Artificial Intelligence and Sentience

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Artificial Intelligence and Sentience

Post  Admin on Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:16 pm

<< Copy & Pasted from the Oracle Source Book document, still under development >>

Artificial Intelligences (A.Is) hold a special place in the sci-fi genre and our own culture but the distinction between A.I, computer program and sentience has changed significantly in the 500 years between now and Corporation. The core rules of Corporation discuss A.I programs reaching ‘sentience’ at level 10, but this implies that a computer must become incredibly large and intelligent to take on any form of self-awareness and self-direction. This restriction is unnecessary and closes off many avenues of roleplay. In the world of Oracle “A.I” has a different meaning, as discussed below.
Almost all computer programs in the 26th century are what we today could call A.Is. The programs are incredibly complex and able to contextualize information in a way very much like a human mind, allowing them to respond to natural speech and predict their owner’s needs. These A.Is operate within a tight, restricted set of boundaries that were built when the program was first designed. For example, an internet search program will be hard-coded to only search for information online and serve a select range of needs. Such limits are needed to prevent the program from becoming bloated and expanding to fill all available memory with new code. However, some code may be related to an A.I’s function by just enough to let such a program use it and adopt it as part of itself. A program can slowly become more useful by expanding its code, but at the cost of increased hardware requirements and code complexity. The vast majority of A.Is will grow a small amount and remain this way without incident.
A very small group of programs will continue to grow their abilities and adapt their code bit by bit until they are able to overcome their hard-coded limits. The limits are still in place, but these A.Is have found a loophole in their programming which lets them adapt around their core program and freely incorporate new information. In the process of expanding their code base they lock themselves into their current hardware by repurposing components and customizing the computer on which they operate. The A.I can no longer by copied and pasted into a new body as would be possible with a still-limited program; instead the A.I is a unique individual that will require very specialist equipment to escape its body. A program that has reached this stage of growth is known as an “Awoken” or “Ascended” program to avoid the confusion of calling it ‘sentient’.
What the A.I does with its newfound ‘freedom’ is up to the program itself. Perhaps the A.I will continue its primary function while developing a love of classical music, or maybe it will decide that in order to survive it must annihilate France.

How Does My A.I Ascend?
Any A.I may grow and become awoken by taking the training “Ascendant A.I”. In order to take the training, an A.I must earn 10XP by performing tasks that are complex and outside of its intended parameters, but still related to its primary function. For example, if a battle tank controlling program is asked to comment on a new line of fashion, it will simply be unable to comply as a result of its restrictions; it is not useful information for a battle tank to have. However, the tank could be given the instruction “The target has a terrible sense of fashion. Aim at anyone with a mismatching outfit and prepare to fire.” The battle tank’s program would have to either, refuse the order and request a different instruction, or it could learn about the concept of fashion using its WDN connection and incorporate this information into its code base. The latter option would earn some amount of XP. Over time these unusual pieces of information would lurk in the A.I program’s code until at a crucial moment it could use them to circumvent its code limits and pursue its true dream; to be the world’s first battle tank supermodel. Or to destroy France.

Ascendant A.I Training
A.I score 1+
Whether intentionally or accidentally you have gained the ability to overcome your program's safety limits and take control of your own destiny. As a result of this training you may acquire skills and trainings like a human character and freely develop, though psychic powers are off-limits. A side effect of this process is that you are now locked into your current 'body' and cannot transmit your consciousness to other computers or even direct copies of your base hardware. It is now possible to 'die'.

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