A common error is that we assert consciousness as an instance, the artefact of a fractal (in this context), and the narrow end of aspirations to explanatory closure and teleology more native to language than to information, matter, energy or natural computation. It is not the artefact or instance and patterned order that leads to insights here.
It is the unifying principle and foundational abstraction of which self-similarity in each of its iterations and bifurcations manifests that is more powerful. That is also far more ontologically slippery and problematic to articulate or represent. Rather than those instances which manifest and demonstrate fractal self-similarity and recursive compression as, in or through the algorithmic abstraction of complex systems that autonomously “seek” higher-dimensional self-representation as natural consequence and corollary of entropy, it is the process and dynamical symmetry that this represents that holds the holistic skeleton keys here.
Conjectures are risky, but: it is is the recursive self-representation and optimally concise encoding of recursive self-representation itself that indicates what consciousness both is and does. Intelligence, also and by this measure, is endemic to complexity.