We reported on Christope Menant's proposal for achieving machine consciousness by building on self-consciousness and self-representation. We've also reported in the past on Black Starfish, an experimental robot that is self-aware. With perfect timing, a Burlington Free Press article on Josh Bongard and his Black Starfish robot appeared today. Black Starfish's self-awareness is somewhere between basic self-representation and true self-awareness. Bongard believes getting from there to consciousness is theoretically possible but notes, "I'm not sure of the practical value". Philosphers and scientists have long pondered the purpose of our own consciousness which seems to them to have neither a functional purpose in our behavior nor an evolutionary benefit. New Scientist got in on the fun as well by posting an update on Nico (article intro only). Nico is another robot with rudimentary self-representation capabilities that we've mentioned before. To understand how it may be possible to get from self-representation to consciousness with the help of a little anxiety, see Menat's 2006 poster on the evolution of consciousness (PDF format).