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Journal Articles NeuroSci Year : 2023

The Morphospace of Consciousness: Three Kinds of Complexity for Minds and Machines

Abstract

In this perspective article, we show that a morphospace, based on information-theoretic measures, can be a useful construct for comparing biological agents with artificial intelligence (AI) systems. The axes of this space label three kinds of complexity: (i) autonomic, (ii) computational and (iii) social complexity. On this space, we map biological agents such as bacteria, bees, C. elegans, primates and humans; as well as AI technologies such as deep neural networks, multi-agent bots, social robots, Siri and Watson. A complexity-based conceptualization provides a useful framework for identifying defining features and classes of conscious and intelligent systems. Starting with cognitive and clinical metrics of consciousness that assess awareness and wakefulness, we ask how AI and synthetically engineered life-forms would measure on homologous metrics. We argue that awareness and wakefulness stem from computational and autonomic complexity. Furthermore, tapping insights from cognitive robotics, we examine the functional role of consciousness in the context of evolutionary games. This points to a third kind of complexity for describing consciousness, namely, social complexity. Based on these metrics, our morphospace suggests the possibility of additional types of consciousness other than biological; namely, synthetic, group-based and simulated. This space provides a common conceptual framework for comparing traits and highlighting design principles of minds and machines.
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hal-04356911 , version 1 (10-01-2024)

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Xerxes Arsiwalla, Ricard Solé, Clément Moulin-Frier, Ivan Herreros, Martí Sánchez-Fibla, et al.. The Morphospace of Consciousness: Three Kinds of Complexity for Minds and Machines. NeuroSci, 2023, 4 (2), pp.79-102. ⟨10.3390/neurosci4020009⟩. ⟨hal-04356911⟩

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