Cognitive Computation

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 22–28 | Cite as

Designing Conscious Systems



This paper reviews computational work that is currently developing under the heading of ‘Machine Consciousness’ and sets out to provide a guide for those who wish to contribute to this field. First, questions of philosophical concern as to the appropriateness of this activity are raised and discussed. Then some classical designs and computational attitudes are described before arguing that fine-grain neural approaches are needed to provide truly phenomenal representations that stand in relation to the behaviour of a computational organism as subjective mental states stand in relation to the existence of a conscious organism. The paper concludes with an evaluation of the validity and benefits of designing conscious systems.


Machine consciousness Phenomenology Conscious robots Virtual machines 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Electrical and Electronic Engineering DepartmentImperial CollegeLondonUK

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