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The Ambitions of an AI
Posted By: Usul <>Date: 9/3/05 6:31 p.m.

This post was initally a response to a single sentence from Dark One's post here, but it seemed far too much of a tangent to post there. The question, "What can she gain from the Flood?" triggered it, as the same question has been bouncing around my head since November 10th. This is the picture the echoes have formed. Forgive the length.

I've given thought to the "Gravemind is an old Forerunner AI" theory owing to his control over Halo's subsystems, and, as a result, he is of great interest to Cortana. She's nearing the end of her life, especially if you believe that her imminent demise has been hastened by the influx of information from the Alpha Halo.

So, how to preserve herself? I think "reversal" of the process that intially created her. So, instead of a brain being used as a template from which she is created, she is looking to make a flash transfer of her thinking self, her consciousness to a fleshly vessel so as to avoid the computing issues that would eventually kill her. Her data could still be accessed via electronic storage (or quantum, or however they store information), or it could even be contained within some bloated, organic, brainlike organ.

My problem is that I'm no neuroscientist, but I've always been given to believe that the human brain is able to store vast quantites of information, not to mention able to make computations on par with those of a computer. Ever seen the movie Rainman? Well, such stories aren't myth.

There have been many throughout human history who have possessed remarkable abilities concerning rapid calculation. Take the anecdote from one of Dick Feynman's memoirs. In it, he describes a little mathematical puzzle (I don't remember the actual numbers, so I'll just use X, Y, etc.): two bicycles are heading towards from a distance of X miles at Y miles an hour apiece. A fly buzzes back and forth between their front tires at Z miles an hour. How far does the fly fly before he is crushed between the two front tires?

Now the answer can be fairly simple through use of a common sense "trick" or fairly difficult using an infinite summation. The story goes, Feynman presented the puzzle a well-respected scientist/mathematician (I can't remember who...can anyone help me?) hoping to get a good tease out of him by watching him squirm with the infinite summation. Instead, the guy instantly responded, "Oh, the answer is such-and-such miles." Feynam frowned and said, "Dangit, you already knew the trick!" to which the guy responds, "What trick? I just did the infinite sum."

Now that impressed even a mathema-physicist like Feynman, but there are other much more mind-boggling examples all throughout history, often involving "autistic savants" (Google or Wiki it, or perhaps the less politically correct "idiot savant"). People who instantly multiply ridiculously large numbers in their heads, or could tell you the natural log of a given number out to however many decimal places you pleased, etc, etc.

What I'm saying is, the capability is there within the brain to perform the necessary operations as a computer. You combine a person with a photographic (or holographic) memory with the ability to perform thousands of small equations a second (that's the iffy part), you add a program, and what do you have? A computer.

So, back on track. I've always thought of consciousness as the "software" that we run on our given "hardware" (or wetware, whichever you prefer). If that's the case, a different bit of software might use the highly malleable, adaptible hardware that is the human brain in a vastly different way. Cortana could very well use raw, organic material to create a fleshly vessel for herself to inhabit and control. Her old digitized self would be dead and gone, or course, leaving only the bio-Cortana. However, in every logical and meaningful sense, it would be her. Her biggest difficulty as an organic AI would be interfacing with those mechanical things on which she previously relied, but I assume she's still working out all the kinks in her plan (just as I'm working out all the kinks in this idea).

The big question is, would such a smart AI running on organic hardware still succumb to the same issues as her contemporaries? On this point I admit I'm fairly ambivalent, seeing as I can argue both sides to myself at the drop of a hat. However, if we believe that Cortana has already succumbed somewhat to the madness within, then the logical viability of a fleshly incarnation is really a moot point, because her Rampancy (however partial) could very well cause her to ignore such self-doubtings.

I admit there are several instances of the word "could" in there, not to mention several assumptions, and likely many other holes; and I know the idea could possibly use some more fleshing out before it can be taken seriously. I just figured I'd get it out there while it was all on my mind. Questions, comments, smart remarks, all are very much welcome. I figure if I can refine things at all, I'll send it to the Halo Story page and cry as Jilly rejects it out of hand.

est. 1986

Message Index


The Ambitions of an AIUsul 9/3/05 6:31 p.m.
     Re: The Ambitions of an AInoah! 9/4/05 12:20 a.m.
           Re: The Ambitions of an AIUsul 9/4/05 1:19 p.m.
                 Re: The Ambitions of an AIdude1 9/5/05 11:27 a.m.
                 Re: The Ambitions of an AIDark One 9/5/05 12:43 p.m.
           Re: The Ambitions of an AIJinno 9/5/05 12:38 p.m.
                 Re: The Ambitions of an AIStephen L. (SoundEffect) 9/5/05 12:41 p.m.
                 Re: The Ambitions of an AIdude1 9/5/05 3:23 p.m.
                       Re: The Ambitions of an AIStephen L. (SoundEffect) 9/5/05 9:55 p.m.
                             Re: The Ambitions of an AIdude1 9/6/05 6:56 p.m.
                                   Re: The Ambitions of an AIAin Soph Aur 10/11/05 12:47 a.m.
                                         Re: The Ambitions of an AIUrsusArctos 10/11/05 5:29 a.m.
                                               Re: The Ambitions of an AIAin Soph Aur 10/12/05 12:10 a.m.
     it would make sensedean 9/5/05 8:19 a.m.
     Re: The Ambitions of an AISly Avatar 9/5/05 8:19 a.m.
           Re: The Ambitions of an AIAI Construct 9/5/05 1:03 p.m.
     Cortana will become God with Gravemind's bodyUrsusArctos4 9/7/05 10:11 a.m.
           Gravemind....Overmind...Hm...58 9/7/05 12:24 p.m.
                 Re: Gravemind....Overmind...Hm...Dark One 9/8/05 8:32 p.m.
                       Books-A-Million, B.Dalton...58 9/8/05 9:26 p.m.
     Re: The Ambitions of an AIgspawn 9/7/05 1:13 p.m.
           Re: The Ambitions of an AInoah! 9/7/05 4:14 p.m.

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