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Andreas Kluth

What Is Consciousness? Scientists Compete to Find Out

A new type of experiment could get us closer to grasping human consciousness. Or it could simply raise it.

I think, therefore I am.

I think, therefore I am.

Photographer: John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images

In the world of science, there’s so much to be excited about right now. But I’m especially intrigued by a set of experiments that may, eventually, raise human consciousness.

I mean that literally: The goal of this research is to understand what exactly “consciousness” is and how it works. Which animals have it? Why do people sometimes lose it? Could artificial intelligence ever make our machines self-aware?