The military was excited about these for many more reasons though: smart mines can hop and sense, and therefore the government could argue they're not land mines, they're smart robots. That means they aren't subject to the international anti-personnel landmine treaties. And since they can move, they're much harder to find and disarm. Great for war. Not so great for cleaning up after war.
What exactly is consciousness and are humans the only ones who can possess it? This is a question that has vexed philosophers for millennia. It's a debate being taken up not just by philosophers and psychologists, but also AI researchers. Is consciousness another word for "soul"? And, if so, can a robot have one?
The first computers were free-standing machines. Later, we learned how to hook them up and the result was an enormous increase in computing power. A parallel shift in our notion of selfhood is called for. The current default self, subscribed to by most people most of the time, is a stand-alone model. The new default self, to be posited in this essay, is more like a computer network.