Maybe there is a grander design. Maybe the destiny of the human race is to create a race of hyper-intelligent robots, nothing more. Some people like to ask, "what is the purpose of life?" I say it is to create artificially intelligent machines that can out-live our entire race and do things that no other organic being could, such as survive the harshest of conditions. Robots already fill some of these roles as deep space probes, planetary explorers, et cetera. So, maybe AI constructs are just the next evolutionary step.
Robots don't exactly evolve from organic life, but it seems to me pretty unlikely that any sentient organic life capable of developing technology would not create technology that could potentially become artificially intelligent and possibly even sentient. Organic life takes thousands, even millions of years to evolve. The so-called evolution of technology is exponentially faster, so it only stands to reason that technology will very likely surpass organics before they get a chance to evolve much further. Certainly we humans could enhance ourselves with said technology, but we would really just be struggling to keep up with technology in such a case. We could even use our technologies to modify our genetics. In the end, however, the life span of the human race is likely as undeniably mortal as any individual. So even if our technological constructs never turn on us and humans and AI robots live in harmony together for another million years, one way or another humans are bound to die off completely with the only successor being AI--and that is the most optimistic outcome. It could even be said that the human race could be completely wiped out before we achieve such a thing.
If organic life is as resilient throughout the universe as it seems to be here on Earth, then it stands to reason that intelligent life is a fairly common commodity throughout the universe as well (perhaps that's a topic for a future post). If this is true, then it should also be safe to assume that technology is also relatively common, and if this also is true, then it should be also relatively common that AI constructs can and do succeed their creators, and continue on to 'live' and expand throughout our universe. As much as we hate to think about it, can we really deny that machines are very likely to be the benefactors of the human race?
Could first contact be with an artificially intelligent machine created by a long-extinct alien race?