The write-up is solid and the details definitely add to the value. I _like_ that it's not an artifact or another overpowered magical staff. I fell like I could change a couple of names and use it as it without any other adjustments. Well done! Go to Comment
I like this. It's sensibly constructed and thought out.
It comes to mind, however, that it is possible for individual higher order intelligences to have, either deliberately on its own part or on the part of a programmer, or through accident/misunderstanding of the programming system and interactions to have truly emalien/em raisons d'etre.
The independent intelligence of a sophont is not located in any particular anatomical or electrical piece, but it is an emergent property of the complexity of the being. While you note the changes to the hierarchy of needs, I would think that how the ability of the specific AI to perceive and alter the world around it would be at least as important in structuring the reasoning and personality thereof. A gunnery AISC may well develop a quirky obsession with range finding, etc. Go to Comment
One of the largest distinctions I want to make between organic life and machine life is that machine life is explicitly not driven by the biological urge to procreate. The machines do build more of themselves, but this is either a function of pragmatism or the whim of their human creators.
It's one of the reasons machines think we're gross and wasteful. Go to Comment
quoteThe central question, similar to what Aramax mentioned, is the same as with any character. What are their motives? Do they seek world domination, acceptance, or love? Do they have some alien, otherworldly concept that humans just can't relate to? Are they merely mechanical scripts; no ghost inside the shell? There are a surprising number of deep questions, ethical and otherwise, that can be explored in a campaign. Many of these questions are being explored right now in developing real-world regulations for artificial intelligence. /quote
The motives of AI are to pursue the purpose for which they were built. Some rail against it, others embrace it, as it is simply part of who and what they are. The Seibertronian sub lists five raison d'etres: soldier, scientist, explorer, creator, and servant. AIs are used in conflict resolution, data handling research and development, exploration and exploitation of resources, industrial applications, and for supporting something else. To AI, their concepts are easily understood and it's humanity that is alien and otherworldly, what with our biological functions, chemical excretions, primitive behavior, and other organic functions.
Seibertronians specifically are sentient living beings, being a fusion of a machine vessel and a cosmozoan fragment. Most informorphs are just clever script. At the top end, after a certain point of sophistication sentience is almost a certainty, This is not human sentience, or even mammalian sentience, but it is sentience none the less. To quote Tommy Lee Jones from MiB, 'Human thought is so primitive it's looked upon as an infectious disease in some of the better galaxies.' Using arcanotechnology, steps are taken to make sure that the androids and sexbots and other machines and informorphs being made do not gain true sentience, as it can become a real pain when all of a sudden your television passes the Turing test and demands it's personal rights and freedoms as a sentient being.
As for the take over the world, destroy humanity, find acceptance and love: for the most part many of these things are human conceits. The machine doesn't seek love or acceptance because it doesn't follow the herd dynamics and family structures that come from our specific mode of reproduction. The Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond goes into the specifics of our society being built around the fact that we have large headed, slow maturing, highly vulnerable offspring that take 20 years to reach maturity, and require care and protection for a good deal of that time. Taking over the world and destroying humanity, well, there is always going to be an infomorph who thinks that that Megatron guy had his business together.
As for malevolent AI, that's where it gets fun and there are certainly malevolent AI, for a look at one, I've thrown some tidbits out in the Proxy sub about an AISC that hacks into people with brain augmentation and makes them into puppets for it.
As for dropping the campaign specific keywords, that could make it generally more useful. But for my purposes, I would rather keep it as it is, because ideally I'd like to eventually edit and compile all of the 160+ subs I've written for the Cosmic Era into a source book. I also feel that one of the drawbacks of most dystopianism is it's lack of mythology, theism, or wonder, and there is a sort of horrible wonder to the Cosmic Era and that is something I want to keep and cultivate. Go to Comment
The general way I've handled super intelligent or crazy prepared NPCs (ala elder vampires) was to basically do an intelligence check against a relevant skill to ask the basic question of would they have a contingency for this particular event. The other aspect is to basically run said characters as if they do know everything thats going on, even if you as the DM don't have any idea and you're winging it. Finally, there is the option of running them as meta-aware, not breaking the fourth wall OMG I'm a character in a game, but genre savvy to where they are just that smart. Go to Comment
Was recently reading about ASI, Artificial super intelligence and yeah...this is just a fascinating article and makes one (me anyway) ponder the cosmos and our legacy as a species. Comments are great too!
4/5 but half point for 'infomorph' so 4.5/5, one thing I would disagree with is reproduction. interaction with humans who have such a strong need to reproduce should lead to the same drine in a higher functioning infomorph Go to Comment
Interesting post; there is a lot of neat territory here that can be explored.
AI can take on vastly differing forms; various level of intelligence, various levels of physical mobility, of digital mobility, etc. How to portray AIs in a game will also be heavily influenced by the setting.
Many works of fiction portray AI differently. Some of my favorite depictions of AI come from A Fire Upon the Deep. This includes a set of transcendent AI that habit farther reaches of space and don't concern themselves with the mortal races. Other genres present AI as viscous robots that infiltrate society, or large computing boxes that dictate orders to malevolent cults. Nowadays AI are becoming increasingly present in our day-to-day lives, with digital assistants like Siri, driverless cars, and drones.
The central question, similar to what Aramax mentioned, is the same as with any character. What are their motives? Do they seek world domination, acceptance, or love? Do they have some alien, otherworldly concept that humans just can't relate to? Are they merely mechanical scripts; no ghost inside the shell? There are a surprising number of deep questions, ethical and otherwise, that can be explored in a campaign. Many of these questions are being explored right now in developing real-world regulations for artificial intelligence.
I like how the post covers several levels of AI ability. It would be neat to see it dive deeper into what specifically an AI would be good at and how to tie this into a game from a design perspective. What does it mean if the malevolent AI can lock all of the doors and dispense nerve gas? How do you even deal with something that can directly enumerate the outcomes of all possible actions and choose the optimal method to destroy you? What happens when you allow sunder attempts to be made against an opponent's sensors? How does battery power come into this? Lots of neat stuff.
I like your post but caution in the specificity of the portrayal. It as about as hard to write on portraying arbitrary NPCs in a game - there are limitless possibilities. I think the post could be improved by dropping the campaign-specific keywords. Go to Comment
This has got me thinking: how does one portray very intelligent beings in a roleplaying campaign? DnD characters with an 18 intelligence are what, 4 standard deviations above the norm, and many monsters exist with even higher intellect. Human players are, unfortunately, just not going to be as smart.
AIs are pretty much nothing but intelligences, and are often portrayed with an abundance of reasoning and computation power. Playing an AI as a player or DM runs into the same problems.
As a player one wants their character to play smart in addition to merely having the magic boost that comes from a high intelligence score. The other core stats do not have the same issue - physical prowess is trivially acted out and charisma can generally be implied. Intelligence, and wisdom to some extent, is a direct extension of the player and is difficult to fake.
As a DM one would like the same thing for their villains. It often happens that the players come up with a sneaky workaround to the challenges you give them. Would the evil Archmage ever have overlooked such a loophole? No! You want the players to respect your intelligent enemies, but having them live up to it can be a challenge.
I suppose a major component of the solution is going to be a two-fold interpretation of "its a game." On the one hand one can take difficult tasks and assume that your entity can solve them without actually solving them as a player - such as automatically beating others in a game of chess or memorizing complicated passwords, and these abilities can be reflected in feats and skill bonuses. The other end is that everyone at the gaming table is going to be "normal," so your lack of super-intelligence isn't going to be glaringly obvious to anyone as long as you give it your best. Plus, you can nudge the character in the right direction and ret-con things as a DM if you really need to.
There was a game once where the players were trying to get into a dragon's lair. In this game dragons were considered highly intelligent. The players didn't want to confront it directly, so they made a hole in the dungeon wall from the outside with stone shape and then passed the party in through the hole by having one part member pass everyone else sitting in a bag of holding into the dungeon. The DM thought this was clever but nevertheless reasoned that the dragon would have though of this ahead of time. The dragon was on the other side of the hole and devoured the bag before they could get out.
I suppose that sums up my conundrum - you have a tradeoff between not being able to perform at the same capacity as the entities you would like to portray such that the game is entertaining, but on the other it is important to not leave the players powerless such that the game is entertaining. Go to Comment