Science news at the speed of thought

Toward machine consciousness

March 2, 2008

Here is a follow-up regarding our earlier post about a Russian group claiming to have built McFadden-style EM field consciousness hardware. Researchers K. N. Shevchenko, N. V. Shevchenko, and B. V. Shulgin have now made available their (as yet to be peer reviewed) paper outlining their experiments.

Johnjoe McFadden has read the paper, and when contacted by Machines Like Us, had this to say:

"In the absence of proper peer review I will only say that the work is very interesting and could be the first physical implementation of the cemi field theory. If the study is confirmed by other modellers and experimenters then it could provide a basis for the eventual construction of conscious machines."

The paper is called Neural network model with an additional information interchange channel between neurons.

From the abstract:

We here present a simple neural network model, the electromagnetic (EM) neuron that includes an additional information interchange channel between neurons by means of the electromagnetic field generating by neuron firing. The numerical solution of the system of the differential equations describing EM neuron is presented. The principle of EM neuron is also implemented in a physical system and the experimental results are compared with the theoretical predictions to demonstrate the validity of the model. We show that phase synchronization of firing patterns in EM neuron may be generated within a network of neurons that do not have direct synaptic connections. The presence of a feedback circuit through the power supply stimulates self-organization of the network. The potential significance of these findings for an understanding of the neural dynamics in the brain is discussed.

Machines Like Us invites qualified readers to review this potentially important paper and assess its accuracy and viability.