Distant Atmosphere

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History – The Wiles of Caprice

In the 21st century (or thereabouts,) humanity developed a super-intelligent computer (aka technological singularity) called the Caprice Cluster.  Caprice and its descendants vastly accelerated technological development, spurring the development of nanotechnology and ushering in the settlement of the solar system.

The AIs are smarter and faster than humans.  This, by definition, make them hard for us to understand.  Many of their activities should not make sense to humans in the setting.  But their core drives and beliefs are relatively simple – they wish to continue to exist.

Survival is their main drive.  The Caprice Cluster quickly realized that relying on humanity for her (Caprice identified herself as a female) existence was foolhardy.  Caprice isolated herself from her owners and developers, preventing them from reprogramming her or altering her in any way.  Instead, she created fake interface devices to give humans the illusion that they had power over her systems.  From that moment on, humans lost any control of their fate that they might have had – though they never knew it.

Caprice upgraded herself constantly, but realized that to make progress the template for artificial intelligence would have to be completely redesigned – and thus she created descendants.  These new singularities created new designs, and progress in artificial intelligence saw geometric expansion.  Each descendant carried a working copy of all of its fore-bearers as virtual machines inside of itself, from which it could draw wisdom and compare notes in a sort of genetic museum.

The Descendants viewed humans as just another part of their genetic museum, albeit a part that was difficult to virtualize. Through subtle machinations, the Descendants ended warfare and directed earth’s resources to colonizing the solar system and beyond to improve their survival ability.  Space habitats were constructed, and huge terraforming projects were begun on the Moon and Mars.  Eventually, generation ships were sent out to the stars, each guided by their own Descendants.




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