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<p>Given the current pace of advances in artificial intelligence and neural computing, the possibility of building smart machines that could compete with human intelligence now seems more likely than ever. Many researchers believe that artificial consciousness is possible and that, in the future, it will emerge in complex computing machines. </p> <p>The strongest motivation for constructing a self-aware machine is the innate human desire to discover new horizons and enlarge science's frontiers. </p> <p>Further, developing an artificial brain based on biological brain principles would open the door to immortality. Freed from a fragile and degradable body, a being with synthetic organs, including an artificial brain, could represent humanity's next evolutionary step. </p> <p>Such a new species could quickly colonize the universe, search for alien civilizations, survive to the death of the solar system, control the energy of black holes, and move at the speed of light by transmitting to other planets the information necessary for replication. As has proven the case with all important human discoveries, the real problem will be keeping technology under control. Should self-aware computers become possible, we must ensure that we use them for human progress and not for catastrophic aims.</p>

G. Buttazzo, "Artificial Consciousness: Utopia or Real Possibility?," in Computer, vol. 34, no. , pp. 24-30, 2001.
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