"rather than sentient software that can do multiple tasks like a human and is but a distant reality"
A distant reality ? For the moment, it is totally science-fiction and honestly, I have to wonder if we will ever be smart enough to create industrially something that is actually intelligent. We are still learning how the brain works. We took twelve years to map the pitifully small 25 thousand neurons of a fly's brain, and it cost $40 million to get that result.
We are very far from understanding the most complex organ in our bodies and, as long as we don't, I fail to see how we will be able to create anything that is intelligent based on our technology. Frankenstein was a nice story, but there is no lightning bolt that will give life to a semiconductor. Artificial Intelligence, the real stuff, is not even on the drawing board for now.