The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

(Copyright © 2013 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

Brains, Lives, Universes

Let's take a closer look at Life. We have organisms. Each organism is defined by its genome. An organism's genome does not vary during its lifetime. The genome of its offspring varies. The variation is the result of random processes. Each organism interacts with the environment and may or may not survive such interactions. Indirectly, interactions with the environment determine how genomes evolve over many generations.

Then we have neural networks. The behavior of each thinking organism is controlled by a neural network. The principle of a neural network is that of interacting with the environment, propagating the information received from the environment through its neurons and thereby generating behavior. Each neuron has influence over many neurons and what determines the behavior are the connections between neurons. A neural network changes continuously during the life of an organism, especially at the very beginning.

Within neural networks a selection process also applies. Connections survive or die depending on how useful they are. Connections are stronger or weaker depending on how useful they are. Usefulness is defined by interaction with the environment.

Genomes and neural networks are systems that have in common the principle of propagating information about the environment within itself through a process of a) interaction with the environment, b) feedback from the environment, c) selection.

Neural networks, genetic algorithms and chaotic inflationary universes seem to obey very similar principles. They "expand" in order to

   Propagate information within the individual, so as to determine behavior

   Propagate information within the population, so as to determine evolution


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