When we feel cold or angry or see colors, that’s consciousness. Humans have conscious experiences, and so do other animals. But can artificial brains like computers also be, or become, truly conscious? Christof Koch says digital brains will never be able to have experiences like humans, no matter how closely their software mimics the human brain. During a January 24 SFI Community Lecture in Santa Fe he described one leading theory—Integrated Information Theory—that offers an explanation about which physical systems can experience consciousness and which cannot, and why.
Watch the talk (72 minutes)
Koch is a physicist turned neurobiologist who is president and chief scientific officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle. His most recent book, Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist, summarizes the modern science of consciousness.