At some point in time during the evolution, because of some factors, some beings first started to become conscious of themselves and their surroundings. That conscious experience is beyond some mere sensory reflexive actions trained. Can that be possible with AI?
Current limitations in our knowledge mean that the question is not directly answerable:
There is no scientific consensus on what consciousness is. Therefore any device designed to "be conscious" is necessarily going to be built on the premise of unsupported, maybe fringe, theory.
There is no robust measure of consciousness. If any AI system was built in order to exhibit conscious behaviour, there would be no way to prove it is conscious. There is no general agreement or theory on whether any particular animal species is conscious for example. This is often limited by communication. Of the few animals smart enough to be trained in communication with humans, there appears to be conscious behaviour. Researcher opinion ranges from "all non-humans do not possess consciousness" to "all animals have some degree of consciousness".
There is incomplete understanding of what the components of consciousness are. A bottom-up build of a conscious machine requires a baseline theory of what those components are.
We may be able to ignore lack of knowledge and take a very high level of abstraction, such as A-life or evolutionary approach where nothing is assumed and the hope is that consciousness would spontaneously emerge from a complex enough simulation (as we assume it has done with organic life in the real world). However, this would seem to require many orders of magnitude more computing power than is currently possible.
To answer the question as written:
Can the first emergence of consciousness in the Evolution be replicated in AI?
Despite the many books, articles and posts written on this subject over many years, the answer is two-fold:
We do not know of any fundamental reason why AI could not be conscious.
We have no theory or experimental proof that AI can replicate consciousness.
I would go further than this, and say that anyone who tells you otherwise on these two points has already subscribed to some unproven theory of consciousness.
As well as well-thought-out peer-reviewed theories and experiments by scientists and researchers, there is a lot of pseudo-scientific junk published on the internet on this subject. So take care if researching reading material.
It partly depends on the framing of the question, in terms of how you are defining consciousness.
Neil Slater's answer is comprehensive, and his warnings about pseudo-science and junk publication should be heeded.
However, since you frame this in the context of "Can the first emergence of consciousness in evolution be replicated in AI", I feel like I can provide an answer.
- If we define rudimentary consciousness as simple awareness of the environment, distinct from higher functions such as self-consciousness, then yes.
Under this definition, any algorithm that takes input is "conscious". This in no way represents human-level consciousness, or even the consciousness of higher animals, but is more akin to simple organisms such as microbes.