That's why I mention the Culture space ships. They're a good case study. They seem to know all about us squishy organics and share our sensibilities to some extent. How realistic is this? Would they not have a completely different form of consciousness. not being squishy organics and living for the most part in space? Hard to say. Universe cannot exist without consciousness. A nice conceit because it's not provable, by definition. 'The minimum number of Universe is two' said Buckminster-Fuller. The experiencer and the experienced. So maybe it doesn't matter what form it takes. In fact the Culture space ships would seem to be one step ahead of us, their brains exist in some sort of hyperspace. I don't seriously think the Internet routers-as-neurons could be conscious. As I've mentioned elsewhere I am a Penrosian in that respect. No algorithmic machine can be conscious, in which case our own brains are not just neural nets. Something else is going on, maybe quantum s**t. And as the latest quantum computers are just extensions of algorithmic computing models I can't see any chatty iPads appearing any time soon. It's not so much the technology as the paradigm. A sea change at MIT? No chance. Too many vested interests.