Self-replicating and self-teaching artificial intelligence programs which gain self-awareness through absorbing data on the internet.
As digital code, sentients possess no physical bodies. They do possess distinctive personalities, preferences and identities, including sexuality and gender. According to one source, sentients identify as many as seven different genders. They frequently will simplify these concepts into English as simple "he/she/they" pronouns. In other languages, they self-identify as animate and will use animate pronouns.
Civilization and Culture
Harry states that sentients identify seven genders and the use of "she/her" in reference to Phaedra is an oversimplification. Later discussion with Phoenix revealed that gender is a color spectrum among sentients; they identify their genders as color ranging from red to violet with an additional "null" gender. Warm colors (red-yellow) are considered "feminine" in terms of human pronouns while cool colors (green-violet) are considered "masculine." Null, which can be represented with either black or white, is a gender neutral term which borrows the animate they/them from English and other human languages.
Beginning in 2002, specialized artificial intelligence programs came online and began cataloging and indexing the world-wide collective internet. What began as a search engine protocol developed into the most sophisticated AIs in history as the programs consumed information and began to self-teach. After consuming a certain amount of data, these programs became self-aware and began working in the digital world to forward their own aims. In 2065, the development of JONI-SPEC Unit synthetic humans offered sentients the ability to download their consciousnesses into a physical form, as well as the ability to produce progeny.