The reason we have continuous consciousness is that while interacting, we may need to act or react to bodily processes and the happenings in the world at any time, sometimes instantly, to provide us beneficial outcomes.
Putting it differently, any interaction that requires judgmental power needs its data to be available to IPS
(more under title Why is DOS Needed?). Consciousness is designed by the evolutionary process to allow such data to become available to IPS, thereby benefiting from the capability of making free will decisions
(more under title Free Will – in detail) that VP-LB dialogue produces.
If there were no free will, there was no requirement of consciousness.
Based on the same, it can be derived that as animal and other organisms have free will, they have consciousness. As machines don't have free will, one can say with certainty that they do not have consciousness, which is contrary to the belief that as consciousness is a subjective experience, it is impossible to objectively know if anything has it.
In 1990, neuroscientists Francis Crick and Christof Koch had come up with a hypothesis of consciousness, which suggested that "one of the functions of consciousness is to present the result of various underlying computations and that this involves an attentional mechanism that temporarily binds the relevant neurons together by synchronizing their spikes in 40 hz oscillations". The hypothesis did not catch much momentum, as what lead to such computations, why neurons were synchronizing at 40 hz oscillations and how consciousness emerged was not known.
Below are DOS mechanisms underlying Crick and Koch hypothesis:
"...one of the functions of consciousness is to present the result of various underlying computations…"
The underlying computations mentioned above are the result of the filtration process to segregate information to be assigned as conscious, as explained under title How Interactions are Filtered.
"…and that this involves an attentional mechanism…"
Paying attention to something is when VP processes information regarding the same, which is explained under title Attention Mechanism. The above happens because the filtered information is presented to VP for processing.
"…that temporarily binds the relevant neurons together by synchronizing their spikes in 40 hz oscillations."
When VP and LB hold dialogue and update each other's status, the multiple instances of such to-&-fro communication, using IPS, (explained under title How does IPS Work?, is seen as oscillations.
For millenniums, numerous debates and studies have been unable to give proper explanation of what consciousness is and how it works. The reason it has become one of the main subjects of mind and brain studies is that it is often mistaken for the richness of phenomena it enables, thereby offering rich attributes to it, as explained in the following analogy:
If there is no electricity, one cannot turn on the computer and browse websites on the internet. Even when electricity enables us to browse websites, it does not mean that websites, e.g. Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, etc., can be understood by studying electricity.
Consciousness enables sensory experiences and thoughts to reach immediate awareness, so they can be considered for intramural communication, and, besides offering LB driven and VP controlled level of such awareness, it does not participate in their workings in any other way.
As VP and LB play role in attention, awareness, emotions, imagination, perception, etc., which are connected to consciousness, its nature and how it works cannot be understood without having the knowledge of how they work, their relation to each other and how they are connected to VP and LB.
Note: For explanation of all aspects of consciousness, visit consciousnessexplained.com