Converting a transhuman ego into a seed AI

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valen valen's picture
Converting a transhuman ego into a seed AI

I was thinking about a villain for a EP one shot intro adventure and I got to thinking about Seed AIs and their requirements in order to reach singularity level. It takes a lot of power, both electrical and processing. That implies some kind of mainframe style supercomputer. So what if your a transhuman ego and you can amass that kind of setup (doesn't seem to difficult) and then you resleeve yourself into it presumably as some kind of super-infomorph...

I'm thinking that my villain (named Dan after an in-joke about one of my PCs) starts out as a somewhat eccentric cognitive science researcher. Every time he needs to be in two places at once he starts up a fork. He decides that these forks are useful and starts keeping the around longer and starts syncing them all up every couple of day so they all more-or-less stay the same as Dan (i.e. merge the fork into you and you into the fork at the same time). There is really a practical limit for how many forks one can sync up in a day. Its probably around twenty assuming you want to sync up every couple of days. The Dans figure they can get around this limit by making an infomorph the 'master' Dan and syncing up many dans at once. Dan also probably uses a lot of Pods and synthamorphs to help speed up the process. As this starts to require more processing power, the Dans start upgrading the server that the master infomorph is running under...

Pretty soon this all gets out of hand and the Dans must be stopped. Que intrepid Firewall agents!

What do you guys think?

Rasumichin Rasumichin's picture
Re: Converting a transhuman ego into a seed AI

I've also thought about mass-forking NPCs.
Just take "one man army" literally and work from that starting point...

As far as your concept is concerned, i don't know wether your scientist could reach levels of recursive self-improvement (which would be the prerequisite for the seed part in seed AI), but -something- could certainly happen with (or to?) him.
Be sure that he's got high ranks in psychosurgery and WIL to handle all that reintegrating.
Sleeve one of the forks into a morph with multitasking abilities and let him do the work, while the others amass experience.

The key question here is at what point self-recursive improvement of mental abilities occurs.
For an infomorph, the maximum would be aptitudes of 40.
True seed AIs seem to be well above this already posthuman level, but ultimately, the question is wether this guy just hits a wall when all his aptitudes reach the cap or wether he figures out the use of some technology able to break it.

Being close to this breakthrough would already be sufficient for both a formidable opponent and possible interference by firewall, but in the end, it's up to you wether you want to go past the posthumanly possible.

valen valen's picture
Re: Converting a transhuman ego into a seed AI

I've done some more thinking about this idea over the weekend and I've developed it into a loose plot. This is supposed to be a 'one-shot' intro to EP. I want this entire scenario to be resolved in 3-5 hours of play and I will provide pregen PCs. Sort of a teaser adventure. If the locals that I game with like it, I can start up a proper campaign, it they would rather play D&D (likely), then we can move on to the next GM.

Cast of Characters
Dan Prime – The original 'Dan', now an informorph living inside a supercomputer that he uses to synchronize all his forked copies.
Dan Alpha – A fork of Dan Prime that could not abide the mass murder of the station's inhabitants
Dan Beta – A fork of Dan Prime dispatched to hunt down Dan Alpha
Sidhe – The PCs Firewall proxy

Sequence of events
1)Dan Prime moves from taking advantage of forks to abusing forks
2)Dan Prime begins constructing worker pod morphs for his forks
3)Dan Prime figures out a synchronization method for his forks
4)People begin leaving Danada Station because of creepy multiple Dans
5)Dan Prime reverts to an infomorph to speed up synchronization. Dan Prime needs even more forks and worker pods to make up for the rapidly declining population of Danada Station
6)Dan Prime begins recursively upgrading the server running his infomorph
7)Dan Prime realizes a problem with the people leaving Danada Station. His forks round up and execute all the remaining station inhabitants. Their cortical stacks are saved for synchronization and integration into Dan Prime. Danada Station goes 'dark.'
8)Dan Alpha freaks out over the murder of the station inhabitants and escapes to Mars via egocast and resleeves into a splicer morph
9)Dan Prime dispatches Dan Beta to capture Dan Alpha.
10)Sidhe learns that something screwy is happening on Danada Station and that a contact with more information will be at The house of the Golden Rose.

Adventure Begins
1.Dan Alpha decides he needs to unwind a little and hits a pleasure pod house known as The House of the Golden Rose
2.Dan Beta hacks the pleasure pods and makes them attack Dan Alpha, PCs intervene/investigate and discover a trail leading back to Dan Beta
2.1.Forensic examination of the hacked pod's cyberbrains provides position clues
2.2.Surveillance data can be collected once position has been established to locate Dan Beta. Dan Beta is using a souped worker pod morph. He is carrying Dan Alpha's cortical stack.
3.PCs confront Dan Beta
3.1.During the ensuing running gun fight, Dan Beta's morph is destroyed. Both Cortical stacks are recovered
4.PCs interrogate the Dan's in simulspace
4.1.They learn about Dan Prime's informorph and the synchronization server
4.2.They learn about the mass murder of the habitat's population
4.3.The location of Danada Station
5.The PCs setup for an attack on Danada Station
5.1.The PCs are backed up and resleeve into Fury morphs.
5.2.They get a mission briefing and combat equipment
5.3.Sidhe privately provides the team leader with an Antimatter bomb and tells him, “If the time comes, you know what you have to do”
6.Danada Station Assault
6.1.PCs are inserted via [METHOD]
6.2.Another running gun fight against Dan forks in worker pods and security robots as PCs attempt to reach Dan Prime's server

Some notes:
I'll probably change the name of the habitat from Danada later. Its part of the in-joke that Dan comes from, but its not really an appropriate name. In my mind Danada is a cole bubble that nominally support around 200 people and sits somewhere close enough to mars to a military assault practical, but far enough away for shenanigans to go unnoticed. Maybe in the asteroid belt or at one of the martian trojans... There are about 50-60 'Dans' living in the habitat now and the mass murder was about a hundred people.
Dan Beta is intentionally a sloppy covert operative. This is partially to speed up the story, but it is also because Dan has no covert ops experience and is out of his element. He is a neuroscientist and cognitive researcher. He is smart, but fundamentally an amateur.
In game time I imagine that the whole sequence of events takes 48-72 hours, not counting travel time.
Finally I'm a bit stumped on the method of inserting agents into a hostile habit. I was originally thinking that the PC's ship would use some kind of EMP and then slip them in while the systems were down, but pretty much everything is fiber optic, so that's not going to work. Perhaps stealth pods and a decoy ship. The idea being that the Habitats defenses blow the decoy ship and the PCs, in stealth pods, float in with the decoy's wreckage. I'm open to ideas...

Thantrax Thantrax's picture
Re: Converting a transhuman ego into a seed AI

I don't know if you're still looking for an insertion method or if you've run this already, but try this on for size.

Dan Alpha agrees to help the PCs by integrating Dan Beta back into himself (after all, this guy likes integration) and reports that he's successful. He's returning to base. The PCs load up onto a ship and head home. Dan doesn't suspect anything because if he thought it was a good idea to come back by shuttle, there must have been a reason for it. Dan is a pretty smart guy. The ruse is revealed when the PCs board the habitat with guns blazing (or whatever approach they pick to use).

valen valen's picture
Re: Converting a transhuman ego into a seed AI

Shuttle isn't a bad route either actually... I wonder what my PCs will suggest.

I've started thinking about the pregenerated characters and typed up the following notes last night. They aren't really designed with the adventure in mind, they are just ideas that I had. I need to make sure I cover the bases though. I figure an EP party needs a fighter, a techie and a hacker at a minimum. The info-terrorist is the groups hacker, the octopus is the techie and the combat monster is the fighter. Everybody else just rounds out the group.

Barsoomian info-Terrorist
Background: Martian
Faction: Barsoomian
Name; Marissa
You were born and raised on Mars and some day you will see Mars live free. You're sympathetic to both Anarchist or Titanian social democracy models, but like most Barsoomains, you haven't given a ton of though to what happens when the hated hypercorps are evicted from Martian space. You are a bit more fanatic then most of your fellows in the Martian independence movement. This has convinced you that information space and the mesh is where freedom will be won. Once an overwhelming number of egos have signed up for the cause, winning independence will be easy. Part blogger, part journalist, part pundit and part radical.

Gatecrasher A/Gatecrasher B
Background: Drifter
Faction: Argonaut
Alistair Prime & Alistair Beta
Alistair Faren was a titanian explorer who was presumed lost on a gatecrashing expedition. After being gone for 6 months, Alistair's backup insurance policy was activated and his pre-expedition backup was restored. 6 months later the original Alistair returned. Now there are two Alistairs. They only kind of get along. Each of the Alistairs would be played by a different player, so this one counts double. It should be fun.

Hypercorp Security Specialist
Background: Hyperelite
Faction: Extropian
Not a lot to add at this point, I thinking of a guy that is somewhat capable in combat, but more of a leader and system designer. The kind of guy you would hire to run security in your habitat as apposed to the combat monster below.

Combat Monster
Background: Re-Instantiated
Faction: Socialite
I think of somebody similar to the the scum enforcer character from the book, except this one had made it to the big time and become something of a celebrity. I figure she keeps a lifelog of all her battles available on the mesh and records simsense (or whatever they call it in EP) and resells them for rep. She probably even has an agent to help with the bookings

Squid Technician/Engineer in hot pants
Background: Uplift
Faction: Titanian
Ever since my wife found the squid sex scene when I was reading Manifold Time by Steven Baxter, there has been a running joke about squid porn. Since EP has Uplifted Japanese Octopus with hot pants, I have to use it. I may adapt this template to be the groups engineer/techie if necessary.

Mr Roboto (Earth Refugee)
Background: Scumborn
Faction: Mercurial
Somebody should be an actual robot. I don't have a lot of ideas here yet, but I thinking a case with upgrades. I like the idea of the clanking masses.

valen valen's picture
Re: Converting a transhuman ego into a seed AI

Well, now that I've read the sample characters, it appears that I'm not as unique as I thought I was :)

I still think it will be a fun exercise to write them all up myself.

The Doctor The Doctor's picture
Re: Converting a transhuman ego into a seed AI

7thSeaLord 7thSeaLord's picture
Re: Converting a transhuman ego into a seed AI

Good ideas.

To REALLY boost the Bizarre Quotient ... Have Dan Beta not be just one person, but an entire hit squad of Dans.

Not sure if this would be possible within the rules (probably not), but they possibly use some trickery to all seem to be one and the same on the Mesh and, as much as possible, try not to appear together anyhow. So the PCs are faced with a situation where they have to keep dealing with the exact same bad guy. Over and over and over again.

It also raises the delightful possibility of the entire PC group trying to infiltrate the base - in 'Dan' morphs.

Hot Dan-On-Dan action? Sorry. :D

"Do it? ... Dan, I'm not a Republic serial villain. Do you seriously think I'd explain my master-stroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome?
I did it thirty-five minutes ago."

Ozymandias, The Watchmen