Integrated Information Theory: Current State and Perspectives

June 24, 2021 - June 25, 2021

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University of St. Andrews
University of St. Andrews

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One of the most intriguing theories of consciousness developed during the past twenty years is the Integrated Information Theory (IIT). Its core idea is that consciousness is identical with integrated information, that is, with the amount of information a system can generate as a whole, over and above the information produced by its component parts taken independently from each other.

IIT represents an articulate, interdisciplinary attempt at characterising what consciousness is and how it works in a scientifically robust way, by making use of mathematical tools to precisely describe phenomenal consciousness both quantitatively and qualitatively, which is what makes it such a momentous theory of consciousness. However, empirically testing this theory is quite troublesome, as this would require a presently infeasible amount of computations. Furthermore, after the first phase in which the theory has gradually reached its current shape, a number of works have been published which point at a range of aspects of the theory in need of elaboration or reconsideration.

This conference is thus meant to provide a space in which some of the experts who have been contributed to IIT in various ways over the past few years will present and confront their views on the current state of IIT, on the ways it could be developed in future, and, more generally, on its prospects as a theory of consciousness. This would be beneficial for the development of IIT itself, as it would represent an important occasion to take stock and discuss the most promising directions that this important theory of consciousness may (need to) take in the future. Therefore, one of the main purposes of this conference is, crucially, to facilitate the first step towards a more mature stage of the theory, one at which, perhaps, it will become the leading contemporary theory of consciousness.

Programme (all times are in UTC+1)

Day 1 (Thurdsay 24th June)

14:45 - 15:00 Introduction

15:00 - 16:15 Larissa Albantakis (Wisconsin, Madison) – Integrated Information Theory - An Introduction

16:30 - 17:45 Haoying Liu (Massachusetts, Amherst) – On the Postulates of the Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness 

18:00 - 19:15 Melanie Boly (Wisconsin, Madison) – Integrated Information Theory - Empirical Predictions

Day 2 (Friday 25th June)

13:30 - 14:45 Timothy Bayne (Monash) – IIT and the Unity of Consciousness

15:00 - 16:15 Adam Barrett (Sussex) – The Strength of Weak Integrated Information Theory

16:30 - 17:45 Pedro Mediano (Cambridge) - Beyond Integrated Information: Information Decomposition and its Implications for Consciousness Science

17:45 - 18:00 Concluding Remarks

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June 23, 2021, 2:45pm EET

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