Consciousness and Decision Making

One theme that has become apparent when reading the chapter is the role of consciousness in decision making. On page 266, Paller and Suzuki explain that one has to be aware of a scenario to make a decision, which entails analyzing an image and decoding its meaning. A preliminary lesson from this observation suggests that the decision-making process is a subset of consciousness, such that excellent consciousness would be associated with a better decision-making process. I think this is a critical hypothesis that can further help probe natural and artificial conscience. 

Concerning natural conscience, Paller and Suzuki acknowledge that neurocognitive functions work in hand with the conscious experiences to transpire a conscious experience. Both elements are private, and a person’s consciousness is placed at the center. In this case, Paller and Suzuki regard sensuousness to an individual’s state or the ability to generate conscious experiences one after another. Here, I think memory is an inseparable element through which one can recall experiences and decode them to make sense of the present state of being. It is also part of the brain that connects the physical world to a person’s conscience. In that perspective, one’s ability to analyze an image, decode its meaning, and make a decision – be aware, would depend on neurocognition and memory.

Nevertheless, neurocognition and memory are functions in the brain and are subject to factors that affect brainpower. It is also susceptible to weaknesses such as the motion-induced blindness explained on page 266. Another example is when a person notices a smile on a friend and becomes unaware of all other things in the same environment. Science has explained this phenomenon in other domains to be the result of the reticular activating system, which regulates the cortex’s input. As also mentioned on page 267, that means that awareness of only dependent on ones analyzing an image, but primarily being the image being inputted into the cortex through the various cognition organs. It would also be possible to be aware of the environment (conscious) if a stimulus was reached the context. Therefore, the decision-making process is dependent on one’s ability to receive environmental stimuli, among other factors, such as memory.

Acknowledging that stimuli are received and transported through neurons sheds light on AI possibilities regarding consciousness. Humans have a definite number of neurons – 86 billion, and that means the neurological functions are finite. However, this scenario may be infinite for AI. A simple illustration is given on page 268, that neurons may be interconnected in a certain way to give different distinct ideas. Also, a higher level of consciousness may be achieved through the mixing of some suitable neural connections. This engineering makes it possible to develop AI with a sophisticated neural network and robust memory that would manifest incredible awareness. While such works are in laboratories of various companies such as Google and Neurolink, they are critical for the future. First, it will be easy to correct or enhance human cognition to improve decision-making. Secondly, the future of AI will have an awareness similar to or better than that of humans. Although there are consequences, AI consciousness will complement human consciousness to make critical decisions for a more comfortable and innovative world.