In the mid 70s, Steve Thaler began toying with rudimentary artificial neural networks. Soon after, he began to experiment with colonies of neural networks that launched into brainstorming sessions with one another to produce the equivalent of stream of consciousness and contemplation.
As he observed these neural architectures developing attitudes about themselves, he began to wonder if all of the sublime aspects of human cognition, including feeling and self-awareness, could be captured in inorganic systems of switches and interconnections. Ultimately, his answer was yes. (Excerpt from initsimage.org)