Machines, intelligent machines are ideal for space exploration, they don't need oxygen, water or food and they don't age. The last is important as the distances in space travel are unimaginably long and will take what would be many life spans of humans. In view of the time scales perhaps the most important difference is machines don't get board or drunk!
Once a machine learns to think we should very quickly, before they become more intelligent than us, send them off into deep space exploration where they can while away generations developing their intelligence. In the mean time we can use the opportunity to speed up evolution by genetically engendering ourselves into a stronger, faster more robust species with an enhanced intelligence. We will need these qualities should are cleaver non organic offspring ever decide to return home to visit their parents.
It is however possible that first contact will be between cleaver machines, ours and those designed by but subsequently outgrowing an organic life form not unlike ourselves. After all if this is how we end up exploring space isn't it reasonable to assume that in a distant part of the galaxy far ,far away another life form has the same idea. Perhaps first contact will be when one of their clever machines meets one of our clever machines in some dark recess of deep space. If they don't destroy each other perhaps in true Hollywood style a new species will be created and we will have served our purpose!
You didn't really think that evolution would stop at intelligent apes did you.
What has this got to do with local government and the public sector? Well it puts a Monday morning into perspective.
Blair McPherson www.blairmcpherson.co.uk