There are three main categories of Artificial Intelligence - and only the last can really be called intelligent. These are:
LOYAL PET CLASS - this is enough to operate simple mechanical processes, such as factory work, domestic service etc. Incapable of much in the way of judgment, and not capable of operation without supervision. There are a number of sub-classes of Loyal Pet, such as, amoung others:
BRIGHT SLAVE CLASS - the bulk of functional robots, BRIGHT SLAVES include Starship Marine's combat robots, the Navy's Combat Autopilot Pacifiers, and the brains behind Ship's Computers. They can simulate sentience, and can make simple judgments, but lack any real subtlety of thought, and can usually be outsmarted by a human. They can function outside supervision, but not very effectively. Some societies permit Bright Slaves some degree of citizenship (such as the SSR) though this remains fairly controversial in most polities.
MORIARTY CLASS - this is the only class of true AI. It is truly sentient in every sense, and is faster and smarter than human beings. The main problem has been that humanity is incapable of limiting and controlling MORIARTY CLASS AI, and in every case in history where such systems have been developed it has resulted in conflict. Fortunately, so far, this has resulted in the ultimate destruction of the AIs concerned - but in some cases only just.
The real fear is that should MORIARTY AIs become free and able to operate independently they would inevitably supplant mankind.
The development and operation of MORIARTY CLASS AI is therefore forbidden by both local and interstellar law.
Development of this level of AI is regarded as a legitimate Casus Belli. An entire religion has formed opposing Moriarti AI - and anyone even contemplating their construction - preaching Holy Crusade to Destroy All AIs (see Church of the Latter-Day Mukuls). There are persistent rumours of another, secretive religion, that preaches the exact opposite.
There are thought to be several levels of Moriarti Class brain (though thankfully none are still in existance - from Sentient Moriarti which is just a bit better than human, through the Genius Moriarti, to the theoretical God Moriarti, at the limit of known technology which is super intelligent to a degree unimaginable to man.
Go here for the main points of the Stickney Treaty - terms of the interstellar treaty limiting the development of Moriarty Class AI.
The Universe(of Starship Marine, Starship Strike and Plan A) is © Jim Wallman 1996-2011. You may freely use this material in other games, works, websites etc for your personal entertainment - with appropriate credits as to authorship and copyright. It may not be resold or distributed with any publication for sale without the express permission of the copyright holder.