AGI firewall operatives

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slickMundane slickMundane's picture
AGI firewall operatives

I am about to start running a new campaign with some friends and planning on staring them as firewall sentinels doing a variety of missions to save transhumanity in one way or another. One player is considering playing an AGI. Im curious if anyone recalls, what Firewalls particular feeling towards AGI sentinels is? Also what are the difficulties of having AGI player characters and how did you challenge them? In the inner system they are basically persona non grata right? As well as amongst the Jovians, obviously. While they are allowed and acknowledged in outer systems polities, how accepted do you play them as being? All feedback appreciated.

uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
Firewall, the sourcebook,

Firewall, the sourcebook, includes numerous AGI sentinels, so I think Firewall's general consensus is that they are people, even if their legal status varies in different polities. But the whole point of Firewall is that you can have Jovian bioconservatives and Martian hypercapitalists working alongside Singularity Seekers, Exhumans, Anarchists, and Scum.

What is interesting is that legalities aside, AGI have "Social Stigma (AGI)" which is interesting as this is a trait (Social Stigma) shared with the Lost Generation (a whole litter of crazy psychopaths, who are [for those in the know] infected by the exsurgent virus), Exhumans (most of these folks are hostile to transhumanity), Singularity Seekers (read: TITAN fanboys), so I figured that the social stigma results from the fact that while most Transhumans know that AGI are not Seed AI, the fact that AGI are as smart as (or smarter than) average Transhumans, when most Transhumans only interact with 'dumb' device AI and muses, it probably makes them nervous. On top of the whole cultural shock of The Fall. I mean, it would be like a survivor of WW2 Europe, meeting Swiss or Austrian folks, you know they are/were not Nazi's, but they have a similar accent. Transhumans know that AGI are not the TITANs, but intelligent computer programs probably make people nervous, hence: Social Stigma.

Or that has been my take on it.

Exhuman, and Humanitarian.

Noble Pigeon Noble Pigeon's picture
slickMundane wrote:I am about

slickMundane wrote:
I am about to start running a new campaign with some friends and planning on staring them as firewall sentinels doing a variety of missions to save transhumanity in one way or another. One player is considering playing an AGI. Im curious if anyone recalls, what Firewalls particular feeling towards AGI sentinels is? Also what are the difficulties of having AGI player characters and how did you challenge them? In the inner system they are basically persona non grata right? As well as amongst the Jovians, obviously. While they are allowed and acknowledged in outer systems polities, how accepted do you play them as being? All feedback appreciated.

I don't think one should play it as though AGIs are persona non grata in the entire inner system. In the Morningstar Constellation they probably wouldn't face a whole lot of prejudice, and even in the Consortium there are bound to be habitats that have a more liberal-minded population and government, since officially the Consortium leaves that kinda stuff to individual habitats. The Lunar-Lagrange Alliance? Ehhhhhh. The problem with the inner system is that you really don't know just what polity or person is going to be nasty against AGIs since there's so many people.

I'm looking at this from a gameplay point of view; if you constantly invoke that negative quality literally anywhere in the inner system with every NPC there the AGI player's gonna feel real bad real fast.

"Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.”
-Abraham Lincoln, State of the Union address

R.O.S.S.-128 R.O.S.S.-128's picture
We all look the same to them...

One thing to definitely keep in mind about the social stigma trait is that if you play it up too hard it can definitely turn into not-fun for the targeted player very quickly. And what "too hard" is will probably vary from player to player, although if they're picking the character knowing what the trait entails then presumably they have at least a little tolerance for it. It is certainly a thing that should vary from place to place and person to person though, both for the sake of realism and so that the player is not constantly bombarded with it.

Though another thing to keep in mind, if you do try to play it up, is that the average person probably cannot tell the difference between a NAI (Narrow AI, like a videogame NPC) and an AGI at a glance. Someone or something would have to tell them. Which means if you do go into a particularly anti-AGI place like Luna, the AGI character can dodge a lot of flak by passing themselves off as a rather clever NAI, as long as they don't get examined too closely. Of course, then they get to experience the entirely different (but much less hostile) discrimination of being considered property.

End of line.

slickMundane slickMundane's picture
Great points

1) If a character darkcasts in to Luna, gets sleeved into an Exalt, and walks down to the local pub to pick up chicks, is everyone automatically going to know he is an AGI or could he pass himself off as transhuman? How obvious is it that they are an AGI?
2) What about the Real World Naivety trait? How have you used that and what kind of problems did you challenge AGI player characters with?
3) Humanity as a whole isnt quite over being hunted to near extinction by computers I would assume. While AGI are recognized as useful and even citizens of a hab, there are still lingering doubts that they might rise up and slit our throats in out sleep... So even in areas where AGI are generally accepted they are still disliked by the masses, right?

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
1. By default, an AGI sleeved

1. By default, an AGI sleeved in an exalt isn't going to look any different than an normal human. Their integration tests might yield worse results than a normal human, but many people can have hard times resleeving. Nothing too unusual. You will need more specific information to single them out.

Also, by darkcast, you also mean they have a good cover identity too? If not, anyone could look up that they are an AGI.

2. That would be a problem. Mind you, humans that have been an infomorph running in an accelerated environment would be out of touch too. Many indentured people have lived that. Mind you, a human would likely know what words such as "red-light district" might mean and wouldn't likely to forget after a few subjective decades. An AGI could possibly have never heard of the word. They could have literally be born yesterday (software activated yesterday to be more precise).

3. It varies. Inner systems like the stigma they can impose on uplifts and the clanking masses, and the stigma they can put on AGIs is just as good. The outer systems often strongly frown upon such tribal behavior and are usually quite welcoming. There are habs where they are solely owned by AGIs, uplifts, and people with strong ideological beliefs. Their habs reflect that. If you have the money, resources, military might, and/or the skills, you can make just about anything you want. In many ways, open space is like the wild west, open to anyone who can make a claim.

slickMundane slickMundane's picture
So, an anyone pinging an AGI

So, an anyone pinging an AGI character would get a quick response showing their basic operating system data unless they were using a false identity (as any good firewall agent would be doing most of the time.)

Rehab Rehab's picture
It's complicated. Eclipse Phase, everyone!

Interestingly, in Transhuman they get into some of the details of AGI origins and processes in EP, and they get a little neurosciencey (and perhaps a bit less computer sciencey) on us. You could give that a skim, see if you want to use that material for your game or make your own way a bit.

So it goes:

In creating the first digitized consciences which approached the sweetspot that AGIs are supposed to hit, "a person, digitized," they had real problems constructing something that would pass as comparable/analogous to a sentient human by merely trying to replicate processes purely involving intelligence and cognition, in the sense of what we'd think of as higher-order mental functions. In our own brains, all that is very difficult to extricate from the bits that let us know where our legs and organs are, and how they're doing, and so on- our endocrine, cardiopulmonary and musculoskeletal systems being mentioned as particularly important (along with brain structures whose functions weren't even known, but whose absence would somehow result in deficiencies or just some missing je-ne-sais-quois)- possibly because (IIRC) all these pieces kinda evolved together. In general, our mind/sense of consciousness isn't a single voice issuing commands, at least in a biological sense. It's more like a federation, whose inputs all add up (not always equally) to form what we feel and experience.
...Harder to program than just "if [see/smell/touch] flower, then [beauty/nature/beautiful nature of life/food for bees/pollen allergies]."

At least many of the first AGI had to be brought to the point where they were literally simulating an entire human neural system, or at least a lot of one, and given appropriately analogous processes (called "agents") to experience the feedback they'd receive in, quote, "the incorporeal reality of infolife." They even have to be freakin reared, as in educated for their "minds" to form proper. (Not sure whether parental love and interaction was also mentioned to be a requirement/huuuuuuuuge help, as is the case for humans.) (Hmmm... note to self...)
And of course those meatbrain structures, while not always of particularly obvious direct application to an infomorph, do a lot to help (or might've even been essential to enabling) the process of sleeving these sentiences into physical bodies, especially biomorphs. I imagine it helps them share simulspaces, too.
Some (or perhaps just one, which had many digital descendants) self-uplifting AGI are also mentioned, as in technically "seed AI" in a self-improvement/learning sense (albeit closer in results to uplift transhumans than TITANs), but they kinda make my layman head hurt thinking about them in this neuro-cog-sci context, and I'm not sure where they fit in. Also, I'm not sure how it all works as software, but I believe there's a section on that in there, too. But that can wait this post is long enough already damnit

Infolife do still have to adjust to being in a physical body and vice versa for even more reasons (the entire digestive system experience, locomotion in general, and of course social interaction), but all this is to say that, all things equal, it may be profoundly difficult to tell an AGI from anybody else by any casual glance, other than by way of kinesics and general social interaction. (However, infolife do have entirely different common vocabulary for describing things like emotions and their digital "bodies," so to speak- they might say shit like "my flight [response] was high" like we might say "I was scared as hell," for example- so Social Naiveté can be played up pretty dang high even with AGIs who might be relatively worldly otherwise. There are also tons more cultural differences between infolife and sleeved transhumans in there that one can play with, too; even more information transparency, a particular sort of drive to make oneself useful that could be interpreted as an even more particular sort of deathly fear of having near-literally nothing to do, and so on.)

No reason you can't have them be less literally human in mental architecture in your game, though.

slickMundane slickMundane's picture
So if an AGI character had a

So if an AGI character had a necessity to travel to Luna, how would they hide their true identity?
A) Assuming they dark cast in and bypassed the main security, what would they need to do after that to be able to go about their business?
B) How would they get caught? What would they need to be extra careful about to make sure they didn't get caught? Will people besides the authorities be able to identify them?
C) If caught, how will the authorities treat them?
D)

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
You really should read

You really should read Panopticon. A lot of the questions you are asking is how a person can deceive an all seeing system. A system where there are cameras everywhere, you every action logged, including mesh searches, and limited AIs programs wander about trying to organize things. Panopticon is all about that.

A. They probably would need a fake identity. If they use their real identity, it is likely that information about you would exist on local servers. Or not. While its been 10 years after the fall, not every habitat has agreed on data sharing standards. Some aren't even friendly enough with each other to even consider that.
B. There is hardware that could do a brain scan of you. It is kinda like an ego bridge. It creates a brain map of you that reflects your unique way of thinking (the finger print of the modern age). It is often used to give your nanotat ID a unique ID (read the book). If they feel the need to double check your identity, they could use that kinda technology. Not only that, it will also tell them that you are an AGI instead of human.
C. Luna is fairly bio-chauvinistic. They treat people in biomorphs as higher class citizens, let the lower class infugees to inhabit low quality synthmorphs, they seem to make an effort to prevent people from raising their position, etc. They probably wouldn't be very happy to find you. You probably wouldn't enjoy full rights as a person. If you are lucky enough to be caught by someone from the Steel Liberators movement (read sunward for more info on them), they might help you instead, but they are more pro synthmorphs than pro AGI.

You might want to consider trying to pass yourself off as someone's muse. Get a friend and have him let you hang out in their mesh inserts. People will ask less questions, and you will be able to spend credits without need to conceal that you are an artificial intelligence.

slickMundane slickMundane's picture
I have read Panopticon but

I have read Panopticon but hadnt found answers to these questions specifically about AGI's. I know that they are easily and quickly identified with a brain scan/ID Check which is customary at many security check points (ego casting facilities and ports). What I havent seen is how easily they would stand out to a layperson as they walk around in a morph. How secure is a fake id? I guess thats kinda up to me unless they role play how they get it and how much cred/rep they want to invest in it.
If the AGI ego was residing in an ecto, would they be noticed as anything more than software? Could they be ghostriding in a morph while their muse with a fake id piloted the morph?

Armoured Armoured's picture
One weird trick

A technique used by characters in Charles Stross' Accelerando was to create or bribe an off-station corporation which the AGI is legally made the property of; usually with the corporation owned by the same AGI under another ID.

LLA polities canonically vary from uncomfortable to delete-on-discovery for AGIs, but destroying a corporation's property might give lawkeepers pause. They have to check up that the AGI is not doing legal business or is carrying proprietary information for that corporation before they continue to avoid lawsuits. Obviously outright crimes would void some of these protections, but its something.

Plus this way you get to play with themes of personal ownership and corporate slavery! Win-win. :D

slickMundane slickMundane's picture
To continue this thread on

To continue this thread on AGI characters, I have a few more questions.
1) Whats up with an AGI forking? Can they do it themselves simply by copying themselves to a server? I know I remember reading that the copy is considered a fork unless the original is deleted at the same time.
1a) Making this copy is the same as resleeving, with all of the stress and tests that come with it, right?
2) What hardware or other facilities would be needed to do this?
3) He is an AGI in a synthmorph
---his alpha fork is in a server (does this mean he would need to purchase an Eidolon morph as well?)
---his alpha fork is ghostriding
---his alpha fork is in a biomorph
What do they need to merge back together? I recognize the biomorph would need an egobridge to read the brainscan but what after that? They would be on a server or some variant of an ecto right?
4) Is merging wireless or are access jacks needed for connecting to the server?
5) What about using the fork as a muse? How long would an alpha fork be happy to be a muse?
More questions to follow surely and many thanks to these forums for helping me get my head around the vast expanse of EP. Cheers

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
AGI forking and resleeving

AGI forking and resleeving works exactly the same as other things.

1: All infomorphs can fork onto a new device, or move to it by cutting and pasting themselves. Alienation and Integration work as normal.

2: Two devices, some kind of connection between them. Depends on the limitations of the devices in question.

3: The service alpha fork wouldn't require an eidolon, it could use a basic infomorph freely. An eidolon would probably be a good idea long-term though.

They'd need a device to do the merge on, once they have all the ego files. I think an ecto would be enough.

4: Access jacks would only be required if the server won't accept wireless signals.

5: Depends on the exact nature of the alpha I'd say. I can imagine most people would tire of it pretty quickly.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
1. Infomorphs can make forks

1. Infomorphs can make forks simply by copying themselves. Not deleting themselves when moving from device to device is one way to achieve that result.
1a. Yes. A fork suffers and additional -20 mod to their alienation tests. Also keep in mind that you might want to remerge the forks at some point (most people do) so additional stress damage can happen.
2. If you are an infomorph, nothing special. Anything that could copy a file and then run it should suffice. If you are an synthmorph, you can do the same. Infomorphs are really a digital emulation of a cyberbrain with an ego installed on it. If you are a biomorph, you will likely need an ego bridge to get a copy of your ego.
3. Eidolon morphs are optional. Barebones infomorphs are free. You will need an ego bridge for the biomorph. No special software is required for remerging.
I'm a bit fuzzy on some details about remerging. Namely how the process works. Is the differences in one ego added to another, or does the process create an average of the 2 forks? We have more details on how to merge 2 very different egos than forks.
4. You require some form of data connection. A fork is data after all. Laser, microwave, sonic link would work too if that is all that you have. You could even using the skinlink nanoware.
5. Why not? A character can have better muse skills than muses. I have designed a character that does exactly that (I haven't seen any rules that say that you cannot). How an alpha fork (beta, or deta) handles the idea of being a muse might vary from person to person. A muse has the advantage that it probably won't suffer fatigue or boredom for doing work 24/7, and is 100% loyal, but I don't recall seeing any official rules on this stuff.
Please note that a muse is an opportunity for free skills. They have many skills, some at 60, and you get to pick 3 knowledge skills at 40 to add to that list. You could use other AIs, but the muse is the biggest bang per buck.

It sounds like you expect this stuff to be more complicated than it is.

uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
The great thing about

The great thing about cyberbrains is that regardless of the ego's origin (born in flesh or coded into existence, 'humans' and uplifts versus AGI), cyberbrains and the servers that house infomorphs allow egos to copy and paste themselves and move from device-to-device as easily as any other file, presuming a certain minimum latency of connection. On the mesh, an infomorph could hop from ghostrider module to ghostrider module, or just copy themselves a dozen times on such devices. Real crazy stuff.

Exhuman, and Humanitarian.

Jim_Callahan Jim_Callahan's picture
well...

The primary limit on an AGI is actually getting into things. On the open mesh they're essentially gods, with something like speed 4 usually or some madness like that, but all it takes to make them 100% useless is an air-gap. Any device or storage unit using a jack instead of a mesh uplink is quite literally immune to everything.

Basically the fundamental question an AGI always needs to answer is "where are you right now, and when was your last backup". You think normal players die a lot because they can come back? You now have a character that's potentially trapped forever in a windowless room the second someone unplugs their network from the mesh, and might poof out of existence the moment a bullet misses its target and hits a splime instead.

The upside of this is that the AGI player is going to make hacking into systems much more interesting and devastating, because another character with a ghostrider physically walking up to that air-gapped server and plugging in is no longer snooping around or dropping a virus, he's dropping an intelligent being into the system in an extremely short period of time and then walking off to do something else while the AGI eats the entire network.

Alternately, if your AGI player decides that they hate this and want a body... they can just buy a body and download into whatever they want, with the only real permanent loss being their extra actions (and maybe the full use of their skillsofts if they go for a bio-brain instead of a cyberbrain for whatever reason). So... let him try it, it's not like he can't switch to a more body-oriented playstyle later.

(As for Firewall, given that they employ asynchs, which are known vectors for the exsurgent virus, I'd say that AGIs are far from the top of the list of things they feel conflicted about using as agents. They're a very whatever-works kind of organization, and in most house settings they're a bit desperate and chronically short on resources on top of that. They'll take whatever help they can get.)

Sounds legit.