A new theory of consciousness

This theory could pave the way toward the development of conscious AI.


According to a new theory developed by Professor Johnjoe McFadden from the University of Surrey, consciousness is the brain’s energy field. The brain’s electromagnetic energy enables brain matter to create our consciousness and our ability to be aware and think.

Prof. McFadden believes that this theory could help develop conscious AI, with robots aware and can think of becoming a reality.

Early hypotheses on our consciousness and how it has been created tended toward the supernatural, recommending that humans and probably different animals have an immaterial soul that confers consciousness, thought, and choice—abilities that inanimate objects lack.

Today, most researchers have disposed of this view, known as dualism, to grasp a ‘monistic’ perspective on consciousness produced by the brain itself and its network of billions of nerves. Conversely, McFadden proposes a scientific form of dualism dependent on the contrast among issue and energy, as opposed to matter and soul.

The hypothesis depends on scientific fact: when neurons in the brain and nervous system fire, they not just impart the recognizable electrical sign down the wire-like nerve fibers, yet they likewise send pulse of electromagnetic energy into the surrounding tissue. Such energy is normally dismissed, yet it conveys similar data as nerve firings, however, as an irrelevant wave of energy, instead of a progression of particles all through the nerves.

McFadden proposes that the brain’s information-rich electromagnetic field is, in fact, itself the seat of consciousness, driving ‘free will’ and voluntary actions. This new theory also accounts for why, despite their immense complexity and ultra-fast operation, today’s computers have not exhibited the slightest spark of consciousness; however, with the right technical development, robots aware and can think for themselves could become a reality.

Johnjoe McFadden, Professor of Molecular Genetics and Director of the Quantum Biology Doctoral Training Centre at the University of Surrey, said: “How brain matter becomes aware and manages to think is a mystery that has been pondered by philosophers, theologians, mystics and ordinary people for millennia. I believe this mystery has now been solved. That consciousness is the experience of nerves plugging into the brain’s self-generated electromagnetic field to drive what we call ‘free will’ and our voluntary actions.”

Journal Reference:
  1. Johnjoe McFadden. Integrating information in the brain’s EM field: the cemi field theory of consciousness, Neuroscience of Consciousness (2020). DOI: 10.1093/nc/niaa016
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