I agree that consciousness is also top-down. But I think your “twinned brain” would be conscious, though perhaps differently (can sense brain waves!)
Yes, I agree from the retrospective view of consciousness (where we consider consciousness after the fact of its existence) we might imagine that anything that functions like a brain could or should be conscious. Functionally there is no reason to expect that it would be though. The computations of such a twinned brain could be carried out by a trillion separate people with pencils and paper and cell phones talking to each other without any kind of collective sense arising, at least from a purely functionalist-prospective (i.e. naive logical) view. If we don’t assume the a priori possibility of higher consciousness, it makes sense that all brain wave computations could be expressed as mathematical abstractions, devoid of any signifying content.
We have not seen any indication that complex computational systems such as the internet are becoming proto-conscious by themselves, nor does it feel intuitively like any such thing is about to happen.
This response may have awakened me to the fact that I may have functionalist tendencies as far as consciousness goes. I don’t know why… I suppose that a broad theme in the history of science is “specialness” being knocked off it’s high horse. No, the earth is not the centre, etc. This applies here:
It’s not a brain, but it can react just like one. So, what makes a brain special enough to claim consciousness? (where a computer, or a network of a trillion humans can’t)?
I actually think that a network of a trillion humans cooperating piecemeal in some sort of joint effort might be conscious! We may not have seen any signs of proto consciousness in the internet. But does an individual neuron see the signs of consciousness in us?? I’d say no… it merely coexists in a community with it’s neighbours. It never notices that we are thinking about philosophy of mind! If anything, it might notice it’s neighbors changing behaviour, but why would it take this as a sign that it is comprising part of an emergent conscious network?
With that in mind, how would we ever know if the internet (now or in a future state) became conscious? My submitting this post could be a tiny pebble in the rockfall of some strange qualia that can only be experienced by the sort of thing the internet has become.
To me, these ideas are exciting!