Fractal Softworks Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Starsector 0.9.1a is out! (05/10/19); Blog post: Painting the Stars (02/07/20); Updated the Forum Rules and Guidelines (02/29/20)

Pages: 1 ... 18 19 [20] 21 22 ... 29

Author Topic: The Lore Corner  (Read 175112 times)

Aeson

  • Captain
  • ****
  • Posts: 395
    • View Profile
Re: The Lore Corner
« Reply #285 on: December 07, 2015, 11:41:03 AM »

Then there are alpha+ level AIs, the ban of which is so important to the Hegemony that they went to war with TT over it twice. That implies that they consider alpha+ AIs extremely dangerous. Which in turn implies that they have the potential to threaten the Hegemony or even humanity at large. There are two factors an AI has to fulfill to qualify for that. It has to be:

- Unconstrained, free-thinking, general purpose
- More intelligent than humans
I disagree. You do not need something to be unconstrained, free-thinking, or general purpose, or for it to be more intelligent than human average for something to qualify as extremely dangerous - many large terrestrial carnivores, for example, are potentially extremely dangerous to even a prepared human if the human is in that animal's preferred environment or unintentionally comes close to the animal; there are more reasons than simple competition or need for food that have lead humanity to do its best to drive out, hunt out, or exterminate such animals over much of humanity's range and history. Moreover, it is not necessary for something to be a threat to the Hegemony or humanity at large for it to have been worth a war to the Hegemony; something as simple as an irreconcilable difference in ideology could be sufficient to cause a war, and high-end AI development would certainly appear as though it'd be unpopular with the Hegemony's large Luddite population (heck, the game even tells us that the treaty restrictions imposed by the Hegemony at the end of the first war bought the Hegemony's government some approval from its Luddites).

Beyond that, there are reasons beyond simple threat to ban the development and use of machinery with human- or near-human-level sentience and sapience. If your desktop computer is about as sentient and sapient as you are, is it morally or ethically acceptable for you to buy or sell it? Upgrade it without it having a say in the matter? Sell off parts of it that you don't really need anymore or at the moment? Turn it on or off at your convenience? Require it to perform whatever task you ask of it, regardless of its preferences or the cost to its well-being? It's a machine, initially built for the express purpose of being a tool, but it's also something which, in the absence of knowledge of the form of the entity, could be mistaken for a human. Banning alpha+ level AI development and use could be as simple as a natural extension of the modern world's abhorrence of human slavery; mass production of a sufficiently sentient and sapient machine is not in any significant way different from industrial-scale commercial human cloning. The 'product' of either process is something which most likely cannot legally, ethically, or morally be sold as a commodity*; most people probably agree that whether you came out of a test tube, a cloning vat, or a woman does not matter when it comes to your legal rights. An entity which is sufficiently sentient and sapient to be (nearly) indistinguishable from a human in the absence of information on the form of the entity could reasonably be expected to be granted the same set of rights. People have fought wars over much more minor issues than whether or not an entire category of entities are deserving of the same (or at least similar) treatment as humans (of course, people have also ignored such major issues for a variety of reasons, ranging from money to common enemies to an earnest desire on the part of all, or at least most, parties to at least avoid open war even if they can't live in perfect harmony).

Personally, my feeling is that the reason that alpha+ level AIs are banned is because they can pass the Turing test (or some other test or tests of sentience or sapience), not because they're all supergeniuses, and the reason why beta-level and lower AIs are not banned is because they cannot pass the test. It's the AIs that are capable of passing the test that can pull off the revolutions that science horror fiction likes to feature, it's the AIs that are capable of passing the test for whom treatment as an object, commercial product, or lower lifeform is at its most questionable from a moral, ethical, and legal standpoint*, and it's the (mass producible) AIs capable of passing the test which are capable of causing the most economic disruption as they're the kinds most capable of putting the largest fraction of the workforce out of work (though you'd arguably be better off with a set of specialized lesser AIs than something which is more or less an artificial human).

Fear of supposedly superhuman AIs can work as a reason for the AI Wars of Starsector, but I don't feel that it's necessary. Fear of economic disruption, moral dilemas, and a need to play for public support all work just as well, especially if the Hegemony had been looking to bring the Tri-Tachyon Corporation "into line" for other reasons and this was just a convenient excuse. As far as I'm aware, we don't know what the causes of the First AI War actually are; the name and the knowledge we have of the terms imposed by the treaty imply that it had something to do with the TTC's AI development and usage, but it's also possible that that's just what the official Hegemony (and possibly also TTC and independent) histories want people to focus on; certainly all indications are that a war justified on the grounds of 'immoral technology' is going to be relatively popular with the Church of Ludd, the Luddic Path, and the largely-Luddite population on many Hegemony worlds, whereas a difference of opinion over who has tech mining rights or a territorial claim on Exar Secundus might not be so popular or as in line with the historian's worldview.

*Under most modern codes of law, ethics, and morals.

Quote
Could Alpha+ mean "Alpha or above"?
Yes.
Logged

Gothars

  • Global Moderator
  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 4158
  • Eschewing obfuscatory verbosity.
    • View Profile
Re: The Lore Corner
« Reply #286 on: December 07, 2015, 01:25:35 PM »

Well, sure, workforce displacement and ethical factors are valid concerns when it comes to AI development.
But the former is a problem that starts way earlier, at the latest with robotics in general, and the Hegs have no problem with that (Jangala's plantations are tended by robotic harvesters).
And the latter just doesn't fit the hegemony, it is not a faction driven by ethical concerns. Don't forget that they apparently wipe away entire worlds if they stand in their way (Mayasura), or that the accept massive social injustice on their worlds (Eventide). Even their faction description states that they do away with human rights if it serves their goal.

Anyway, both reasons pale in comparison with the (perceived) thread of racial extinction. And to justify two major wars, with untold cost in human lives and for the economy, you need a damn good reason.


Logged

Plantissue

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 1204
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: The Lore Corner
« Reply #287 on: December 07, 2015, 02:08:46 PM »

The reason could simply be that as domain has deemed it so, so has the Hegemony bureaucracy has deemed it too so. Would be humorous, but uninteresting.
Logged

Aeson

  • Captain
  • ****
  • Posts: 395
    • View Profile
Re: The Lore Corner
« Reply #288 on: December 07, 2015, 04:40:29 PM »

And to justify two major wars, with untold cost in human lives and for the economy, you need a damn good reason.
History disagrees.
Logged

harrumph

  • Commander
  • ***
  • Posts: 140
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: The Lore Corner
« Reply #289 on: December 08, 2015, 07:58:43 AM »

Relevant bit from the recent New Yorker article about Nick Bostrom:

Quote
Will an A.I., if realized, use its vast capability in a way that is beyond human control? One way to think about the concern is to begin with the familiar. Bos­trom writes, “Artificial intelligence already outperforms human intelligence in many domains.” The examples range from chess to Scrabble. One program from 1981, called Eurisko, was designed to teach itself a naval role-playing game. After playing ten thousand matches, it arrived at a morally grotesque strategy: to field thousands of small, immobile ships, the vast majority of which were intended as cannon fodder. In a national tournament, Eurisko demolished its human opponents, who insisted that the game’s rules be changed. The following year, Eurisko won again—by forcing its damaged ships to sink themselves.

The program was by no means superintelligent. But Bostrom’s book essentially asks: What if it were? Assume that it has a broad ability to consider problems and that it has access to the Internet. It could read and acquire general knowledge and communicate with people seamlessly online. It could conduct experiments, either virtually or by tinkering with networked infrastructure. Given even the most benign objective—to win a game—such a system, Bostrom argues, might develop “instrumental goals”: gather resources, or invent technology, or take steps to insure that it cannot be turned off, in the process paying as much heed to human life as humans do to ants.
Logged

Tartiflette

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 2850
  • Kickstarter is NOT a magic spring of free money!
    • View Profile
Re: The Lore Corner
« Reply #290 on: December 08, 2015, 08:18:30 AM »

And to justify two major wars, with untold cost in human lives and for the economy, it just has to earn somebody a big fat boatload of money/power.
Corrected that for you ^^
Logged
 

Clockwork Owl

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 752
    • View Profile
    • Starsector South Korean Community
    • Email
Re: The Lore Corner
« Reply #291 on: December 08, 2015, 03:38:31 PM »

Back to the track, are there any other texts mentioning AIs? None about alpha or above AFAIK.

Gamma does sound like a 'expert system'. Simulator, drone control, and maybe automated ship subsystem.

Would be a lot more easy if David kindly replied the original question.
Logged

David

  • Global Moderator
  • Captain
  • *****
  • Posts: 378
    • View Profile
Re: The Lore Corner
« Reply #292 on: December 08, 2015, 04:18:38 PM »

Would be a lot more easy if David kindly replied the original question.

 :-X
Logged

Gothars

  • Global Moderator
  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 4158
  • Eschewing obfuscatory verbosity.
    • View Profile
Re: The Lore Corner
« Reply #293 on: December 08, 2015, 04:30:10 PM »

Well, the Kite has a Delta level AI that controls it thrusters for super smooth landing. Mh, landing a craft does sound like a way less complicated task then planning a boarding operation. Seems more of a scaling thing than a fundamentally new category, though. Well, those things are fluid.


By the way, the Terminator description speaks of AI "personalities". I wonder if that means anything.
Logged

Clockwork Owl

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 752
    • View Profile
    • Starsector South Korean Community
    • Email
Re: The Lore Corner
« Reply #294 on: December 08, 2015, 04:30:31 PM »

Would be a lot more easy if David kindly replied the original question.

 :-X
;D

Well, the Kite has a Delta level AI that controls it thrusters for super smooth landing. Mh, landing a craft does sound like a way less complicated task then planning a boarding operation. Seems more of a scaling thing than a fundamentally new category, though. Well, those things are fluid.
Sounds like some modern computer programs would fall into Delta.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2015, 04:33:16 PM by Aron0621 »
Logged

Gothars

  • Global Moderator
  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 4158
  • Eschewing obfuscatory verbosity.
    • View Profile
Re: The Lore Corner
« Reply #295 on: December 12, 2015, 02:10:10 AM »

David, can you please shine some light on the particular thicket of our ignorance displayed by this discussion (from the release thread):


Yeah, [the Domain Epochs are] old lore from the game's former writer Ivaylo, AFAIK not reflected in the game proper. I'm not sure if it can even be considered canon anymore.

Back then it was:

Mastery-epoch = low-tech
Core-epoch = midline
Expansion-epoch = high-tech

But for example the Gryphon, which is visually a midline design, is now described as being used just before the Gates collapsed, which would put it in the Expansion-epoch. I don't know if that's a mistake or if David is throwing those old concepts over board.


Yeah, it's old lore from the game's former writer Ivaylo, not reflected in the game proper. I'm not sure if it can even be considered canon anymore.
I'd argue that it can't really be considered canon anymore. For starters, as far as I know the Mastery Epoch is no longer referenced anywhere within the game, and searching descriptions.csv for 'mastery' didn't turn anything up. Then you have the description of the Hammerhead making things somewhat blurry, as it would be redundant, though not wrong, to describe the vessel as a 'Core Epoch midline destroyer' if Core Epoch implied midline and midline implied Core Epoch. You also have the Sunder, which at least in my opinion is a midline destroyer (visual appearances match midline, armament of mixed ballistics and energy is typical of midline, though the flux capacity and dissipation is perhaps a bit on the high side for a midline ship of its armament and the defenses couple the thin armor of high tech ships with the inefficient shields of low tech ships instead of the more typical midline approach of moderately efficient shields coupled with average armor), but which is explicitly stated to be an (early) Expansion Epoch design; if the Sunder is midline, then midline very definitely cannot imply Core Epoch, though Core Epoch could still imply midline (but, of course, the Gryphon and Heron cast doubt upon that).

But for example the Gryphon, which is visually a midline design, is now described as being used just before the Gates collapsed, which would put it in the Expansion-epoch. I don't know if that's a mistake or if David is throwing those old concepts over board.
The Heron is another example of this; it is by appearances, stats, system (midline drones like the Gemini or Atlas rather than high tech drones like the Apogee, Astral, or Tempest), and armament a midline ship, but as the embodiment of a doctrinal shift which was interrupted by the Collapse it'd be somewhat odd for it to be a Core Epoch design since the Collapse ended the Expansion Epoch.

The Monitor is another ship that casts doubt upon the Epoch-tech equivalency, as it is a more-or-less midline design whose description can be read in a way that implies it to be a post-Collapse and thus post-Expansion Epoch design.


i thought it was core was the earliest, which roughly translates to the battleship era, then mastery, which was a shift towards the 'cruiser school' (talked about, i believe, in one of the mission briefings) and a sort of more modern-esque naval doctrine of force projection using faster, higher-tech carrier/cruiser groups, and then the expansion which was even higher-tech where a bunch of mega-engineering projects were started in the local sector. the gate collapse ended the expansion epoch because it cut everyone off. am i wrong?
« Last Edit: December 12, 2015, 02:15:40 AM by Gothars »
Logged

David

  • Global Moderator
  • Captain
  • *****
  • Posts: 378
    • View Profile
Re: The Lore Corner
« Reply #296 on: December 12, 2015, 10:00:26 AM »

David, can you please shine some light on the particular thicket of our ignorance displayed by this discussion (from the release thread):


Yeah, [the Domain Epochs are] old lore from the game's former writer Ivaylo, AFAIK not reflected in the game proper. I'm not sure if it can even be considered canon anymore.


Yes, I'm not really following through on the epoch system. And I'm not too concerned with aligning the ship tech level as categories with particular periods in the history of the Domain except insofar as individual designs with individual histories do.

My attitude is that a new ship can be designed with a greater or lower tolerance and level of sophistication, resulting in it being categorized into an appropriate tech level. That said, there will almost certainly be no "recent" designs of low-tech level ships, excepting certain modification jobs like the Buffalo mk2.
Logged

SafariJohn

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 1544
    • View Profile
Re: The Lore Corner
« Reply #297 on: December 12, 2015, 11:34:41 AM »

So all the ships are pre-Collapse designs 100% for sure (bar Buffalo Mk 2 and such)? I remember some discussions about whether the Monitor was a pre- or post-Collapse design due to its description being vague..
Logged

Aeson

  • Captain
  • ****
  • Posts: 395
    • View Profile
Re: The Lore Corner
« Reply #298 on: December 12, 2015, 12:22:26 PM »

So all the ships are pre-Collapse designs 100% for sure (bar Buffalo Mk 2 and such)? I remember some discussions about whether the Monitor was a pre- or post-Collapse design due to its description being vague..
That there are no post-Collapse designs other than modification jobs does not follow from the statement that there are no recent low-tech designs aside from certain modification jobs.
Logged

SafariJohn

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 1544
    • View Profile
Re: The Lore Corner
« Reply #299 on: December 13, 2015, 11:12:02 AM »

That there are no post-Collapse designs other than modification jobs does not follow from the statement that there are no recent low-tech designs aside from certain modification jobs.

That's why I'm asking.
Logged
Pages: 1 ... 18 19 [20] 21 22 ... 29