I'm probably a paranoid asshat, as always, but I think it's entirely likely that the Machine, if it is an organism like has been posited above, will eventually 'wake up,' or achieve consciousness. If we are members of the Machine, and we are aware of its existence, then is that not already a kind of consciousness? If full consciousness happens in the Machine, I'm fairly certain that we're fucked, even though I'm not entirely sure what the hell I'm talking about.
no. if it will achieve consciousness we will probably not notice because its consciousness is at a whole different level than ours. perhaps a psychic could, but only with severe risk of head asplody.
but i don't think it's even anywhere near that level of complexity. i think it would need a lot more "control" than it currently has, we'd have to be real mindless drones in order for it to function consciously, but that's just guesswork. from the way it's acting, i would judge it's level of awareness somewhere like .. an anthill (considering that a big anthill is theoretically a single organism).
to RWHN: that was an awesome piece of writing there! i'd give you mittens if i weren't too hungover to actually fetch them.
also, what we are trying to accomplish does not necessarily have to work *against* the machine. the living organism is not "alive" because of what it is made of, but because of the pattern which it has made of itself. if we try to destroy the machine or work against it in a manner hurtful to it, it will lash out and defend itself. even the simplest organisms have defence mechanisms in order just to stay "alive", which means continual existence of its pattern (because the matter will stay there, alive or dead). we know a lot of the machine's defence mechanisms, but there are probably also more subtle ones. if we can find any way in which the machine is allowed to live, preserve its pattern, then it will not "care" very much. the solution lies in the transition to a different machine, one that is benevolent to human beings.
the problem is that it's a two-way problem, more freedom for the individual human beings means less complexity of pattern for the machine. it will probably not like being "dumbed down" in such a matter. ... i'm lost again.