Nova Scotia hrs.

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Possible Answers: AST.

Last seen on: LA Times Crossword 19 Nov 2017, Sunday

Random information on the term “AST”:

The attention schema theory (AST) of consciousness (or subjective awareness) is an evolutionary and neuropsychological scientific theory of consciousness which was developed by neuroscientist Michael Graziano at Princeton University. It proposes that brains construct subjective awareness as a schematic model of the process of attention. The theory is a materialist theory of consciousness. It shares similarities with the illusionist ideas of philosophers like Daniel Dennett, Patricia Churchland, and Keith Frankish.


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One goal of developing the AST is to allow people to eventually construct artificial, conscious machines. AST seeks to explain how an information-processing machine could act the way people do, insisting it has consciousness, describing consciousness in the ways that we do, and attributing similar properties to others. AST is a theory of how a machine insists it is more than a machine, even though it is not.

The AST describes how an information-processing machine can make the claim that it has a conscious, subjective experience of something. In the theory, the brain is an information processor that is captive to the information constructed within it. The machine has no means to discern the difference between its claim and reality. In this approach, the challenge of explaining consciousness is not, “How does the brain produce an ineffable internal experience,” but rather, “How does the brain construct a quirky self description, and what is the useful cognitive role of that self model?” A crucial aspect of the theory is model-based knowledge. The brain constructs rich internal models that lie beneath the level of higher cognition or of language. Cognition has partial access to those internal models, and we report the content of those models as though we are reporting literal reality.

AST on Wikipedia