AIs and Infolife

Self-aware helper programs were originally designed and realized to augment transhuman cognitive abilities. These specialized-focus AIs were then developed into the more complete, independent digital consciousnesses known as AGIs. The further evolution of these digital life forms into seed AIs unfortunately led to the emergence of the TITANs and then the Fall. This created a rift in transhuman society as fear and prejudice turned popular opinion against unrestricted AGIs, an attitude of mistrust that still lingers to this day.

AIs

The term AI is used to refer to narrow, limited-focus AIs. These digital minds are expert programs with processing capabilities equal to or even exceeding that of a transhuman mind. Though they have a personality matrix with individual identities and character, and though they are (usually) conscious and self-aware, their overall complexity and capabilities are limited. The programmed skills and abilities of AIs are typically very specific in scope and aligned towards a particular function, such as piloting a vehicle, facilitating mesh searches, or coordinating the functions of some habitat sub-system. Some AIs, in fact, can only barely be considered sapient, and their emotional programming is usually narrow or non-existent.
AIs have a number of built-in safety features and programmed limitations. They must serve and obey the instructions of authorized users within their normal functioning parameters and (in the inner system at least) must also obey the law. They lack self-interest and self-initiative, though they have limited empathy and may be programmed to anticipate the needs and desires of users and preemptively take action on their behalf. Perhaps most importantly, however, is that their psychological programming is specifically based on universal human modes of thought and an understanding and support of transhuman goals and interests. This is part of an initiative to engineer so-called “friendly AIs,” who are programmed with sympathy towards transhumanity and all life and seek out their best interests.
In most societies, basic AIs are considered “things” or property rather than people and are accorded no special rights.

Muses

Muses are a specific type of AI designed to function as a personal aide and companion. Most people in Eclipse Phase have grown up with a muse at their virtual side. Muses tend to have a bit more personality and psychological programming than standard AIs and over time they build up an extensive database of their user’s preferences, likes and dislikes, and personality quirks so that they may more effectively be of service and anticipate needs. Muses generally have names and reside within the character’s mesh inserts or ecto, where they can manage the character’s personal area network, communications, data queries, and so on.

Sidebar: What Your Muse Can Do For You

  • Make Research Tests to find information for you.
  • Scan newsfeeds and mesh updates for keyword alerts.
  • Monitor your mesh inserts/ecto/PAN and slaved devices for intrusion.
  • Launch countermeasures against intruders.
  • Teleoperate and command robots.
  • Monitor your Rep score and alert you to drastic changes.
  • Automatically provide feedback for other people’s Rep scores.
  • Run audio input through an online, real-time language translation system.
  • Put you in privacy mode and/or proactively stealth your wireless signal.
  • Falsify/fluctuate your mesh ID.
  • Track people for you.
  • Anticipate your needs and act accordingly, preempting your requests.

AGIs

AGIs are complete and fully operational digital consciousnesses, self-aware and capable of intelligent action at the same level as any transhuman. Most have full autonomy and the capacity for self-improvement by a processing similar to learning—a slow optimization and expansion of their code that features programmed limitations to prevent it from achieving the self-upgrading capabilities of seed AIs. They have more fully-rounded personalities and emotional/empathic abilities than standard AIs, due in part to a development process where they are literally raised within a VR simulation analogous to the rearing of transhuman children, and so are more fully socialized.
As a result, they have a fairly human outlook, though some deviation is to be expected, and sometimes is apparent in great degrees. Despite this attempt to humanize AGIs, they do not have the same evolutionary and biological origins that transhumans have, and so their social responses, behavior, and goals are sometimes off-mark or decidedly different.
AGIs bear the social stigma of their non-biological origin and are often met with bias and mistrust. Some habitats have even outlawed AGIs or subject them to strict restrictions, forcing such infolife to hide their true natures or illegally darkcast to enter habitats or stations. AGI mind programming emulates transhuman brain patterns sufficiently well that they can be sleeved into biomorphs if they choose.

Sidebar: Nonstandard AIs and AGIs

Not all AIs and AGIs were programmed and designed to adhere to human modes of thought and interests. Such creations are illegal in some jurisdictions, as they are considered a potential threat. Several hypercorps and other groups have initiated research into this field, however, with varying results. In some cases these digital minds are so different from human mindsets that communication is impossible. In others, enough crossover exists to allow limited communication, but such entities are invariably quite strange. Rumors persist that some AIs began their life as transhuman backups or forks, who were then heavily edited and pruned down to AI-level intelligences.

Seed AI

Due to the capability for unlimited self-upgrading, seed AIs have the capacity to grow into god-like digital entities far beyond the level of transhumans or AGIs. They require massive processing power and are always increasing in complexity due to a continual metamorphosis of their code. Seed AIs are too complex to be downloaded into a physical morph, even a synthetic one. Even their forks require impressive processing environments, so doing so is rare. In fact, most seed AIs require the capacities of hard-wired networks to survive.
The only seed AIs known to the public are the infamous TITANs who are widely regarded as being responsible for the Fall. In truth, the TITANs were not the  rst seed AIs and will probably not be the last. There are no publicly known TITANs (or other seed AIs) currently residing in the solar system, despite circulating rumors of damaged TITANs who were left behind on Earth, speculated TITAN activity under the clouds of Venus, or whispers of new seed AIs hidden away in secret networks on the edges of the system.

Transhuman Infomorphs

For thousands of infugees, embodying a digital form is their only choice. Some of these are locked away in mesh-separated virtual holding areas or even inactive storage, locked up by habitats who didn’t have enough resources to handle them. Others are imprisoned inside simulspaces, killing time in whatever way they choose until an opportunity to resleeve comes their way. Quite a few are free to roam the mesh, interacting with physically-sleeved transhumans, keeping up with current events, and sometimes even forming activist political blocs to campaign for infomorph rights or interests. Still others find or are forced into virtual careers, slaving away in the digital sweatshops of hypercorps or criminal syndicates. A few find companions who are willing to bring them along in their ghostrider module and become an integral part of their lives, much like a muse.
Some transhumans willingly choose the infomorph lifestyle, either for hedonism (custom simulspace and VR games until the end of time), escapism (loss of a loved ones leads them to write off physical concerns for awhile), freedom (go anywhere the mesh takes you—some have even beamed copies of themselves to far distant solar systems, hoping someone or something will receive their signal when they arrive), experimentation (forking and merging, running simulations, and weirder things), or because it is ensured immortality.

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