Go live Time :
Current analysis of the human mind and its accompanying mental attributes together with its seated consciousness though has provided us with enough understanding of how our brain as well, our mind works but that is still not enough to decipher at the functional level to be able to replicate such phenomenon in machines in artificial form. The race for embedding consciousness in machines has however begun leaving an enduring question yet unmasked; what is the nature of that consciousness which is to be embedded? How to model human level consciousness that originates from the complex organizational systems of the human brain? And finally, what systems of representation could be designed to embody consciousness in artificial form in machines to render them with tools of thought and self-awareness?
Consciousness or rather self-awareness is absent in simple brains except in some higher primates foremost in humans whose neural architectural complexity is unmatched by any other living specie in this world, and perhaps beyond. But, one might be tempted to ask, is the neural complexity the only cause of the origination of the complex phenomenon of consciousness-complex it is since, the nature of its origin and the essence of its attributes that is-conscious thought processes- are as ever elusive a phenomena still haunting the philosophers of mind as well, the philosophers of matter, alike. Even though it is much easier to describe such states of consciousness with attributes as dream, sleep, wakefulness and attention which can be well differentiated in a single brain, the concept of conscious awareness still eludes us to some extent. The subject of self-awareness and of subjectivity itself, as a matter of the organization of systems of representation has been attempted from the viewpoint of both materialists as well mentalists, since until now, consciousness in any way is still being considered as a matter of the mind.
However, the concept of the origin and evolution of artificial or machine consciousness is easier to comprehend since machines derive their processes of thought (in vague terms) from us, humans. Hence, the origin of machine consciousness is traceable. Yet, to comprehend self-awareness as an explicit, nevertheless intrinsic attributes of consciousness, one must require understanding the true essence of the nature of representation that is projected inside our brain to understand the response to such nature of reality. To realize this real environment, machine perception is an important step toward artificial consciousness. Machine (artificial) perception is hence; typically different in such sense that though machines do perceive their direct environments virtually as in robots or androids, the mode of such virtual perception is somewhat at its infancy at this hour, since it is more fancied than being a common reality. Robots do not build up concepts in similar ways as we do and their conceptual mode of perception and cognition of objects is instruction or program-based. Human-level perception involves judgment and conceptualization of objects perceived. Human learning as well, is perception based. The information processed by man and machines for cognition of an object may be "identical", but the "mode" of processing, integrating and representing such is uniquely 'different'. If perception as a mode of conscious cognition is well understood to be something being presented to us rather than our own propositional attitudes(Westphal & Alston ), our reasoning of reality is then reliant on building up concept(s) of something in possession as some attribute(s), such as an apple which is red, it is round and tastes sweet. Those attributes certainly define both the objective qualities and the subjective traits that an apple posses and those same qualities which we realize by perception only. How can a machine build up such concepts that define similar qualitative aspects and attributes possessed by such objects? The answer is, again, by building concepts from "artificial perception"( C.M. Noaica, et.al, Aug 2012).
In similar sense, we may assume or debate whether if perception itself is a conceptual cognition or is a "mode" of conscious cognition (Kenneth R. Westphal, William P. Alston). Another issue as relevant of, need such a conceptual cognition be consciousness dependent in order to build up concepts?
That some information processing systems are essential for perception corresponds analogously to the evolution of the brain accompanied by such development of the systems of perception. An analogy drawn when considering that the Autonomous nervous system (ANS) is unconsciously 'aware' of its existence, a living entity equivalent to a human being cannot be fully conscious without an existing functional brain and its accessory organs of perception. Machine consciousness to some extent must be designed based on this assumption that conscious thought, intentional stance, introspection and awareness are the building blocks of the architecture of our tools of being in reality. Theoretical evidences derived from the archaeology of the mind and human cognitive system proposes that consciousness has been a slowly emergent process. Sperr (1969) has stated that consciousness being an emergent property of the increasing complexity of the brain-from where we can deduce that complexity of the particular neural architecture which cause conscious awareness to arise, the nature of such a complexity which by itself, is evolutionary, and so being our mental processes. This imply that consciousness is absent in more simple brains-and since it is the neural complexity which gives rise to human levels of consciousness there should be a threshold for it to arise; the nature of the neural architectural complexity(Igor Aleksander, 1997). This beg another consideration considering the 'theory of complexity' of whether if there can be a different basis of the origin of consciousness beyond conventional biological complexity. This immediately pertains to artificial functional and structural complexity the sheer organization of which, that structural heterogeneity giving rise to the different nature of functional specificities in the system might be the ultimate cause behind consciousness to arise. Strongest motivation is derived from the human technological progress which mark out that to develop conscious self-awareness, such a neural network must be at least as complex as the human brain which has about 10^12 neurons, and each neuron makes about 10^3 connections (synapses) with other neurons(Giorgio Buttazzo). This computation gives a total number of 10^15 synapses amounting to 4*10^15 bytes (4 millions of Gigabytes). A computer with this amount of memory still cannot be thought of as conscious, since, as Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel Dennett deeply discussed, it is impossible to confirm the presence of consciousness in another brain (either human or artificial) since we have no means to get into another being's mind but could only follow Turing's approach to say that if a being can be considered self-conscious, it must pass the Turing's test to prove whether that intelligent being is self-aware.
Our agreement to such a possibility of machines becoming fully conscious as like us stems from both technological progress in the field of computation and natural sciences as well, from imaginations of the futurists like Arthur C. Clark, Issac Asimov and Ray Kurzweil who have presented us with such grandeur dreams of potential virtual realities where sophisticated machines built by humans to perform complex operations would someday become intelligently conscious by the fruits of integrating biological parts with artificial components. Not withstanding the limits of artificial neural network, the future of architectural design and complexity involving intelligent systems would likely define how and when such a feat could be a possible reality.