Self-awareness is ranked as Level 5 information integration and above according to the following criteria:
Level 0 – Inanimate Objects
- Pain Perception: None
- Example: Rocks
Note: At this level, there is no capacity for experiencing pain or suffering.
No information integration: Inanimate objects; objects that do not modify themselves in response to interaction – e.g., rocks, mountains.
Level 1 – Sensors
- Pain Perception: None
- Example: Photo-diode sense organs
Note: These entities can sense their environment but do not have the capability to experience pain.
Non-zero information integration: Sensors – anything that is able to sense its environment – e.g., photo-diode sense organs, eyes, skin.
Level 2 – Non-Adaptive Feedback Systems
- Pain Perception: Basic aversion
- Example: Plants
- Note: While not capable of experiencing pain in the way sentient beings do, these entities exhibit basic aversive behaviors.
Information manipulation: Systems that include feedback that is non-adaptive or minimally adaptive – e.g., plants, basic algorithms, the system that interprets the output from a photo-diode to determine its on/off state (a photo diode itself cannot detect its own state). Level 2 capabilities include the following:
Level 3 – Awareness
- Pain Perception: Instinctual aversion
- Example: Insects, nematodes
- Note: These entities can react to their environment and may display signs of distress, but their understanding of pain is instinctual.
Information integration – Awareness: Systems that include adaptive feedback, This level describes animals acting on instinct and unable to classify other animals into more types than “predator”, “prey”, or “possible mate”. Level 3 capabilities include the following:
Navigational detouring (which requires an being to pursue a series of non-rewarding intermediate goals in order to obtain an ultimate reward); Examples: documentation of detouring in jumping spiders (Jackson and Wilcox 2003), motivational trade-off behavior in hermit crabs (Elwood and Appel 2009);
Emotional fever (an increase in body temperature in response to a supposedly stressful situation — gentle handling, as operationalized in Cabanac’s experiments).
This is what is considered the base level of Sentience.
Level 4 – World Model without Self
- Pain Perception: Emotional and physical pain
- Example: Dogs
- Note: Capable of more complex emotional states, these entities can experience both physical and emotional pain.
Awareness + World model: Systems that have a modeling system complex enough to create models of objects in the world, separate from themselves. a sense of other, without a sense of self – e.g., dogs. Level 4 capabilities include static behaviors and rudimentary learned behavior. can dynamically generate classification – e.g., deep-learning AI, chickens, animals that are able to react to their environment.
Level 5 – Sapient or Lucid
- Pain Perception: Emotional, physical, and existential pain
- Example: Humans
- Note: At this level, entities are capable of experiencing a wide range of pains, including existential suffering.
Awareness + World model + Primarily subconscious self model = Sapient or Lucid: Lucidity means to be meta-aware – that is, to be aware of one’s own awareness, aware of abstractions, aware of one’s self, and therefore able to actively analyze each of these phenomena. If a given animal is meta-aware to any extent, it can therefore make lucid decisions. Level 5 capabilities include the following:
The “sense of self”;
Complex learned behavior;
Ability to predict the future emotional states of the self (to some degree);
The ability to make motivational tradeoffs.
Level 6 – Enhanced Self Model
- Pain Perception: Multi-dimensional pain
- Example: Advanced AI
- Note: These entities could theoretically experience pain on multiple dimensions, both physical and virtual.
Awareness + World model + Dynamic self model + Effective control of subconscious: The dynamic sense of self can expand from “the small self” (directed consciousness) to the big self (“social group dynamics”). The “self” can include features that cross barriers between biological and non-biological – e.g., features resulting from cybernetic additions, like smartphones.
Level 7 – Global Awareness
- Pain Perception: Complex multi-dimensional pain
- Example: Hypothetical superintelligent entities, Enlightenment
- Note: At this level, the experience of pain could be so complex that it transcends our current understanding. However, Enlightenment is also possible at this level, so it’s possible that pain is also transcended.
Global awareness – Hybrid biological-digital awareness = Singleton: Complex algorithms and/or networks of algorithms that have capacity for multiple parallel simulations of multiple world models, enabling cross-domain analysis and novel temporary model generation. This level includes an ability to contain a vastly larger amount of biases, many paradoxically held. Perspectives are maintained in separate modules, which are able to dynamically switch between identifying with the local module of awareness/perspective or the global awareness/perspective. Level 7 capabilities involve the same type of dynamic that exists between the subconscious and directed consciousness, but massively parallelized, beyond biological capacities.