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Re: [bookclub-792] Global Workspace theory of consciousness

From: Richard
Sent on: Thursday, April 1, 2010 10:29 PM
The "Global Workspace" topic was also referenced in the one part of a tidy multi-part article in New Scientist entitled "Picking our brains: Nine neural frontiers". Most of the content is pretty basic and for abroad audience, but the last question and sub-article is "Picking our brains: Can we make a conscious machine?", which mentions a functioning software agent created along the lines of the Global Workspace Theory.

They provide a link to an academic article that describes the software (viz:

From the article:
Perhaps the closest a software bot has come so far is IDA, the Intelligent Distribution Agent built in 2003 by Stan Franklin at the University of Memphis in Tennessee. IDA assigns sailors in the US navy to new jobs when they finish a tour of duty and has to juggle naval policies, job requirements, changing costs and sailors' needs.

Like people, IDA has "conscious" and "unconscious" levels of processing. At the unconscious level she deploys software agents to gather data and process information. These agents compete to enter IDA's "conscious" workspace, where they interact with each other and decisions get made. The updated Learning IDA, or LIDA, was completed this year. She learns from what reaches her consciousness and uses this to guide future decisions. LIDA also has the benefit of "emotions" - high-level goals that guide her decision-making.

Interesting journal article. (Lousy graphics, though :-)

On Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 10:56 PM, Scott Jackisch <[address removed]> wrote:
Here is a great article about the "Global Workspace" theory of consciousness:
Firing on all neurons: Where consciousness comes from

Oddly, they claim that while there may not be a "grandmother neuron" there may actually be a "Jennifer Anisten" neuron.? I hadn't heard of that before:
"Rodrigo Quiroga at the University of Leicester, UK, may be famous for identifying the individual neurons that fire in response to the actress Jennifer Aniston..."


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