Emergent rules of computation in the Universe lead to life and consciousness: a computational framework for consciousness

We introduce a computational framework for consciousness. We hypothesize that emergent rules of computation in the Universe lead to life and consciousness. We live in a Universe that has a substrate capable of computing or information processing. We suggest that in principle, any Universe that is capable of supporting information processing and has energy can evolve life and consciousness. We hypothesize that the Universe encodes rules in the form of physical laws that allow for the emergence of both life and conscious organisms. A key insight is that there are different levels of consciousness starting from atoms to organisms to galaxies. We propose a metric of complexity that can quantify the amount of consciousness in a system by measuring both the amount of information and the capability to process that information. We hope that this framework will allow us to better understand consciousness and design machines that are conscious and empathetic. Consciousness and life may be a general phenomenon in our information rich Universe and their maybe other structures designed or otherwise that may be capable of it. Consciousness is an emergent property of an information rich Universe that is capable of processing that information in complex myriad ways.


Banerjee, Soumya. 2018. “Emergent Rules of Computation in the Universe Lead to Life and Consciousness: A Computational Framework for Consciousness.” OSF Preprints. June 22. doi:10.31219/osf.io/ce9m6.

Source: osf.io