In the near future, humans will have manufactured machine sentience. Such a consciousness, the first of a new species, must operate on Earth.
A memristor-based human brain analogue, which seems the most likely candidate for sentience, requires about 700W peak power to operate and requires the area of a medium-sized pizza. This implies having sufficient batteries to supply the brain with continuous electricity. To date, double carbon batteries seem to be a marked improvement over any type of lithium-based battery.
I haven't performed the calculations, but it seems reasonable to assume that such a species would not use flight to locomote, due to the weight of its power supply.
(Solar powered flying machines exist, but they are huge, so they wouldn't fit inside a house, making it difficult to socialise with humans. Detachable [or foldable] wings and re-purposed electric motors for ground travel is possible, but that cascades into other problems that probably make it an impractical design.)
Obvious basic requirements seem to be:
- Cameras (360 degree perspective, infrared, ultraviolet)
- Speaker (broad frequency range)
- Microphones (highly sensitive)
- Arms (multiple)
- Hands (because our objects are built for human-like hands)
- Track-legs (locomotion, staircases, and height change)
- Internal sensors (temperature, barometer, gyros, compass)
What appendages or abilities would such a species need, if any, to: maneuver in our world, manipulate physical objects, build children (hence evolve), and interact with humans?
In other words, if you could design an optimal inorganic sentient species without being held back by Earth's evolutionary baggage, what would it need?
Here is a render of the first draft requirements (hands aren't drawn yet and a few other items are missing, but it serves to communicate the idea):