Two problems related to the identification of consciousness are the distribution problem—or how and among which entities consciousness is distributed in the world—and the moral status problem—or which species, entities, and individuals have moral status. The use of inferences from neurobiological and behavioral evidence, and their confounds, for identifying consciousness in nontypically functioning humans, nonhuman animals, and artificial intelligence is considered in light of significant scientific uncertainty and ethical biases, with implications for both problems. Methodological, epistemic, and ethical consensus are needed for responsible consciousness science under epistemic and ethical uncertainty. Consideration of inductive risk is proposed as a potential tool for managing both epistemic and ethical risks in consciousness science.

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