Within our lifetimes, computers could approach human-level intelligence. But will they be to consciously experience the world? A future where the thinking capabilities of computers is approaching our own is rapidly coming into view. We feel the hot breath of ever more powerful machine learning algorithms down our neck. Rapid progress will create, within the lifetime of most readers, machines with human-level intelligence, capable of speech, reasoning, with myriad of applications to economics, politics and inevitably warcraft. The birth of true artificial intelligence will profoundly affect humankind’s future, including whether it has any. Published in the December 2019 issue of Scientific American.