Nice treatment of the subject. I liked it. As far as Earthly biology goes, consciousness is a bug, not a feature (look around). As for humans, it is a tiny, emergent part of a display screen for the recording/image generating subsystem. Our executive function subsystem is tiny compared to the autonomous parts (instincts, emotions, etc). I’m with you that it is wondrous and awesome to contemplate, but “People do stuff. They have reasons for doing stuff; in that order.”-Dave Malakar
I don’t think machine AI is that far away, as the part that’s missing is just to let it run on its own with open loop random forgetfulness and closed-loop reinforcements (machine learning).
You should probably get checked for stroke susceptibility and see a cardiac specialist before you pass out again. Fainting is not normal. Have you ever had a whiplash injury? You may have to adjust something about your lifestyle or diet.
As for consciousness residing outside the brain: no. Just no. ;)