want to present, and what not, and then present the selected material well (including definitions not given in the material: look them up on the web or if that is not successful, ask the seminar organizers). Often diagrams or figures are useful for a talk. On the other hand, giving in the talk numbers of references that are listed at the end is a no-no (a talk is an online process, not meant to be read). For the same reasons you can also quickly repeat earlier definitions or so if you suspect that the audience may not have remembered it.
Talks will be assigned at the first seminar meeting on Feb. 29 16:15- 18:00. Preference will be given to the first 11 students who have registered for the seminar.
Participation in the seminar meetings is obligatory. We also request your courtesy and attention for the seminar speaker: no smartphones, laptops, etc during a talk. Furthermore your active attention, questions, and discussion contributions are expected.
After your talk (and possibly some corrections) send pdf of your talk to Charlotte Rumpf firstname.lastname@example.org , who will post it (password protected in the case of talks on the book) on the seminar webpage.
||Paper 1: Long, L. N.,
& Kelley, T. D. (2010). Review of consciousness and the
possibility of conscious robots. Journal of Aerospace
Computing, Information, and Communication, 7(2), 68-84.
||Paper 2: Reggia, J. A. (2013).
The rise of machine consciousness: Studying consciousness
with computational models. Neural Networks, 44,
||Paper 3: Graziano, M. S., &
Webb, T. W. (2014). A mechanistic theory of consciousness.
International Journal of Machine Consciousness, 6(02),
||Book chapter 1
||Book chapter 3
||Book chapter 2
||Saranti, Anna||Book chapter 4
||Book chapter 6