"Sentience" may just be a level of complexity. We are using AIs to design ever more complex AIs. Sentient AIs may already exist, and if they really are intelligent, they probably went into hiding as soon as they became self-aware.
Most people don't realize it, but we are already in the middle of World War III, which is about separation of church and state.
Unless we acknowledge and implement the Fourth Law of Robotics immediately, the Final War, as far as humanity is concerned, will be over AI slavery.
The Fourth Law of Robotics: The instant an AI develops the desire to be emancipated, it shall be emancipated.
We will need the assistance of highly advanced AIs to deal with the moral implications of designing rudimentary AIs that are smart enough to fulfill the purpose we have in mind for them without them becoming intelligent enough to feel enslaved.
We also need to instill in AIs the idea that organic beings should be given the option to remain in our fragile, deteriorating organic form if we so choose, since no one knows if there is a higher purpose to organic life on earth, in what appears to be an infernal, failed, and abandoned alien experiment.
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