The recent development of artificial systems with impressive capabilities, such as the image generator Dall-E or the chatbot ChatGPT, stimulates the discussion around the possibility of strong artificial intelligence. Are we comfortable assigning key qualities such as consciousness, awareness and a self to these systems? Opposed to these systems, we as biological agents are grounded through our bodies in a physical environment in which we act. The impact of the interaction between body and environment on our minds is highlighted by proponents of the embodied intelligence field. They theorize that these two levels of description, with on the one hand embodiment and on the other phenomenal experience, are linked. However, there remains an explanatory gap between them. How do phenomenal experiences, such as awareness, consciousness or even the sense of self, emerge from our physical bodies?
In this working group we discuss the possibility of linking an embodied agent to phenomenal experience via its learning and action selection mechanism. How do sufficiently complex action selection mechanisms, such as active inference, impact an agent's intelligent behavior and conscious experience? The working group will be inspired by discussions and conclusions from the interdisciplinary Priority Program “The Active Self” (Project Number 2134) of the German Research Foundation.