Originally posted by hardeeharhar
Self-awareness is something we can program into inorganic materials.
I think this depends on what you mean by "self aware". (I see while I've been typing this you've already gotten to that obvious point.) For some very limited definition, perhaps. As time goes on, perhaps we will develop artificial intelligence so advanced that it can pass any test we can imagine giving a human being to test their self awareness -- we're quite far from getting there at this point.
Suppose we do get there, however. Some people would still insist on saying that our AI mimicked
self awareness, rather than actually being
self aware. Why? Because there's something about one's own experience of one's own self awareness which alludes easy explanation, which feels like more than producing outputs which correspond to given inputs.
Of course, that feeling is totally internal. Not only are we unable to tell if a machine might have that kind of feeling, we can't even know for sure if other people have that feeling. Getting back to the thread topic, this points out the kind of question science can't answer -- anything regarding the full character of what another being's perceptions and awareness are like, the quality and flavor of those perceptions beyond the mere technical specifications of measured responses to given stimuli -- is not in the realm of the observable, therefore not subject to scientific discussion.
Now some people
around here should note that it's perfectly possible to reach this conclusion (a) without filling in with metaphysics or religion, and (b) without denying metaphysical or religious "explanations" either. This is where one who uses science simply says "I don't know".