Thank you News for directing us to this interview of Giulio Tononi (see video embedded at bottom of post). Dr. Tononi has doctorates in both psychiatry and neurobiology and holds the David P. White Chair in Sleep Medicine, as well as a Distinguished Chair in Consciousness Science, at the University of Wisconsin. He explains that the so-called hard problem of consciousness is not really hard at all. From a bottom up physicalist perspective, it is down right impossible:
It is important to study the brain, but you will never squeeze the essence of consciousness out of gray matter. You can squeeze it as a sponge as much as you want. You will never get experience flowing out of it, because suddenly there is some special property of – that neurons firing at 40 hertz or whatever else that might be – that suddenly generates experience. And this is why philosophers have rightly pointed out for a long time that, you know, this is a very hard problem. In fact, it is so hard that I grant you it is impossible to solve that way. You cannot solve the problem of consciousness by looking at the brain, taking it in your hands, and asking yourself how could this piece of gray matter give rise to the fantasmagorie and the colors and the beauty and the shape of experience. You will not squeeze out of that.
Starting at 9:10 and ending at 9:58