It is a belief of mine that machines are the higher life form. Generally it is believed that we make and take care of machines because they make our lives better. That implies the that we are the higher life form, yet things are not always as they seem. Sort of the chicken and the egg conundrum.
What is the relationship between plants and animals? Animals need plants to survive, yet some plants are dependent on animals. How many species of plants would we loose if we lost the Honeybee? In our little galactic universe we have plants animals and machines. It is a matter of evolution.
If machinery is a higher life form machines would have a greater intelligence. Sort of like proving the existence of ghosts and UFOS. You might believe something is there, but be thoroughly unable demonstrate it’s existence.
Sort of like me the cats and fish. I feed the cats and fish, they depend on me. The cats probably know more about me than I know. They sniff me when I come in. This tells them where I have been and done. The fish, not so much. They probably have no idea where the food comes from. Yet I cannot be sure of that, we have never had the conversation. That is reasonable as my brain is so much bigger. I never had the conversation with the cats either. Yet given the chance, they would eat the fish. Higher life forms with bigger brains simply know more, we think.
It could be argued that machines have a massive digital brain. Still, not all machines are digital, some are analog. There has been a digital revolution in my lifetime. Looking at history though it could be argued that machines had become sentient long before the digital revolution.
Me, my memory is not so good. I may be good at figuring things out, but I do not remember things. I like to say I only count to three. Give me four things to do and I will need to write them down. I have never had much of a memory.
Years ago my wife gave me a beautiful grandfather clock. Made of oak brass and glass, it is quite handsome. I wind it weekly. It is a little deal we have, I wind the clock, the clock tells us the time. With just a little care it is quite accurate. Till recently. The weight for the hourly bong had slowed down. I made a couple of attempts to reset the clock without success. Then I realized what had happened, like me, the clock would only count to three. The clock was still keeping perfect time, and would properly chime the hours. Just when it came to the bong, like me, the clock would stop at three.
I would be willing to argue, even a completely analog machine, is sentient.