Link to a story about a computer deciphering Captchas. Those are the twisted lines of letters and numbers you have to type in at certain websites to prove you're human. Computers can't scan them properly.
Years ago I read a book called The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil, and it talks about pattern recognition. That's an area where the human brain excels. Computers are faster and so on, but they can't analyze patterns the way our brains can. But science is working on that. When super fast computers with their massive storage capacity achieve human-like pattern recognition ability, we'll be at the point of creating artificial intelligence (strong AI, it's called).
And then after strong AI becomes established, we will approach what Kurzweil calls the Singularity, a giant leap forward in intelligence. Like from ape to homo sapiens. Only, the AI leap will be millions of times greater. No way to gauge it. And no way to stop it. Because computer speeds and storage sizes double each year, and component sizes and costs are cut in half each year, research and development labs cannot help but create strong AI at some point. In the name of business competition if nothing else, humans will create intelligent machines.
The new AI machines will be self replicating. They will build better versions of themselves, then so will the next generation, ad infinitum. They will also retain the fundamental feature of human intelligence, which is the need to overcome limitations. Intelligent machines will naturally expand outward, and in the process conquer the biggest limitation to physical expansion--the speed of light. Once we achieve faster than light travel, our intelligence (trillions of times greater than it is now) will spread outward until it permeates the universe.
Or so Kurzweil said. All I know is I still have trouble deciphering Captchas.