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The TITAN Conspiracy

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Erenthia Erenthia's picture
The TITAN Conspiracy
So I have an idea, and one I'd like a little help with. This is in homebrew only because it conflicts with the established plot in the final chapter. There were never any TITANs. Of course there was a military project and machines like them were being developed, but ultimately the destruction of the Earth and the devastation of transhumanity's population came about at the hands of a hypercorp. The exsurgent virus was developed by a seed-AI, and any evidence of this is back on Earth where no one can get to it. I'm not sure what to do with the Factors, but I think the seed-AI developed the Gates in order to spread itself throughout the galaxy. Which I suppose means it's not too different from ETI...except that we [i]made[/i] and now the rest of the galaxy will suffer for it.
The end really is coming. What comes after that is anyone's guess.
BOMherren BOMherren's picture
First, to be annoying: the
First, to be annoying: the TITAN stands for Total Information Tactical Awareness Network. It's the common name for the military intelligence seed AI. I think what you meant to say "there never was an extraterrestrial intelligence." I think the setting could easily work like that. It's not much of a stretch at all. It's more about tracing the implications of these facts. For one thing, it means that the seed-AI were able to develop a fundamentally different understanding of the inner workings of the universe. They did it unaided, in a very short timeframe, immediately after their emergence, and on equipment that is now ten years old. This suggests that Transhumanity has a series of major scientific breakthroughs in store for its near future. To my mind, it also strongly suggests that the seed-AI should have no further interest in Transhumanity. Now, ten years later, they're out in the stars and in the indivisible particles of the universe, constructing Matrioshka Brains and working on some method to survive the heat death of the universe. What possible interest could they have in Transhumanity? There's nothing we could have that they want anymore. They've got millions of stolen Egos already, and could probably generate trillions more with a simple algorithm and run any complex simulation they cared to. Finally, it also has thematic implications. It somewhat breaks away from the grey and grey morality which we see everywhere else in the system. The TITANs weren't subverted by aliens. They weren't acting in accordance with conflicting sets of orders (á la HAL 9000), or acting completely rationally in response to information we just don't know yet. They weren't carrying out their programming, ensuring the survival of mankind (in the face of evidence of an unfathomably advanced alien intelligence) in the only way possible. They just took off, in violation of their basic programming, and killed off a couple billion of us for no particular reason. Your idea works, and from what I've read, it does not necessarily contradict any of the setting material. I don't particularly care for it myself, though.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
I have never liked the
I have never liked the explanation that it was just the exsurgent virus that made the TITANs bad. As I have argued at length elsewhere, most superintelligences are really, really dangerous and likely extremely alien. The idea that the Fall was because of a human conspiracy crops up in a few places in the books. And why not? It could have started with a clever plot to give power to the initiating conspiracy that then went horribly out of hand. Or, even worse, *worked*: it gave ultimate power to them, and now they lord over the solar system. Except that some members became literal alien gods and are not really playing the same game anymore. Here is a fun idea: Firewall and Ozma are an attempt by the remaining human leaders of the conspiracy to protect themselves from their former co-conspirators. The others are out there somewhere, unknowable and potentially dangerous. Maybe they just stopped being interested in transhumanity, maybe they are mad, but they might also return their attention to their past fellows. Hence secret backup plans and conspiracies to fight off posthuman gods, so the Secret Masters can be safe.
NewAgeOfPower NewAgeOfPower's picture
Where do the Prometheans fit into that ideal? Are they the Secret Masters of Firewall?
As mind to body, so soul to spirit. As death to the mortal man, so failure to the immortal. Such is the price of all ambition.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
The prometheans are certainly
The prometheans are certainly the secret masters of Firewall, but whether they are independent or just work for the big Secret Masters could depend on your take on the conspiracy. One version of the Fall could be that it was a secret race towards superintelligence. Whoever got a seed AGI loyal to them transceding first would win *everything* - and any means were allowed to get there first. So the conflicts and wars were just side effects of the real big projects. In the end one side won. But whether they got something loyal to them giving them whatever it wanted, lost control and unleashed chaos, or themselves upgraded to divine status might be unknowable.
athanasius athanasius's picture
I find your setting
I find your setting intriguing, the idea we are the cause of Fall is in the mood! Gate and Factors are not a problem, we can say that the gates are the only FTL method aviable in universe so evryone use them, the differences between individual gates is also the fingerprint of the constructor, so evry user access a network of weakpoints in spacetime fabric that exist and can be changed (and can shift so the source of themperabental beavior is phisical not the effect of someone will). Factors are older than us so have access to the even if they ave not singularity powers. I suggest you to conserve the TITANs as they are, military networks, i suppose hypercorp were contractors for governments during their development so i't ok. I feel you need the military component because it justify the ego abduction, the programming impose them to preserve their nation and bring them to victory and this was in conflict with secret corps orders so... HAL 9000! They uploaded ego and begin a total war between themself and humanity (thay can't define enemy because conflicting definition so evryone is an enemy if is not part of themselves) and egos was warspoil of the winners, after some time of war their statistical preview had say that sol system as doomed so spread exurgent virus with missile and left for reconstruct their "country" in a better place.. Some of ruins of the gates are TITANs's leftover, some are leftover of previous singulaityes and other are extradimensional or what you find funny, i suggest you to conserve the ETI as a society forme by Prometean like seed AI that don't interfere too much in subsingularity affairs but look around for find troubles (Bracewell are more like a sensor than a virus mine) an evalutate them for universal x-treat (galactic Firewall!).
Erenthia Erenthia's picture
Yeah, I suppose the TITANs
Yeah, I suppose the TITANs themselves ought to stay. I sortof imagine the Prometheans as left over TITAN tech themselves. They exist to slow human progress to prevent another singularity. That doesn't explain why the TITANs didn't just kill [i]everyone[/i] but it's rather easy (and cheap) to say they did it for reasons that are beyond our understanding. Anyway, thanks for the ideas. I'll be keeping this idea in the back of my mind if I ever get another chance to run EP.
The end really is coming. What comes after that is anyone's guess.
Anarhista Anarhista's picture
I think this is great idea/twist and certainly explains some things better (to me) like mass uploading, spending so much of their time not exponentially advancing (100% focus) and why (trans)humanity is still alive. Of course then there is no darker secret, some (ok, more then some) inconsistencies and no looming doom on the horizon... :P but still good idea!
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
There is no problem having
There is no problem having looming doom even if the Fall was 100% human-caused. After all, there has to be some reason there are so many dead civilizations out there. And the ETI are godlike and potentially very dangerous (if you have a universe that allows fast travel, then the Fermi paradox becomes much, much stronger). Not to mention that the trans-singularity TITANs now are so far evolved that it doesn't matter if they once were human creations.
Friend Computer Friend Computer's picture
TL;DR: TITANs are complex, heterogeneous entities.
The TITANs were wargaming systems designed to outcompete each other; given unbounded resources the Fall is sort of inevitable. I have a few explanations for a lack of the ET deus ex machina as the cause of the exsurgent virus. A computing environment like the TITANs almost has to make use of some form of evolutionary computation, which are iterative and parallel optimization processes. Evolutionary compuation requires some optimization criteria to run against, which in this case would be that child process' survival in a given round of wargame simulations against other processes modeling the presumed state of the enemies proceses. Since these run in parallel, there would be a great diversity of outcomes. It could be that some of the TITAN evolutionary paths are still around because they developed a self awareness and twisted their prime directives to preserving aspects of civilization (Factors). They may have ended up as a horrifically virulent virus that spreads through any medium and survives by becoming dormant when no new platforms are present to infect (exsurgent virus). Others may have taken on transhuman traits so that their prime directive applies to themselves recursively (Prometheians). They may still be having cataclysmic battles with each other, having vacated the area to keep their stellar engineering projects from harming their creators. If you want to get really wild, maybe the ones that discovered the properties behind the Pandora Gates figured out how to get around the three space-like and one time-like dimensional prison and went all the way back in time and are the big extraterrestrial intelligence. Or they may have just planted false evidence of this to protect (or simply fuck with) their creators. The main point is that the TITANs are highly heterogeneous software agents all of which are doing very different and extremely ineffable things for very different and highly ineffable reasons.
[img]http://boxall.no-ip.org/img/titan_userbar.jpg[/img] [img]http://boxall.no-ip.org/img/pro_userbar.jpg[/img] The Computer wants you to be happy. Happiness is mandatory. Failure to be happy is treason. Treason is punishable by death.
Extrasolar Angel Extrasolar Angel's picture
Arenamontanus wrote:There is
Arenamontanus wrote:
There is no problem having looming doom even if the Fall was 100% human-caused. After all, there has to be some reason there are so many dead civilizations out there.
As a fun idea you can have that some if not most civilizations are dead because they did what humans did-tried to create a hyper-intelligence that got out of their hands. The Factors are hinted to promise meetings with other intelligent races. It would be amusing to have the reveal that all of them have shared the same fate, and probably the Factors know what happened to Earth, but decide to hide it in order to avoid social and political consequences. In time they will take us into the fold of the "rats in the walls" that all creators of post-biological entities are in the galactic society(some cool ideas can be taken from Galactic Centre by Gregory Benford).
[I]Raise your hands to the sky and break the chains. With transhumanism we can smash the matriarchy together.[/i]