The first and simplest process of consciousness is sensation - interaction of an [external] process with an [internal] sensor. When interaction of the [external] stimulus causes [internal] response, that process is sensation.

Sensation is utterly basic - sensation is the response of a single pixel to light, not an entire CCD. Sensation is the only information a conscious being can have. All knowledge and information beyond responses and measures of individual sensor elements are inferences - performed by processes of consciousness.

While a being with only one sensor might perform conscious processes, they would be limited. To understand and manipulate reality in varied, effective and sophisticated ways requires more complex processes of consciousness - including memory, perception and generalized inference.

The processes of perception makes inferences about reality on the basis of many sensations. For example, to infer a group of nearby pixels with similar color, intensity or pattern corresponds with an [external] physical entity - is one process of perception. To infer groups of nearby pixels on successive CCD images correspond with some single [external] enduring entity is another process of perception. And many subsequent processes of perception are equally important.

To perform fundamental processes of perception effectively with modern high-resolution sensors requires an enormous number of computations. This prevented ICE from functioning effectively in realistic environments in real-time - until recently. Fortunately, we developed ways to speed the most computation-intensive processes of perception by one-thousand to several-million times, depending on circumstances. So now, ICE can move-through and manipulate rapidly-changing environments with amazing precision and speed.


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