(1) Remember the Consciousness steals research when conquering a base of another faction. There are benefits to going after University early on. (2) Since the Consciousness has the -1 growth, I think using crawlers to build up the mineral and energy production of its bases (as a substitute for popbooming) is important. (3) Not ICSing with the Consciousness ignores the +2 efficiency, since the bureaucracy drone limit goes up as efficiency goes up. (4) Since Consciousness is immune to the negative effects of the Cybernetic SE, I would try to get to Digital Sentience as soon as possible.