Jelke: “Animals are supposed to have a kind of simple awareness and consciousness is limited to humans who not only are aware but are aware that they are aware.“
Why would anyone think that animals are not aware that they are aware? Animals are not random actors; they know what they are doing. They solve problems, do analysis, come to conclusions, take appropriate action based on those conclusions, use tools, communicate, and build things -- just like people-animals. The decision space they operate in (within which they exercise their free will choices) may be small but all that means is that their consciousness is simply limited by different constraints than ours. Not inferior, not superior, just a different application/configuration of the same fundamental consciousness individually defined by its own unique constraints and opportunities for personal growth (such constraints also limit growth potential). Consciousness is consciousness — AI Guy will fall under that same description. All sentient entities are conscious — each has its own decision space that it must operate within. By definition, all such PMR critters, including people, furry critters, and AI Guy have a nonphysical part (because consciousness is nonphysical). If one wants to call that nonphysical part a soul, then AI Guy, your dog, and even that worm you put on your hook has a soul. Of course all souls, or nonphysical parts, are not equivalent — their extent, capacity for growth, potential, and entropy are a function of each entities configuration in consciousness space (decision space, limitations, growth potential etc.) All this is discussed in much more detail in Book 2
Jelke: “you say that awareness and consciousness are two sides of the same coin, two aspects of the same thing“ — what thing?
Short answer: Yes, this thing is what you named: 'Ultimate Reality' whose nature is consciousness
Long answer defining what the thing is:
The thing is its two sides taken together: aware consciousness and conscious awareness —you can call it either. There is no such thing as unaware consciousness or consciousness without free will or consciousness that cannot modify itself by increasing or decreasing its entropy (evolve). Book 2 Ch 6 describes consciousness as a form of digital potential energy. “Energy is normally defined as the ability or capacity to do work, to effect a change. Digital energy has the ability to change digital content and modify digital structure. In other words, digital energy has the ability to rearrange bits, to organize and reorganize, to increase or decrease entropy and synergy within a system. A system has potential digital energy if it has the potential to be organized or structured more profitably — that is, structured in such a way as to reduce its average entropy.
Consciousness (the thing) represents a self-modifying system that applies the Fundamental Process to lower its average entropy. Consciousness is energy, digital energy, the energy of organization.“
In Book2 Ch 7: It may be helpful for you to expand and generalize your concept of energy by thinking of synergy and entropy as two sides of the same energy coin.
An evolving digital consciousness system, which is the same as a digital system of self-organizing energy called consciousness, experiences the following: decreasing entropy, increasing synergy, a greater ability to do work (profitably organize to produce intended results), an increase in the available and useful system energy, a conversion of digital potential energy into actualized digital energy, more profitable organization
through intentional self-modification, the development of a more powerful and capable digital system, increasing quality, and spiritual growth — all are essentially different expressions of the same thing.
At the end of Book 1 ch 26 reality cells are defined and in book 1 Ch 27 how these reality cells form a digital potential (that becomes the source of this thing that you named: 'Ultimate Reality' whose nature is consciousness) is discussed.
Jelke: “Basically, all I am interested in is: what am I in a state of zero entropy? Of course, I experience it every day when I fall asleep but then I am unconscious! To 'know' what I am I have to remain conscious.“
You will not be in a zero entropy state, until you evolve to that point. Your various awareness’s (in both physical and nonphysical virtual realities) are part of your process of evolution. If you fall asleep but remain conscious, you end up in an “out of body“ state. That is not a zero entropy state, it is simply an awareness of another reality in which you exist and operate. It is another place where you experience and evolve by making choices. If you were to ever get even very near to a local zero entropy you might merge into a low entropy portion AUM and become one with the One. And/Or you might just take on some new low entropy subsets (thereby increasing you entropy) and try to raise them like AUM raised you. You repeat the pattern that defines the system — the consciousness evolution fractal system that is reality (that’s coming in Book 3).
Hope at least some of this helps.