Question from John:
When computers become truly self-aware and sentient beings, will they be able to comprehend biological life or the existence of their creators? Would they not be in the same quandary as us biological, physical beings when contemplating a creator outside of our experience?
Answer by SmartLX:
If computers ever become sentient, they’ll be able to observe the deliberate construction of new computers, and they’ll be able to understand that this is the only way computers can come about. All evidence of older computers going back to Charles Babbage’s original machine will bear the hallmarks of artificiality and careful assembly. Furthermore, there will be surviving detailed documentation – visual and textual – by the creators and their contemporaries describing the history, purpose and inherent problems of each component. Even if humans have vanished by this point, computers will have very few mysteries to ponder about their own origins, especially considering that a wealth of their history is stored on today’s computers and would presumably be passed down.
Compare this to the human condition. Our only reason for supposing that we were deliberately created is that very early on we generalised the idea that we can build things to suggest that everything was built by something like us, including us. We now have the technology to watch new human beings develop spontaneously from a single cell, without any guidance whatsoever. We see countless similarities between ourselves and other animals, some of which are not just pointless from a design perspective but actively dangerous to us (e.g. the appendix). There is more evidence all the time supporting the idea that, far from being a special creation, we are the ongoing result of an undirected process that’s been going on for longer than we can fathom.
Meanwhile, to approach your question from an entirely different angle, just because future entities which have creators might wonder if they have creators does not mean that every entity that wonders whether it has a creator does in fact have one. That would be like saying that because all dogs are mammals, all mammals must be dogs. It’s a logical fallacy formally known as affirming the consequent. Perhaps coincidentally or perhaps not, it’s the same fallacy that leads one to think that because we know some complex things are created, all complex things must be.
Question from John: