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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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Learning to distinguish new experiences enriches the shape of the                                quale generated by a system.(A): A system of elements, containing two detectors                                (AND-gates that respond to >1 spike) and                                four sensors, on which we focus attention. The sensors have                                all-to-all connections with the detectors. Both detectors are                                firing, which occurs for any of the sensor patterns 1011, 1010 and                                0011 (amongst others): “wine”. (B): The quale                                generated by the system. The maroon and gray submechanisms                                (containing 4 connections targeting each detector) generate a                                    single q-arrow due to the redundancy of the                                all-to-all connectivity. The system generates the same quale in                                response to three different sensor patterns:                                “rosé wine” (1011), “red                                wine” (1010) and “white wine” (0011).                                (C): The system learns to distinguish between types of wine by                                pruning three connections; as before detectors are                                AND-gates, however, since their inputs differ they                                are no longer redundant. (DEF): The three sensor patterns generate                                three different qualia. Moreover, each quale is richer than in panel                                B: the single q-arrow has split into 4 q-arrows, reflecting the                                increased richness in how the taste of different                                wines is specified.
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pcbi-1000462-g014: Learning to distinguish new experiences enriches the shape of the quale generated by a system.(A): A system of elements, containing two detectors (AND-gates that respond to >1 spike) and four sensors, on which we focus attention. The sensors have all-to-all connections with the detectors. Both detectors are firing, which occurs for any of the sensor patterns 1011, 1010 and 0011 (amongst others): “wine”. (B): The quale generated by the system. The maroon and gray submechanisms (containing 4 connections targeting each detector) generate a single q-arrow due to the redundancy of the all-to-all connectivity. The system generates the same quale in response to three different sensor patterns: “rosé wine” (1011), “red wine” (1010) and “white wine” (0011). (C): The system learns to distinguish between types of wine by pruning three connections; as before detectors are AND-gates, however, since their inputs differ they are no longer redundant. (DEF): The three sensor patterns generate three different qualia. Moreover, each quale is richer than in panel B: the single q-arrow has split into 4 q-arrows, reflecting the increased richness in how the taste of different wines is specified.

Mentions: Fig. 14A shows the quale generated by a system where 2 detector elements receive identical connections from all 4 sensors. For 3 different input patterns (say rosé, red, and white wines) the responses of the detectors is the same: both elements are firing, indicating the detection of wine as opposed to water (in which case they would be silent). The quale reflects the redundancy of the concepts generated by the elements: the 2 submechanisms consisting of connections targeting the two detectors are redundant and generate a single q-arrow in the quale onto which all 3 wine patterns collapse: the experience is an undifferentiated one of wine (as opposed to water; we are assuming here that the quale is much larger than what is actually drawn, including all the context necessary to specify that these are gustatory experiences having to do with liquids).


Qualia: the geometry of integrated information.

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

Learning to distinguish new experiences enriches the shape of the                                quale generated by a system.(A): A system of elements, containing two detectors                                (AND-gates that respond to >1 spike) and                                four sensors, on which we focus attention. The sensors have                                all-to-all connections with the detectors. Both detectors are                                firing, which occurs for any of the sensor patterns 1011, 1010 and                                0011 (amongst others): “wine”. (B): The quale                                generated by the system. The maroon and gray submechanisms                                (containing 4 connections targeting each detector) generate a                                    single q-arrow due to the redundancy of the                                all-to-all connectivity. The system generates the same quale in                                response to three different sensor patterns:                                “rosé wine” (1011), “red                                wine” (1010) and “white wine” (0011).                                (C): The system learns to distinguish between types of wine by                                pruning three connections; as before detectors are                                AND-gates, however, since their inputs differ they                                are no longer redundant. (DEF): The three sensor patterns generate                                three different qualia. Moreover, each quale is richer than in panel                                B: the single q-arrow has split into 4 q-arrows, reflecting the                                increased richness in how the taste of different                                wines is specified.
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pcbi-1000462-g014: Learning to distinguish new experiences enriches the shape of the quale generated by a system.(A): A system of elements, containing two detectors (AND-gates that respond to >1 spike) and four sensors, on which we focus attention. The sensors have all-to-all connections with the detectors. Both detectors are firing, which occurs for any of the sensor patterns 1011, 1010 and 0011 (amongst others): “wine”. (B): The quale generated by the system. The maroon and gray submechanisms (containing 4 connections targeting each detector) generate a single q-arrow due to the redundancy of the all-to-all connectivity. The system generates the same quale in response to three different sensor patterns: “rosé wine” (1011), “red wine” (1010) and “white wine” (0011). (C): The system learns to distinguish between types of wine by pruning three connections; as before detectors are AND-gates, however, since their inputs differ they are no longer redundant. (DEF): The three sensor patterns generate three different qualia. Moreover, each quale is richer than in panel B: the single q-arrow has split into 4 q-arrows, reflecting the increased richness in how the taste of different wines is specified.
Mentions: Fig. 14A shows the quale generated by a system where 2 detector elements receive identical connections from all 4 sensors. For 3 different input patterns (say rosé, red, and white wines) the responses of the detectors is the same: both elements are firing, indicating the detection of wine as opposed to water (in which case they would be silent). The quale reflects the redundancy of the concepts generated by the elements: the 2 submechanisms consisting of connections targeting the two detectors are redundant and generate a single q-arrow in the quale onto which all 3 wine patterns collapse: the experience is an undifferentiated one of wine (as opposed to water; we are assuming here that the quale is much larger than what is actually drawn, including all the context necessary to specify that these are gustatory experiences having to do with liquids).

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.

Show MeSH