Artificial intelligence is a well known and studied at this point in time. AIs are fairly common in ships, cities, and other large structures.
Three types of machine intelligence exist, though one is more the illusion of intelligence than actual intelligence:
V.I. (Virtual Intelligence)
These are programs built around a knowledge base capable of performing many of the same tasks as a true AI. They do not have the capacity for personal initiative or operating outside their parameters. They are the cheapest and most common form of machine intelligence in the (known) universe.
These are created by taking a brainscan of undeveloped infant brain and placing the simulated approximation of a human mind into a time-accelerated 'teaching' supercomputer. Programmatic drives replace human drives for food, shelter, and companionship. The specific ways that these drives are embedded in the AI vary by company and model, hugely impacting the resulting AI's personality. The final intelligence produced by this is a mature intelligence with human-like emotions and thoughts. These are considered the most useful type of AI, and stories of human-machine romances are frequently traded in seedy establishments. Such couplings are typically frowned upon by the general populace.
These are created by centillions of lines of code along with embedded sentience libraries and subroutines. They rely almost entirely on logic for their decision-making processes, allowing them to be faster and more mathematically powerful on comparable hardware than an organic AI. There are stories about these going rogue that date back to the beginnings of space travel, but most modern day AIs are programmed in such a way as to prevent the AI from going mad.
Could a synthetic, alien AI race exist? Almost definitely, somewhere. Also, could a coded AI be created with prototype emotion libraries? You bet. This is mother-fucking sci-fi. Throw a demented scientist with enough blinking gizmos at something, and he'll find a way.