I think it’s only a matter of time before somebody builds a consciousness in the laboratory. If you don’t believe in souls, then a brain is just an organic computer. Here are some numbers to illustrate the plausibility:
Take the number of neurons in the cerebral cortex of a mouse (4E6) and multiply it by the number of stars in the galaxy (1E11). Now multiply it by the price of gold in USD per gram (1E3). Incredibly, the resulting number is still less than the number of transistors in the world (3E21).
Luddites may leave angry rants in the comments.