What is Consciousness?

Looking at some old emails from way back in 2015 now, 8 years on, the idea I had back then seems better than ever to me now. The reason I wrote it off back then, is that I mailed David Deutsch my idea, and he stated emphatically, that there couldn’t be a Quantum Computer side of the brain, even with my “modification”.

Now you might be aware of the decoherence time problem (if not Google it), and the real problem of having anything like enough decoherence time available when working with room-temperature wetware (the brain). Well, my way of overcoming the decoherence time problem in the brain was by invoking the Quantum Zeno Effect – the Quantum equivalent of a watched pot never boiling. Basically, if a Quantum State is being observed then it lives longer than if it is not observed. I reckoned in a similar fashion that the decoherence time of entangled states could be similarly increased by being closely “observed”. David Deutsch didn’t think so – and him being far more engaged with this Quantum stuff than me, I thought so to, and forgot about all of this.

But then I read a bit more about what I was thinking about back in 2015, and now I’m not so sure Deutsch has all the answers.

My “feeling” was that our brain is comprised of two main components – our CONSCIOUS brain – which is based on a massively parallel classical computer – AND – our SUB-CONSCIOUS brain which is based on a Quantum Computer. If our sub-conscious IS the quantum part of the brain, then that would go a long way towards explaining many of the (almost supernatural) capabilities of the sub-conscious. But how do you get a decent decoherence time? The conscious (the observer!) part of the brain is in intimate contact with the quantum part, and it is this that pushes up the decoherence time to (practically) useful values.

So, what is consciousness itself?  I believe it is the product of a classical parallel computer working together (intimately) with a quantum computer.  So, I don’t believe a “classical” computer on its own, no matter how big and complex, and no matter how big and complex the program, can ever become “self-aware” in the hard A.I. sense.  I don’t know whether a sufficiently large quantum computer on its own could become self-aware, but my feeling is that it would be no more self-aware than a classical computer. However – put the two intimately together – and who knows?

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