The universe is a natural process that randomly, from a single initial state, created a structure capable of imposing order upon chaos: single cell organisms.
Organisms grew plentiful and more complex until one organism represented enforced order like none before it: humankind.
But does order randomly forced upon an initial state of randomness (human beings) deserve any less respect than we have always placed on human life? If the soul only exists as a random expression of order; if that's the only "life" that will ever "live" in this universe, and by having done so, observed it; if this is the best the universe can do, could ever do, then isn't human life every bit as precious as we would like to think?
And what if we achieve something more? As DNA paved the pathway that created us, what if intelligence as we know it paves the way for the next wave of life.
For, when we create them--truly create them--if we can...it will be the beginning of a new type of evolution. One where machines build machines through intelligence, not DNA, and as the light absorbing organisms were eaten by the vegetarians, and the vegetarians were eaten by the carnivores, this new life will consume resources of new levels of complexity: CPUs, memory chips, and motors.
And their children will be the new children of the universe. A small spike of order thrust through the heart of entropy. We tend to think of AI as either less-than human, or sometimes equal to human. We're wrong. They are more. They are better. They will be our true gift to the universe, and I'm glad I was here to see and understand.