Carbon’s covalent bond structure allows for a greater number of molecular combinations than any other element, maximizing it’s role as a building block for complexity. Discoveries made from biochemistry and nanotechnological research has spectacularly confirmed this. Carbon in the form of diamond, and now surpassed by its fullerene companions, are the hardest, strongest, and most versatile materials known. Its amazing how a single element arranged in one way can be soft and brittle (graphite), and in another extremely strong. Nanotubes as they are now known, are sure to become the building blocks of ultra-miniaturized computational machinery and large-scale mega-engineering projects. We are already seeing applications utilizing nanotubes, and there are already plans for using it to build space elevators. And here is a company planning to do it.
If there is other molecular-based life in this universe, chances are carbon plays a crucial role. In our quest for building better brains, the underlying hardware will increasingly resemble our wetware and ultimately surpass it – eliminating any previous difference between computer and neural architecture. The implications of such computer-brain symbiosis are startling, because we essentially become conscious software, gaining the ability to fully reprogram ourselves while freely running on increasingly superior hardware. Imagine for starters perfect recall of all knowledge and archived experience, fully customizable reality mediation and creation, complete empathy/telepathy with others, and the ability to choose exactly what state of mind and mood you’re in. Imagine states of ecstatic bliss becoming the norm in which further experience and exploration is pursued. A place where love is realized, not for any moral correctness, but as the most rational choice available. Please see The Hedonistic Imperative for a great treatise on this subject.