A quantum physicist at Chungbuk National University in Korea has provided mathematical evidence that consciousness cannot be simulated in or replicated by a computer, and in turn that it cannot be the byproduct of neurological activity in the brain.
Professor Daegene Song has provided mathematical proof that human consciousness cannot be simulated by a computing device, due to self-observation being a unique mechanism in the process of consciousness. In his paper, "Non-computability of Consciousness," Song shows consciousness as a mathematical representation, and in the process that it is not compatible with mechanical systems.
"Among conscious activities, the unique characteristic of self-observation cannot exist in any type of machine. Human thought has a mechanism that computers cannot compute or be programmed to do."
Song also goes on to illustrate that consciousness itself is not like known physical systems, like neural pathways in the brain. "If consciousness cannot be represented in the same way all other physical systems are represented, it may not be something that arises out of a physical system like the brain. The brain and consciousness are linked together, but the brain does not produce consciousness. Consciousness is something altogether different and separate. The math doesn’t lie."
The neuroscience community has been working for many years to replicated consciousness in a machine by increasing the number of pathways between memory chips, but now it appears that, no matter how large the machine brain, it will never be self aware. A general assumption among scientists is that consciousness is a side-effect of brain activity, but Dr. Song’s math suggests that this cannot be true. If he is correct, then a fundamental change not just in science is implied, but also in the way we view ourselves. It would appear that consciousness may be something that the brain accesses, but does not generate.
This is consistent with a new theory of consciousness being advocated by physicist Sir Roger Penrose and Dr. Stuart Hameroff. Penrose and Hameroff a;sp suggest that consciousness is something applied to the brain, not generated by it.
"The origin of consciousness reflects our place in the universe, the nature of our existence. Did consciousness evolve from complex computations among brain neurons, as most scientists assert? Or has consciousness, in some sense, been here all along, as spiritual approaches maintain?" ask Hameroff and Penrose in the current review. "This opens a potential Pandora’s Box, but our theory accommodates both these views, suggesting consciousness derives from quantum vibrations in microtubules, protein polymers inside brain neurons, which both govern neuronal and synaptic function, and connect brain processes to self-organizing processes in the fine scale, ‘proto-conscious’ quantum structure of reality."
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