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Qualia: the geometry of integrated information.

Balduzzi D, Tononi G - PLoS Comput. Biol. (2009)

Bottom Line: Both active and inactive elements specify a quale, but elements that are inactivated do not.In principle, different aspects of experience may be classified as different shapes in Q, and the similarity between experiences reduces to similarities between shapes.Finally, specific qualities, such as the "redness" of red, while generated by a local mechanism, cannot be reduced to it, but require considering the entire quale.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA.

ABSTRACT
According to the integrated information theory, the quantity of consciousness is the amount of integrated information generated by a complex of elements, and the quality of experience is specified by the informational relationships it generates. This paper outlines a framework for characterizing the informational relationships generated by such systems. Qualia space (Q) is a space having an axis for each possible state (activity pattern) of a complex. Within Q, each submechanism specifies a point corresponding to a repertoire of system states. Arrows between repertoires in Q define informational relationships. Together, these arrows specify a quale -- a shape that completely and univocally characterizes the quality of a conscious experience. Phi -- the height of this shape -- is the quantity of consciousness associated with the experience. Entanglement measures how irreducible informational relationships are to their component relationships, specifying concepts and modes. Several corollaries follow from these premises. The quale is determined by both the mechanism and state of the system. Thus, two different systems having identical activity patterns may generate different qualia. Conversely, the same quale may be generated by two systems that differ in both activity and connectivity. Both active and inactive elements specify a quale, but elements that are inactivated do not. Also, the activation of an element affects experience by changing the shape of the quale. The subdivision of experience into modalities and submodalities corresponds to subshapes in Q. In principle, different aspects of experience may be classified as different shapes in Q, and the similarity between experiences reduces to similarities between shapes. Finally, specific qualities, such as the "redness" of red, while generated by a local mechanism, cannot be reduced to it, but require considering the entire quale. Ultimately, the present framework may offer a principled way for translating qualitative properties of experience into mathematics.

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Isomorphisms between qualia.(A): The simplest possible system: a sensor and a detector, where the                                detector copies the prior state of the sensor. The quale generated                                by the system when the detector is ON is a single q-arrow with                                effective information of 1 bit. The q-arrow specifies the sensor was                                ON in the previous time step. (B) When the detector is OFF, the                                system generates a different quale, where the q-arrow points in a                                different direction – towards a different actual                                repertoire – specifying that the detector was OFF.                                Effective information is again 1 bit. (C): A reflection of Q-space                                generated by relabeling the outputs of n1 (flipping 0 and                                1) induces an isomorphism between the two qualia. (DE): The qualia                                generated by a silent AND-gate and a firing                                    OR-gate respectively. The two qualia are                                isomorphic, which can be seen by flipping the roles of 0 and 1.
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pcbi-1000462-g008: Isomorphisms between qualia.(A): The simplest possible system: a sensor and a detector, where the detector copies the prior state of the sensor. The quale generated by the system when the detector is ON is a single q-arrow with effective information of 1 bit. The q-arrow specifies the sensor was ON in the previous time step. (B) When the detector is OFF, the system generates a different quale, where the q-arrow points in a different direction – towards a different actual repertoire – specifying that the detector was OFF. Effective information is again 1 bit. (C): A reflection of Q-space generated by relabeling the outputs of n1 (flipping 0 and 1) induces an isomorphism between the two qualia. (DE): The qualia generated by a silent AND-gate and a firing OR-gate respectively. The two qualia are isomorphic, which can be seen by flipping the roles of 0 and 1.

Mentions: By the same token, it is possible that two different systems generate the same quale. As an example, consider again the photodiode, whose mechanism determines that if the current in the sensor exceed a threshold, the detector turns on. Informationally, the photodiode implements a COPY system, where the detector copies the state of the sensor. This simple causal interaction is all there is, and when the photodiode turns on it merely specifies an actual repertoire where states (x1 = 00,01,10,11) have, respectively, probability (0,0,½,½) (Fig. 8A). This corresponds in Q to a single q-arrow, one bit long, going from the potential, maximum entropy repertoire (¼,¼,¼,¼) to (0,0,½,½). Now imagine the light sensor is substituted by a temperature sensor with the same threshold and dynamic range - we have a thermistor rather than a photodiode, and assume that the detector is off (low temperature, Fig. 8B). While the physical device has changed, and its state is different, according to the IIT the experience, minimal as it is, has to be the same, since the informational relationship that is generated by the two devices is identical.


Qualia: the geometry of integrated information.

Balduzzi D, Tononi G - PLoS Comput. Biol. (2009)

Isomorphisms between qualia.(A): The simplest possible system: a sensor and a detector, where the                                detector copies the prior state of the sensor. The quale generated                                by the system when the detector is ON is a single q-arrow with                                effective information of 1 bit. The q-arrow specifies the sensor was                                ON in the previous time step. (B) When the detector is OFF, the                                system generates a different quale, where the q-arrow points in a                                different direction – towards a different actual                                repertoire – specifying that the detector was OFF.                                Effective information is again 1 bit. (C): A reflection of Q-space                                generated by relabeling the outputs of n1 (flipping 0 and                                1) induces an isomorphism between the two qualia. (DE): The qualia                                generated by a silent AND-gate and a firing                                    OR-gate respectively. The two qualia are                                isomorphic, which can be seen by flipping the roles of 0 and 1.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2713405&req=5

pcbi-1000462-g008: Isomorphisms between qualia.(A): The simplest possible system: a sensor and a detector, where the detector copies the prior state of the sensor. The quale generated by the system when the detector is ON is a single q-arrow with effective information of 1 bit. The q-arrow specifies the sensor was ON in the previous time step. (B) When the detector is OFF, the system generates a different quale, where the q-arrow points in a different direction – towards a different actual repertoire – specifying that the detector was OFF. Effective information is again 1 bit. (C): A reflection of Q-space generated by relabeling the outputs of n1 (flipping 0 and 1) induces an isomorphism between the two qualia. (DE): The qualia generated by a silent AND-gate and a firing OR-gate respectively. The two qualia are isomorphic, which can be seen by flipping the roles of 0 and 1.
Mentions: By the same token, it is possible that two different systems generate the same quale. As an example, consider again the photodiode, whose mechanism determines that if the current in the sensor exceed a threshold, the detector turns on. Informationally, the photodiode implements a COPY system, where the detector copies the state of the sensor. This simple causal interaction is all there is, and when the photodiode turns on it merely specifies an actual repertoire where states (x1 = 00,01,10,11) have, respectively, probability (0,0,½,½) (Fig. 8A). This corresponds in Q to a single q-arrow, one bit long, going from the potential, maximum entropy repertoire (¼,¼,¼,¼) to (0,0,½,½). Now imagine the light sensor is substituted by a temperature sensor with the same threshold and dynamic range - we have a thermistor rather than a photodiode, and assume that the detector is off (low temperature, Fig. 8B). While the physical device has changed, and its state is different, according to the IIT the experience, minimal as it is, has to be the same, since the informational relationship that is generated by the two devices is identical.

Bottom Line: Both active and inactive elements specify a quale, but elements that are inactivated do not.In principle, different aspects of experience may be classified as different shapes in Q, and the similarity between experiences reduces to similarities between shapes.Finally, specific qualities, such as the "redness" of red, while generated by a local mechanism, cannot be reduced to it, but require considering the entire quale.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA.

ABSTRACT
According to the integrated information theory, the quantity of consciousness is the amount of integrated information generated by a complex of elements, and the quality of experience is specified by the informational relationships it generates. This paper outlines a framework for characterizing the informational relationships generated by such systems. Qualia space (Q) is a space having an axis for each possible state (activity pattern) of a complex. Within Q, each submechanism specifies a point corresponding to a repertoire of system states. Arrows between repertoires in Q define informational relationships. Together, these arrows specify a quale -- a shape that completely and univocally characterizes the quality of a conscious experience. Phi -- the height of this shape -- is the quantity of consciousness associated with the experience. Entanglement measures how irreducible informational relationships are to their component relationships, specifying concepts and modes. Several corollaries follow from these premises. The quale is determined by both the mechanism and state of the system. Thus, two different systems having identical activity patterns may generate different qualia. Conversely, the same quale may be generated by two systems that differ in both activity and connectivity. Both active and inactive elements specify a quale, but elements that are inactivated do not. Also, the activation of an element affects experience by changing the shape of the quale. The subdivision of experience into modalities and submodalities corresponds to subshapes in Q. In principle, different aspects of experience may be classified as different shapes in Q, and the similarity between experiences reduces to similarities between shapes. Finally, specific qualities, such as the "redness" of red, while generated by a local mechanism, cannot be reduced to it, but require considering the entire quale. Ultimately, the present framework may offer a principled way for translating qualitative properties of experience into mathematics.

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