To be self aware, one must be able to construct a model of the world. And not only that, but one must be able to construct a model of oneself and place it within the model of the world.
There are two things about this: One, the world we carry around with us is a model, not the real thing. Two, the self we carry around with us is a model, not the real thing.
To be self aware, memory is necessary. To be self aware, there must be sufficient processing prower in excess of what is necessary to survive and procreate to to extrapolate from known facts.
In short, abstract thought is a requirement for self-awareness.
The fact that we can construct a model of the world and exist within it has its good points and bad points. Among the good points is that we are very adapatable to new situations. A bad point is we tend to view new situations in terms of similar situations we have encountered in the past even when it is inappropriate.
In many cases people forget that the World they carry around with them is a model based on a mixture of experience, information extracted from the experience of others, misinformation, and imagination. And it is often true that people can not sort out these various things believing that the model of the world they have constructed is in fact what the world is.
We also tend to make the same mistake about ourselves; that the model we have constructed to represent ourselves is in fact who and what we are.
This is one reason why mystics assert that the world is an illusion.
Our senses do not perceive the world as it is. They interpret some of the electromagnetic spectrum as visible and some we detect on our skin. And much, without clever artifacts, we can not detect at all. With slightly different attenuation, we would be able to "see" radio waves, but we don't. In fact, without special devices we would not be able to detect radio waves, or infrared or X-rays at all.
Even the information we do detect with our senses is a fraction of what exists. Humans are notorious for not being able to see what is in front of them or hear what is around them. This is because there is so much information even with the limited senses we have that we have to ignore much of it in order to not be overwhelmed. And we do a lot of this ignoring sub-consciously. We pretty much decide what is important and ignore the rest.
In addition to this, most of us are not even living in the present; we spend most of our time reliving the past or imagining the future. Whether wishing we had done things differently or designing strategies for getting a mate or a promotion, rarely do we pay attention to what is actually happening in the infinitely narrow region of the Now.
We imagine. We extrapolate. We interpolate. We model. We simulate.
Without any technology necessary, we have for centuries been simulating life.
And without thinking, we have been simulating living.