Artificial Intelligence, or AI, denotes two meanings. The first meaning is sophisticated programming designed to perform a specific task or function, often called "Expert systems". Examples of this sort of limited AI are drone and car auto-pilots and Self-Autonomous Knowbots on the Matrix. These programs are not truly self-aware, but are capable of complex behavior and calculations equalling or exceeding metahuman ability.
However, the more common meaning of AI is a truly self-aware, self-sustaining program capable of directing themselves independently of human control not linked to any host or grid; in other words, an artificial sentient lifeform. AIs once were the stories of crazy deckers and programmers, and the subject of many science-fiction simflicks, books (both fiction and non-fiction), and speculation. The creation of an AI would require at least the complex programming of a Semi-Autonomous Knowbot, immense processing power (possibly an Ultraviolet host), several years of neural network processing, and several unknown factors that are actively being pursued in research by computer megacorporations.
In the Sixth World wiki, all non-Resonance sentient entities that exist solely on the Matrix are referred to as Artificial Intelligence, for the purpose of grouping into a single category. Artificial Intelligence also refers to the three known entities before the Crash 2.0. Entities that exist after the Crash 2.0 are referred to as Digital Intelligences (named inadvertently by Sojourner in his initial list of demands). AIs that are the echoes of personalities who once lived in the Sixth World but are now trapped in the Matrix as a result of being jacked in during the Crash are called E-ghosts.
AIs of the Sixth World Edit
Pre-Crash 2.0 AIs Edit
In the Sixth World, three AIs existed prior to the Second Crash:
- Megaera - The AI inadvertently created by Renraku, and captured to create Deus
- Deus - The AI responsible for the Renraku Arcology shutdown
- Mirage - The first AI, derived from an Echo Mirage project to combat the Crash Virus of 2029
These three possessed incredible powers on the Matrix and were instrumental in the eventual Crash 2.0.
Digital Intelligences Edit
After the Second Crash, a large number of additional AIs came into being. They vary in complexity from nearly-feral guard programs which have developed only the most rudimentary self-awareness to complex alien intelligences with incomprehensibly far-reaching goals. These new entities - at least the ones who communicate with metahumanity - prefer the term "Digital Intelligences," because they do not view themselves as 'artificial.' Some metahumans attempt to compromise and call them "Synthetic Intelligences" instead.
- Sojourner - Naming itself after the abolitionist Sojourner Truth, it was the first 'public' DI.
- Pulsar - The most talkative of the current DIs, presenting a(n artificial) "face" for the entities.
- the Voice - The DI responsible(?) for the Realm Beyond cult.
- Goldenboy - A partially-corrupted DI interested principally in financial power.
- Opaline - This DI emulates metahumans, typically females, in an attempt to build a self-identity.
Other Artificial Intelligences appear to be 'ghosts' of personalities whose bodies died while they were jacked-in during the Crash 2.0 itself. Current estimates place approximately 50,000 metasapient DI worldwide.
AIs are available as an optional race for PCs in Shadowrun Fourth Edition.