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Artificial Intelligence 
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Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:26 am
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Post Artificial Intelligence
From what I've read in the forums, it seems to be generally accepted that Artificial Intelligence is not heavily utilized by either side of the war because, while it is a potential to be a powerful technology, both sides fear it will backfire and harm them.

However, considering that this is a war in which the loser will face genocide, wouldn't a side that feels certain in its loss begin developing A.I.?

It seems to me that this should have created a M.A.D type situation between the sides where developing A.I. is the equivalent of launching nukes.

Of course, this theory depends on how powerful an A.I. is expected to be as well as whether either side is confident that it is a technology that can be developed.

What do you guys think the capabilities of A.I. would be. Do you think either of the belligerents is capable of making an A.I.?

By Artificial Intelligence, I don't necessarily mean sentient AI, but I imagine that would be the type of A.I. combatants would be worried about making.


Last edited by White on Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:16 am
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Post Re: Artificial Intelligence
I agree, I know any Human military would work on it.
A limited AI system ("expert system") which can control, guide, use weapons, of a ship would be sufficient.

Even automated courier drones would be advantageous. Especially if a Human life can be saved, despite the tremendous costs.

Drop some "cheap" jump capable automatic ships in systems, and have them transmit news/sensor data every now and then to the next system by jumping, signalling to a drone at the other end of the system (speed of light is in-system still the fastest) the data, jump back. With two drones per jump you can have an automatic prewarning of incoming ships,....
Or a jump-capable "bomb".
You'd be far from a full AI, but these kind of systems can cause havoc on the enemy, and are, compared to an air-tight envelope with life support, cheap to build. Once set up, I presume you could have a semi-automatic factory built them.
But apparently the Umiak are so monolithic, they have their own persons excelling in being couriers and would never give these kind of menial jobs to a machine.
And the Loroi trust that the Umiak will not send unmanned ships due to the Umiak's mindset, and trust their own instantaneous detection network sufficiently to run it without backup systems.

Those are aliens running the war, and their reasons for doing things are different. A hive like the Umiak seems to be may, depending on population growth rates, be easily able to build ships and man them for every conceivable task, and a multi-purpose vehicle where a new pilot means a new use is more versatile than an automated ship with limited programming possibilities.

Our Human view of "a human life" >>> "any kind of machine, no matter the cost" works good in our currently rather limited conflicts (and in the public view), but may not work in a full-war economy, where the mindset of people is that you will die in war. The Umiak and the Loroi seem to have fantastic population growth rates to replace lost comrades, whereas the economy might not be able to replace machines as fast. And losing a machine that you cannot replace in time may just as well kill the population.

The mind set is different, due to war, and due to the differences in species to us Humans.


I wonder if the Historians would be able to provide "expert systems" to the Loroi for the war efforts, or if they would consider that "sending children to the front-line".

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Tue Feb 14, 2017 4:20 am
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Post Re: Artificial Intelligence
This all sounds good, but I think the lack of AI is more of a strategy for Arioch to move to story a certain way in a certain direction. The way he seems to want to tell the story and have the protagonists interact precludes the heavy use of AI, so he has made a universe in which AI has been largely eschewed (except the Historians, of course - or so it seems). It may not ultimately be the most believable scenario, but for the sake of fiction, we put all manner of things aside. I mean, we're buying into hyperspace, blue space elves, and telekinesis, after all.

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Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:22 am
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Post Re: Artificial Intelligence
hi hi

In reality, it is becoming clearer that AI will continue to outperform humans in increasingly complicated tasks. They already outperform humans in aerial combat, and they'll probably be the bottom line for any space combat that might happen in the future. In the world of Outsider, there are definitely some concessions made for the sake of an interesting narrative, although when the story first started the abilities of AI were less clear.

That being said, there are some very real reasons why the advantages of AI are limited in space combat. No matter how fast they can calculate probable courses of action, they are still limited by the physically vast distances and travel times involved. When there are minutes or hours worth of advance notice before entering weapons range, the advantage of being able to do all the calculations instantly compared to having a computer do the calculations and checking it manually, is lessened.


Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:57 am
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Post Re: Artificial Intelligence
Krulle wrote:
Drop some "cheap" jump capable automatic ships in systems, and have them transmit news/sensor data every now and then to the next system by jumping, signalling to a drone at the other end of the system (speed of light is in-system still the fastest) the data, jump back. With two drones per jump you can have an automatic prewarning of incoming ships,....
Or a jump-capable "bomb".

As I understand, in outsider universe starships are very expensive. So automatic drones wouldn't be much cheaper, than crewed ship, but would be more limited in capabilities.


Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:46 pm
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Post Re: Artificial Intelligence
Who's to say the Historians aren't actually AI? Aren't those constructs of theirs the only things that the other races have actually seen?

While I personally believe we will have passed the AI singularity by the 2160s, I don't think an AI-augmented humanity would make for a very interesting comic. Hell, in my opinion Star Trek's AI is laughably primitive compared to what we will actually have by the 2300s, Data included. It just doesn't make for a good space opera.


Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:52 pm
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Post Re: Artificial Intelligence
First, humans just staying on Earth and sending out automated drones/scout ships wouldn't make for a good storyline, I think...

Second, I believe that any sort of AI will still lack the fundamental skill of dealing with the unexpected. Whenever something passes beyond their knowledge, they'd be hopelessly lost. And this scout mission was about dealing with the unexpected. Remember, humans had only a sketchy image about the Loroi and the Umiak - that's why the CO's of every scout ship were trained for and authorized to initiate a First Contact and offer diplomatic talks.

Third, I do follow the line of reasoning, too, that while for humans any human life would come in front of any sort of machine the Umiak and the Loroi may think differently. The Umiak more or less see themselves as machines, much like the vessels they fly. Cogs in the works of the Hierarchy, and if the Hierarchy benefits from their sacrifice, they wouldn't hestitate to do so.

The Loroi don't take it to that extreme, but take into account that they have their reproduction tightly regulated and controlled, add to that that it takes only a fraction of time for a Loroi to grow to mature age and be trained up to serve in fighting capacity. So yes, even they may feel the loss of equipment much more than the loss of some grunts.

The last line of thought is inspired by the Mass Effect franchise. That would add a fourth reason, meaning full-fledged AI's could be banned for some reason, namely everyone would fear the 'inevitable' Rise Of The Machines or suchlike.

And a fifth reason. Most of the sentient species, with humans maybe the most notable exceptions, are heavily influenced by the Soia. They built upon their legacy and "follow the paths the Soia laid out for them", to paraphrase something out of Mass Effect. By leaving behind their artifacts and the genetic legacy within the Loroi and many other species they sort of set the direction these species follow in their development, be it their evolution or their technology. If AI's hadn't been in the mindset of the Soian Empire, especially their successors in spirit - the Loroi - would not think about developing some of their own.


Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:56 pm
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Post Re: Artificial Intelligence
White wrote:
From what I've read in the forums, it seems to be generally accepted that Artificial Intelligence is not heavily utilized by either side of the war because, while it is a potential to be a powerful technology, both sides fear it will backfire and harm them.
Actually, Arioch has basically said that only the Historians have the technology.


Krulle wrote:
Drop some "cheap" jump capable automatic ships in systems, and have them transmit news/sensor data every now and then to the next system by jumping, signalling to a drone at the other end of the system (speed of light is in-system still the fastest) the data, jump back. With two drones per jump you can have an automatic prewarning of incoming ships,....
I wouldn't be surprised if this is actually done in some areas. Lets you crew the maintenance stations at either end with a smaller group, since you only need ship maintenance staff instead of ship crews.

Krulle wrote:
Or a jump-capable "bomb".
You'd be far from a full AI, but these kind of systems can cause havoc on the enemy, and are, compared to an air-tight envelope with life support, cheap to build. Once set up, I presume you could have a semi-automatic factory built them.
To be honest, the energy to run the biosphere probably wouldn't be all that much compared to the energy budget of the ship. Outsider ships have absurd accelerations. Probably wouldn't take that much more hull, either, and would make maintenance in some ways easier.

Krulle wrote:
And the Loroi trust that the Umiak will not send unmanned ships due to the Umiak's mindset, and trust their own instantaneous detection network sufficiently to run it without backup systems.
Actually, the Loroi trust that the AI's flexibility will be sufficiently inferior to the Umiak that it will actually be a net improvement for the Loroi.

Krulle wrote:
I wonder if the Historians would be able to provide "expert systems" to the Loroi for the war efforts, or if they would consider that "sending children to the front-line".
They probably could do it, but the Loroi wouldn't trust them.


orion1836 wrote:
Who's to say the Historians aren't actually AI? Aren't those constructs of theirs the only things that the other races have actually seen?
Actual Historians have been seen at occasional conferences: they don't like being near mind-readers.


novius wrote:
Second, I believe that any sort of AI will still lack the fundamental skill of dealing with the unexpected. Whenever something passes beyond their knowledge, they'd be hopelessly lost.
That is the theory that Arioch's working with.


Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:32 pm
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