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In contrast it is extraordinarily difficult to conceive of how subjective experience could emerge from starting material that is solely objective.

Perhaps. However, I would be somewhat surprised if we don't end up creating an AI that becomes self-aware within the next few decades, possibly even in my lifetime. Though more likely in my daughter's lifetime. Obviously conjecture, but that would throw your position into the proverbial cocked-hat. While I do see your point about chemical processes and life, I don't agree that sufficient complexity won't give rise to self-awareness (consciousness). I think we are very close -relatively speaking- to proving that in-fact by creating such an AI.
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