The origin of consciousness

A new method for determining how and when consciousness evolved

The origin of consciousness was a world-defining event, comparable only with the origin of life itself. But the moment that consciousness emerged is buried deep in the evolutionary record and is hard to identify.

In this article, Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka put forward their new theory about how and when consciousness evolved. They identify a unique marker of minimal consciousness that they believe drove the Cambrian explosion of biodiversity and answers the age-old question of which organisms are conscious.


MuZero is an algorithm with a superhuman ability to learn: it has learned to play 57 different Atari video games as well as Chess, Go and Shogi, and defeated the greatest human masters in every one of them. Yet, this amazing algorithm and the computer in which it is implemented are as conscious as your washing machine. Its “intelligence”, manifest in its learning ability, has nothing to do with consciousness – the ability to feel

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James Cross 21 August 2021

The unanswered question still is what is it about consciousness that makes it a requirement for UAL.

I might suggest it likely that it might be that consciousness is most economical way from an energy standpoint for living organisms to perform the computations involved in learning.