I have just finished reading The World in Six Songs by Daniel Levitin, which was a birthday present from a friend that I highly recommend.
[note to self: is the fact that all of my birthday presents were either books or malt whiskey something I should be concerned by or proud of?]
In it Levitin examines the evolution of music alongside the evolution of human consciousness. This sounds terribly dry but is in fact compelling and fun in his hands he marries it to a dissection of the music of The Beatles, Paul Simon, Neil Young to Arcade Fire, Sting and Johnny Cash.
In any case towards the end of the book he talks about systems displaying evidence of consciousness. An individual ant in an any colony is no more aware of the actions of the whole than an individual neuron in the brain is aware of taste or thought or dreams.
This made me think about Michael Wesch's YouTube film "The Machine is Us" from a year of so back. Millions of people sorting, sifting the web, creating and collaborating...
I am sure I am very late to have this thought. We are the ants or the neurons. And it has only just occurred to me that the next big step is when the web attains consciousness!