Suppose I have enough material from the chemistry periodic table and also I have enough power to combine and concatenate them to create a complex human once at a time; Does this complexity guarantee it's self-consciousness? How I can evaluate if it's really self-consciousness or it just an emulator organic machine?

Actually I try to find out if we create an electronical computer with a complexity equal to human's complexity, then will it be self-consciousness and how it's possible to evaluate this?

If it will be self-consciousness, so how distinct physical parts causes one central self-consciousness? and if it wont be self-consciousness, what is the X in following statement:

self-conscious = complexity + X

Thanks in advance!

  • 1
    "If it quacks like duck, it's duck." In other words - if you don't believe in philosophical zombies, who can have anything like conscious beings and still lack mystical "X" substance of consciousness, then the human made by you will have consciousness.
    – zaa
    Feb 17, 2013 at 22:06
  • 1
    As I know, today scientific consensus is that we are made from "distinct parts". About "how distinct physical parts causes one central consciousness" - we're still working on that.
    – zaa
    Feb 17, 2013 at 22:16
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    Self-consciousness can be defined as the ability to create and use a model of a self, the model being a mental model or an information structure model. Tremendous complexity can be achieved without this modeling capability.
    – obelia
    Feb 23, 2013 at 17:55

1 Answer 1


This would wildly depend on how one would exactly define "complexity" and how it would be quantified. Equally one would have to develop some objective metric for "self consciousnesses" as well. The specific answers would depend largely on the specific metrics.

However most reasonable metrics for complexity would likely be "monotonic", i.e. the complexity of a compound system is never SMALLER than the complexity of any constituent part.

With that assumptions we can answer the question with "NO". Here is an example of why not: Humans are self-aware. Humans are part of the solar system. Since humans are part of the solar system the solar system is at least as complex as a human being. If humans are above the complexity threshold of self awareness, then so should be the solar system.

In order for self-awareness = complexity +X, one of the following would have to be true

  1. The solar system is self aware
  2. The solar system is less complex than any of the human beings it contains.

Each one feels like a long shot to me. It seems quite feasible to build contraptions of arbitrary complexity without any chance for them being self aware.

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