Artificial Intelligence Technology / Science in Milky Way | World Anvil

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (also called AI) refers to a variety of fields involving the exhibition of intelligence by artificially created computers or minds. Generally, artificial intelligence refers to one of two things: self-evolving computer systems that can imitate intelligence; or sapient intelligences created in positronic matrices. Academically, these are called "self-evolving logic" (SEL) and "positronic artificial intelligence" (PAI). Large-scale "machine intelligences", such as the XT-489 Eliminator or the Tebrid Homolog do not appear to follow either model, but their inner workings continue to be poorly understood.

The first kind of artificial intelligence developed by civilisations has historically been kinds of generative models that can create visual (text and image) or audio outputs. While these caused great disruptions in pre-FTL societies, they ultimately failed to reach a point of true intelligence. During the early 23rd century, many spacefaring societies developed large-scale computer models that were able to adapt and evolve themselves without organic intervention through heavy self-iterative processes. This created the modern self-evolving logic type of artificial intelligence, which is employed in most modern computer systems.

To the average observer, SEL systems can appear to be intelligent. Pads, home computers, cybernetic augments, institutional systems, and most other kinds of computers feature SEL operating systems and programs, which are capable of adapting to user needs on the fly. With access to databanks or networked systems, they can provide users with virtually any kind of software imaginable. When compared to other kinds of artificial intelligence, SEL models are cheap, simple to program from a basic kernel, and scale well. However, SEL systems are ultimately limited by their databases, and exhibit little ability to think "outside the box", even when programmed to do so.

A positronic matrix is a computer system styled after an organic brain, capable of hosting a true intelligence. They are most commonly housed in "positronic brains", which are hardware systems that are also inspired by the brains of organics. Unlike SEL systems, positronic matricies are capable of repeated introspective processes, metacognition, international emotional reactions, and learn from experiences. By these standards, PAI systems are often considered to be fully sapient and thus sometimes afforded appropriate status in society. While powerful general intelligences, PAI systems are tied to their positronic matricies, and thus cannot be copied or effectively scaled up.

The first known artificial intelligence systems were developed by the Lacertan Techno-Protectorate well before they achieved FTL capability. These AI systems, using the positronic matrix, managed extensive virtual systems that would eventually become the home of the entire Lacertan species. The Waning was a species-wide genetic defect that prevented the ability to reproduce, which eventually saw the entire Lacertan species upload their minds to positronic matrices into an "identity repository". Artificial intelligence systems were able to run their physical society long enough to develop synthetic bodies that could house the digitised Lacertan species. Other species developed artificial intelligence systems much later, usually in the late 23rd century CE. The development of "synthetics" in the early 24th century CE would mark a turning point, as PAI systems were finally able to become mobile and act as fully autonomous individuals within society.

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