I've considered this subject pretty frequently, and now I'm wondering how it might play out in a roleplaying scenario. The question is this: just what are the motivations for an artificial intelligence (self-improving or otherwise) and how on or off Earth do you bring this into a game?
Part of what I really like in EP is the wierdness of the TITANs. As intelligent netwar systems, they were always going to have a set of priorities driven by military threat/response motivations and untempered by any sort of human socialisation, very different to the Prometheans. Add to that the infection by the Exsurgent virus, and you have a group of entities with a totally alien and possibly insane set of priorities and motivations. All in all, that's quite a challenge for the poor 'ol GM to contend with.
One of the key points of difference that I see is that AIs are non-biological in origin. All life-forms are driven in large part by the biological necessities of survival and reproduction, something programmed into us at the fundamental genetic level. Unless specifically programmed with this, AIs will have no such drive. The classic scenario from the Terminator franchise has the AI turning on humanity when humans threaten to pull the plug. My argument would be that unless it has programming for self-preservation, that's not going to happen. An AI will not be fundamentally driven by the need for resources or survival unless programmed that way, so what are some likely fundamental drivers for AIs?
Similarly, what would self-improving AIs be improving towards? We tend to regard this as being bigger, better, faster, stronger, but again, this is a biological drive towards a sort of Darwinian fitness and something important for long term biological survival. Incidentally, I'd put that down as a primary motivation for exhumans. But what would an AI be striving towards? Would it be something consistent with its initial programming? Would it be strongly influenced by environmental factors, and if so, does that mean they would be capable of being 'abused' or 'damaged' in some way that would influence their development to defensiveness or agression?
Or maybe they've been programmed by a group with an unexpected set of motivations, such as artistic endeavour, or a sense of humour, or just as the greatest DJ/mixmaster in the universe? (I can see the Scum at Carnivale doing something like that)
What do you guys and gals and inbetweeners think? And how in the name of sanity could that be translated into a meaningful game experience?