Consciousness is always an “I-consciousness”. This “I” is a “here” as a distinction from a “there”. An “inside” versus an “outside”. And that in turn makes it easy to imagine that this will eventually emerge spontaneously in a neural network.
Namely, when a group of internal neurons reflects the state of neurons of the input layer. And then another group of neurons learns to separate and distinguish both of them.
The network differentiates then: Here is inside is “me”, there is outside is “not me”. Identification with the inner state would then be what we call consciousness.
You can not explain this better than Sesame Street:
This fascinates children who are about to discover their “I” and thus to develop their self-awareness: Me is always “here”. It always comes with you wherever you go.
This post was inspired by an article on Spektrum.de
“Ist die Realität mehr als die Summe ihrer Teile?”
and the english original on Quantamagazine.org
“A Theory of Reality as More Than the Sum of Its Parts”