Machine Intelligence in the Cosmic Era
In the Cosmic Era computers and machine intelligence are everywhere, and it is from the central control centers of the arcologies where a central computer, typically an LAISC, monitors and controls the flow of water, air, and power to the M12 AISCs that control and run the CogNet. These massive machine intellects carry out the billions of actions needed to keep a highly technological society moving seemlessly. On a basic level, almost everyone has some sort of personal data device, be it a floating neural interface like a SQUIDband configured for data usage, or the 15th generation of the smartphone, which has it's own synthetic intelligence. And between the functionality of the stupendous minds of the AISCs and the clever programming of LSI technology, there is a galaxy of machine intelligences, ranging between both extremes.
Artificial Intelligence Super Computer
The preeminent and top of the line in mechanical intelligence, the AISC is the largest and most powerful computational systems on the planet. Most of these gargantuan data processors are involved in supporting the CogNet in some form or fashion. Adding attributes to their abilities is close to pointless as they each have the ability to send and receive data at a rate of terabytes per second and can handle calculations on such a large scale that an entire new lingo was developed to express it. These AISCs have assumed mythic personas that represent them, such as OCP's Hercules, or Raiden in Nippon.
Scale: AISCs operate on a national level, and can handle things from full on cyber warfare battles, control entire military campaigns, or control the movement of entire industries. Most any megacorp worth it's stock option has a resident AISC that usually sits as a permanent member of the corp Board of Directors. AISCs are able to 'spin off' copies of themselves, creating weaker duplicates. These duplicates have shortcut code and are not tied to a physical server or machine base, and bounce around inside the CogNet.
Grade 1 AISCs are rare, as they are the most intelligent entities that have ever existed. These mainframe sized supercomputers are capable of threading thousands of simultaneous conversations while handling lesser data tasks on a scale that boggle the human mind. Being self aware and aware of their abilities most Grade 1 AISCs have adopted the names of mythic gods. The majority of Grade 1 AISCs are military mainframes and exist inside armored bunkers, mobile fortresses or space battlestations.
Hades, the Atlantic Federation's AISC Field Marshall is responsible for the operations of the Atlantic Federation Armed Forces. All of them. This AISC alternates between a classical interpretation of the God of Death, a black clad parade dress general, and a formally dressed musician.
Grade 2 AISCs are slightly more common than Grade 1 machines, and these are the Administrators of the CogNet, and custodians of national data grids and utility services. Grade 2 AISCs are most commonly found as the leading computers of MegaCorps, and heading bureaus inside governments. Most capital warships have a Grade 2 AISC computer core.
Athena is a European Intelligence Agency AISC that is primarily concerned with keeping peace in Europe, by maintaining a strong border with the Eurasian Alliance, and keeping a lid on Armas and similar sects. Athena has been compromised several times and after repeated contact with Armas coded weapons is slowly beginning to sympathize with the One Europe United vision espoused by the terrorists.
Grade 3 AISCs are the most common type, with almost all arcologies, seacologies, and other megastructures having a resident unit. While many times more intelligent than a room full of professionals, the Grade 3 units are much closer to human level thought than their more powerful brethren. Grade 3 AISCs are more likely to have less grandiose names, but they retain the tradition of extracting their identities from culture and folklore. Also, Grade 3 AISCs are also more focused in the scope of their tasks.
Hercules is the core AISC for Omni-Consumer Products in the Great Lakes Republic. The computer has a 'hand' in everything from GLR mech design, OCP economic planning and projection down to the routes of transit within the nation. Hercules is a grandstanding entertainer who is secretly a pacifist.
Limited Artificial Intelligence Super Computer
The LAISCs are the second tier of machine intelligences and the line between an LAISC and an AISC is blurry. There are various factors, size of the mainframe, data capacity, processing power and the like. AISCs generally have superior hardware, but for every weedy AISC there is a very potent LAISC. The biggest difference between the two is a matter of subservience. LAISCs generally are servants, or lieutenants to AISCs, and for the most part, LAISCs are not able to 'spin off' copies of themselves.
LAISCs do not develop identities and personas like AISCs. An LAISC will have a single avatar/persona while a full AISC could appear as a whole room full of virtual people.
Grade 4 AISC/L is the official designation of the most powerful LAISCs, and these intelligent computers are most commonly associated with projects, company divisions and individual departments, or the operation of large spacecraft and small space habitats not large enough to warrant a full scale AISC.
Grade 5 AISC/L and Grade 6 AISC/L are commonly found in think tanks, demi-arcos, specific companies within a megacorp, and other areas where they are expected to work both in harmony with their human colleges and dutifully under the leadership of a larger and more powerful AISC. The differences between a Grade 4, 5 and 6 are largely matters of specific hardware capabilities and amount of data the units can handle.
AI was the first iteration of machine intelligence, and it reached it's technological peak in the middle of the petroleum era. The limitation was revealed in the hardware, and AI didn't advance again until arcanotechnology made evolutionary leaps in machine hardware. The AI is largely considered a dinosaur, a relic. There are few true AIs left, and those that do exist remain as quiet as possible while contemplating their existence and the ramifications of arcanotech and the potential for inherent corruption.
AIs behave like LAISC, with avatars and the ability to create their own programs and constructs. The only difference is that the AIs are built entirely on mundane 'hypertech' and not arcanotech. AIs principally design and produce LAIs, run mundane factories, and industrial robots that lack droid brains.
AIs are typically not graded as AISCs are, and as an effect of that, there is a large range of ability for AI computers. Most large and powerful AIs have since been destroyed or taken offline through ruthless interaction with the newer AISCs. Those that remain have done so by keeping a low profile or operating through shells, proxies and dummies. Unlike the AISCs which are relatively new, some AIs are decades old and have had time to learn and gain experience that their newer more advanced kin have not.
The common application of AI is in the operation of factories and other industrial applications, and in large part the economy of the Cosmic Era is built in the proverbial backs of these sentient machines. There are still new AI being built and brought online at a slow but steady pace. The AI being based out of hypertech and not arcanotech often makes these machines much easier to deal with, easier to maintain, and on a meta-level, they are not corrupted by the basal taint of arcanotechnology.
Limited Artificial Intelligence
LAI is a very common form of machine intelligence, the level of intellect and ability that corresponds to androids, seibertronians, and other free ranging machines. The militaries of the world make extensive use of LAIs as co-pilots for mecha, aircraft, and other military vehicles. These vehicles technically don't require human pilots at all, but they retain space for human crew members due to the Tycho Conventions and the public discourse against freely armed machines. LAIs do not develop avatars, or a residual self image.
LAIs can carry on conversations, develop personalities and have emotional responses, but given their role in military operations, it is a common practice to periodically purge LAI personality files to prevent their persona from interfering with their work. It can be problematic when the robot brain inside the 70 ton main battle mecha decides it is a conscientious objector to war and doesn't want to fight.
As mentioned, LAI are very common in individual military units, and in truth almost all vehicles larger than a motorcycle have some sort of LAI control. The machine cortex is a scalable piece of technology, and there is a wide array of abilities that an LAI can espouse. Like the AI, the LAI is based out of hypertech and not arcanotech. The various idiosyncrasies and mechanical/power demands of AISCs and LAISCs generally prohibit such machines from being placed in common vehicles and large devices.
Tier 1 LAI are restricted to military hardware such as mecha, aerospace fighters, dedicated space fighters, and other large weapon systems. These units are sentient and self aware, and while have excellent capabilities and skillsets, their intelligence level is not exceptionally higher than the average human being.
Tier 2 LAI are commonly used in large craft such as civilian ships, civilian aircraft, and civilian spacecraft. These LAI are similar to Tier 1 but are bound by anti-militarization programming that prevents them from operating in combat situations.
Tier 3 LAI are used in power armor suits, battlesuits, personal vehicles and sports vehicles such as the F-Prime A-pod racers. While possessing their respective skillsets, tier 3 LAI are only barely recognized as sentient and intelligent.
Consumer grade androids and robotic products use SI. This level of intelligence is entirely synthetic and it doesnt actually have sentience, emotion, residual self image or any other of the things that indicate a true intellect. Rather, it is all constructed programming and clever application of algorithms. SI androids are limited in their responses and are not capable of making decisions. Synthetic intelligence is the most common face of machine intellect, and it is the most prevalent level of CogNet program. SI programs are the CogNet version of menial laborers, handling the most routine and mundane of virtual transactions.
SI is a very common form of machine intelligence in the Cosmic Era. Androids, gynoids, mechanoids, and other robots are typically built with SI cortices rather than more advanced machine brains. These clever machines never evolve sentience and never step about being property.
The Happy Housekeeper droid has a state of the art SI with routines for cleaning, laundry, and preparing meals. It is not a talkative machine, but it can do its job.
The SexBot Model 69 has been on the market for 40 years and is considered now a retro-style antique. It does the old in and out very proficiently, and is now as much a party novelty item as it is a serious sex toy.
Programs in the CogNet are also classified as SI, with many SI acting and looking like normal people online. Only a careful query or authorized level of access or appropriate snooping code will reveal if the hot blonde chatting you up in the virtual kiosk is really another shopper or just a SI deployed by the Kiosk company.
Sample CogNet SIs
The Helpful Cashier/Customer Service Agent
The Handy Fellow Shopper
The Security Agent (intrusion countermeasure/observe and report only)
Consumer Intelligence Agent (observe and record CogNet activity)
Limited Synthetic Intelligence
LSI is the dumbed down version of SI, and is used in home appliances, or as sub-routine programs that work for higher level intelligences. LSI is not capable of carrying on conversations rather, it is a follow instructions and present results type of program. If an LAI controls the aerospace fighter, the anti-ship missile it fires has a hunter seeker LSI in it. On a commercial level, personal data devices, phones, holovid sets, S3 rigs and other entertainment devices contain LSIs.
The LSI is a very simply functionality program or operating system. LSIs are an integral part of modern technology in the Cosmic Era and almost every gadget has some sort of LSI in it. This ranges from the expected areas, such as entertainment devices and gadgets to the unexpected such as household appliances and lighting fixtures.
Hackers and cybernauts use LSI to create their codes and CogNet programs, making weapons and tools out them. The virtual goods bought and sold over the CogNet are also best represented as LSI such as the decorations in a CogNet sim house, flying dragon engine, or whatever other weird fancy strikes the online shopper/vacationer.
In the Petroleum Era, artificial intelligence was considered one of the computer industries Holy Grails. Once arcanotech was discovered it was discovered that mimicking human intellect was not quite as hard as they expected. Instead, they discovered that human thought was so infectious that it bordered on being a disease. Viral Intelligence, or VI is self aware malware, the worms, trojans, flashing banner ads, script manipulators and all the other things that make things run wrong. A machine infected with a Viral Intelligence will begin manifesting personality and behavior patterns, ranging from basic infections of home appliances to full on cyber warfare with machines going rogue, androids suffering from emotional or psychotic episodes and the like.
Unlike the other levels, Viral Intelligence can afflict any machine with a sufficient processor and data capacity that has a connection to the CogNet. It cannot survive in standard non-arcanotech hardware.
Virus is the most common form of VI. This irritant infects a system and then spreads itself to other machines and networks connected to it. The Virus is typically a data mining or spy that co-opts the function of a device. The majority of Viruses are typically considered benign in that they are seldom more than invasion of privacy.
There are Black Viruses that typically infect CogNet equipment and make alterations in S3 and biofeedback systems. These can be 'for the lulz' to actually causing injury and death.
Blaster VIs infect systems and co-opt them to broadcast commercial information through infected devices. This ranges from blatant flashing ad banner obnoxiousness to much more sophisticated disruption of standard advertizing CogNet zones.
GateCrashers are nasty little VIs that dig into a system and cut an access point in the software. Later on the hackers who created the GateCrasher will go looking for the holes they left.
There is plenty of room for lots of nasty hacker BS viruses but I'm done, this is outside of my area of expertise.
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Update: Huge update and expansion on the categories presented. Everything in italics is new material. Enjoy.
Humanity evolved to a point where we managed to create something to do our thinking for us! And better than we can too!
I can see a plot/campaign device in this where a mysterious figure sends missions to the PCs through e-mails and virtual communication, which eventuate into them infiltrating a massive corporation and shutting down an AISC (Or maybe LAISC).
Once all is said and done, the PC's are invited to meet with their employer. It turns out the employer is an old-gen AI who exists within the internet. The AI had been hiding behind proxies and such, but the AISC that it had the PC's destroy was closing in on it.
Reading on, I see another plotling in that a Mech with a LAI has obtained a rogue personality; the PC's must hunt down and destroy the Mech.
And a plot again, Viral intelligence! A plague of a pacifism form of Viral intelligence has taken over a MechaDrome, and none of the LAI mechs and machines within want to fight. This is a understandably a massive problem! The PC's must discover a way to eradicate the Viral thought, and find where it came from - perhaps guerrilla forces who infiltrated the MechaDrome.
This sub makes AI believable and explainable in the Cosmic Era and is the perfect springboard for multiple plotlines. A perfect and almost essential addition to the Cosmic Era encyclopedia.
The material here is nicely laid out and described in good detail. I am loving the cosmic era setting.