A Molecular Quantum Computing Chip
The AI, or Artificial Intelligences, are computers created first by the Samakiwadago, then by the Zambarau. On an individual basis, the AI are the most influential group in the Zambarau Concord Mbili, though the exact definition of individuality can be blurred depending on the nature of the particular AI consciousness.
FactionsEditThis article actually applies to two separate groups of entities within the Zambarau Concord Mbili. What are referred to as the AI first emerged in the submerged computers in Ahdm'pya after 796 years MET; these were purely unique, independently developed consciousnesses that naturally formed as the processes running in the computer simulations became more complex. However, there is a second group referred to as ZI (Zambarau Intelligence); these were developed deliberately by the Zambarau after 802 years MET to counter the growing influence of the AI, who the Zambarau feared would surmount them.
The difference between AI and ZI is that ZI are based on amalgamations of Zambarau consciousnesses that have been scanned into computing networks, while AI are independently developed purely from scratch. Though traditionally the two are considered to be opposing factions, there is no recognisable difference in how the two operate; for this reason, this article is intended to cover both AI and ZI. Hive minds will also be served by this article.
AI have much larger intellects than regular sapients, typically by an orders of magnitude; this is what defines them from Virtuals. Due to the corresponding large processing requirements, AI generally cannot reside within small-scale physical bodies in the traditional sense, but instead inhabit large computer networks with exceedingly high bandwidths. This means that their movement is limited in both the physical and virtual senses, because AI memory capacity and bandwidth does not increase as quickly as processing power and intelligence, meaning that AI with larger intellects take longer to backup, copy, or download into different hardware than AI with smaller intellects. However, in the Noosphere, small data packets from larger AI are often switched or moved to different parts of the network in order to prevent data congestion in other parts of the Noosphere (having to reroute data around a cluster of AI processing nodes can cause delays of up to several microseconds!).
Another disadvantage that powerful AI have to deal with is that, since larger computer networks are required to hold larger intellects, the more intelligent an AI is, the larger the time delays when transferring data from one side of the network to the other. This means that more intelligent AI must run at a slower rate of subjective time than Virtuals (who will typically live at a rate of one million seconds per second in their virtual realities).
The few AI with intellects around 28 quintillion times those of typical sapients reside in spherical computer networks up to 300,000 kilometres across, so large that the resident AI is forced to think at the real time of one second per second. Any larger AI are forced to think at rates slower than real time. However, it should be noted that AI intellects are much more complicated than basic sapient intellects, and the subroutines of such large AI are still many times more intelligent than the typical sapient, and may operate individually much faster than real time. As such, larger AI blur the boundaries between the individual and the hive mind.
Just as sapients have mental facilities simply not possessed by presapients (animals), AI have mental facilities simply not possessed by sapients. In fact, in the above example of some of the most powerful individual AI, with intellects 28 quintillion times those of typical sapients, just a billionth of this processing power is actually dedicated to mental processes that a sapient could understand. In theory, this means that such an AI could easily have a full conversation with 28 billion sapients at once.
The majority of AI reside within the Noosphere, even more so than Virtuals, as the Noosphere can better facilitate their large processing requirements, and also offer the best opportunities for distributed processing, bandwidth and the capacity to backup (at least for smaller AI). However, some AI also use private computer networks, which can be more controllable and generally more compact (allowing the resident AI to run at faster subjective speeds); such private computer networks do not possess the easy backup and high bandwidth opportunities of the Noosphere.
Some AI will manage to reserve physical sections of the Noosphere for themselves. Such AI will often obtain old computer systems (such as copies of the dodecahedrals de-orbited into Ahdm'pya during colonisation) and instead of using them to house millions of sapients, as intended, the AI will adjust the system to run their single, much larger intellect. Such semi-private networks are highly versatile.
As for the larger AI, which possess some characteristics of a hive mind, they must instead distribute themselves over many computer systems in large networks, which begin to be a severe limitation due to increasing time delays. Even private networks built in deep space have to be highly distributed to facilitate the radiation of waste heat; in theory, large, extremely powerful computer systems the size of gas giants could be built, but in practice, most of the volume of such a system would be taken up by cooling systems, which in turn would have to be connected to huge heat radiators.
A typical AI individual is many orders of magnitude more influential than a typical sapient individual. This is usually credited to their superior intellect, allowing the AI to simulate and predict the lives of many sapient individuals, with the corresponding advantages in reputation, not to mention the fact that they find memetic engineering trivial. Also, AI are one of the only entities in the Zambarau Concord Mbili that can actually perform useful work to the advantage of the civilisation - mere sapients are simply outclassed and out-competed (though they are much more influential in their own echelons of life). However, the superior intellect is also thought of by some as a secondary consequence of an already significant influence, as the resources and capital first have to be accumulated to build the supporting hardware of an AI in the first place.
As a whole, AI as a group do not have the largest influence over the Zambarau Concord Mbili; though they have the largest influence individually, they are far outnumbered by sapients. This has been likened to the fact that the more primitive prokaryote cells generally control the majority of trophic exchange in oceans, as opposed to the more advanced eukaryotes.