[visionlist] Master's/PhD positions on consciousness and machine consciousness available at Tokyo Univ.

渡邉 正峰 watanabe at sys.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp
Sun Jun 4 12:37:12 -04 2023

Hi Everyone,

Master’s and PhD positions available in computational/experimental
neuroscience on a project entitled,

"Unraveling the Neural Mechanism of Consciousness via Development and
Testing of Machine Consciousness"

at Tokyo University, School of Engineering, Dept. of Systems Innovation.
For further details, please contact Associate Prof. Masataka Watanabe (
watanabe at sys.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp).

Starting date: 2023 October/2024 April

Supervisor: Masataka Watanabe (MW), Associate Professor at University of Tokyo,
School of Engineering

Keywords:Consciousness, Subjective Experience, Artificial Consciousness, Brain
Machine Interface, Spiking Neural Networks

Related Links:

A book from MW
>From Biological to Artificial Consciousness (Springer) 2022

TEDx U-Tokyo Talk by MW

Details on admission
Foreign students who have obtained their bachelors degree outside of
Japan would qualify for Special Admission with benefits.

Tentative Laboratory Web Page
(official:https://www.sys.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/en/memberpage/3366/?lang=en )

The aim of the project is to

1) Research and Development of Machine Consciousness

Develop a large-scale spiking neural network as a candidate system of
machine consciousness. Utilize discrete synaptic connections obtained from
invasive connectome projects as initial weights. As a working hypothesis,
determine a system architecture (e.g. generative model) and train the
network according to the loss functions defined by it. Validate the final
product using objective measures such as network function (e.g. visual
recognition) and network dynamics (e.g. similarity to noisy neural dynamics
observed in mammal brains).

2) Developing a Test for Machine Consciousness: integration of biological
and mechanical brain hemispheres

Since it is impossible to test machine consciousness through external
observation or investigation of internal mechanisms using objective
measures, only one method remains: making use of subjectivity. We need
to connect
our own brains to the machine and see for ourselves whether
consciousness resides within. By making use of the ?master-master?
configuration of visual consciousness in our two biological
hemispheres, we replace
one of our hemispheres with a mechanical hemisphere. If we
subjectively experience the machine visual field, we must conclude that a
stream of visual consciousness has genuinely emerged in the mechanical

3) Developing a Radically New Type of Brain-Machine Interface that Reads
and Writes from Nerve Bundle Sections:

The key to the approach is a totally new type of BMI that enables reading
and writing information with unprecedented precision. The best part of the
brain to tap into is the three neural fibres that connect the two cortical
hemispheres, namely, the corpus callosum, the anterior commissure, and
the posterior
commissure. I proposes dissecting the three neural fibres and
inserting a CMOS based, double-sided two-dimensional electrode array.
Importantly, it would be coated with biological tissue to provide a target
for the dissected axons to regenerate onto and firmly attach to the
interface surface.
The objective is to read from and write into all of the axons required to
integrate the two potentially independent streams of consciousness.
Importantly, due to the critical problems suggested by Histed, Bonin and
Reid (Neuron, 2009), regarding writing information with conventional
electrodes placed in the grey matter, the proposed brain?machine interface
is likely the only plausible method for the brain to sufficiently
communicate with artificial devices.
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