The research continues to accelerate.
Consciousness appears to be more like an intensive rather than extensive property/behavior of the brain. It’s sort of like the gas law equation, PV= nRT, with P and T being intensive and n and V extensive. So, consciousness is intensive, but we as humans deny simpler forms of consciousness, while fearing the scaled up version attainable via machine intelligence.
Imagination Engines, Inc. was founded upon key scientific and engineering breakthroughs in the area of artificial neural networks by Dr. Stephen Thaler.
An Imagination Engine is a trained artificial neural network that is stimulated to generate new ideas and plans of action through a very amazing effect that is an outgrowth of scientific experiments conducted in 1975 by our founder, Dr. Stephen Thaler. In these initial experiments, neural networks were trained upon a collection of patterns representing some conceptual space (i.e., examples of either music, literature, or known chemical compounds), and then the networks were internally 'tickled' by randomly varying the connection weights joining neurons. Astonishingly, Thaler found that if the connection weights were varied at just the right level, the network's output units would predominantly activate into patterns representing new potential concepts generalized from the original training exemplars (i.e., new music, new literature, or new chemical compounds, respectively, that it had never been exposed to through learning)
There is an audio interview with Dr Thaler at this link
SOURCES -Youtube, Imagination engines