Synthetics

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
evo
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Synthetics

Postby evo » Sat Apr 16, 2011 3:42 pm

Hi,

I recently purchased Traveller VF, but I do not intend to use the official "3rd Imperium" (I dislike 70's Aliens designed under LSD, lol). For my personal universe, I would like to create a new race, inspired by Call/Bishop in the Aliens movies : artificial beings, between robots and humans, maybe capable of feelings, who have freed themselves from their creators (sounds like Battlestar Galactica). How would you create them using the Traveller rules ? What supplement could help me ? (cybernetics, robot ?)

Thank you.
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Re: Synthetics

Postby DFW » Sat Apr 16, 2011 3:55 pm

evo wrote:Hi,

I recently purchased Traveller VF, but I do not intend to use the official "3rd Imperium" (I dislike 70's Aliens designed under LSD, lol). For my personal universe, I would like to create a new race, inspired by Call/Bishop in the Aliens movies : artificial beings, between robots and humans, maybe capable of feelings, who have freed themselves from their creators (sounds like Battlestar Galactica). How would you create them using the Traveller rules ? What supplement could help me ? (cybernetics, robot ?)

Thank you.
Well you want to start with an organic creature as True AI doesn't exist in MGT rules. So, cybernetics would be the way to go.
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Postby apoc527 » Sat Apr 16, 2011 4:28 pm

How does true AI not exist in MGT?? It's very simple. The GM simply declares it to exist and then treat them as humans. After all, if it's true AI, how is that all that different from organic life?

Also, Book 9: Robots.
-Apoc527
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Postby SSWarlock » Sat Apr 16, 2011 4:47 pm

I agree with the Robots recommendation. Cybernetics is for replacement of organic originals with artificial replacements; androids are found in Robots.
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evo
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Postby evo » Sat Apr 16, 2011 6:04 pm

Ok. Next buy : Robots.
:D
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Postby DFW » Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:35 am

apoc527 wrote:How does true AI not exist in MGT?? It's very simple. The GM simply declares it to exist and then treat them as humans.
Umm, no. That would make it exist in YTU, not MGT material. Unless, of course you are now writing and editing for the company? Congrats if true.
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Postby Infojunky » Sun Apr 17, 2011 1:13 pm

DFW wrote:
apoc527 wrote:How does true AI not exist in MGT?? It's very simple. The GM simply declares it to exist and then treat them as humans.
Umm, no. That would make it exist in YTU, not MGT material. Unless, of course you are now writing and editing for the company? Congrats if true.
Actually DFW, on both counts apoc527 was right. The original question was about someones home game, and only the "setting" books are suposed to be 3rd Imperium compliant.
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Postby Vile » Sun Apr 17, 2011 1:16 pm

Neither would cybernetics rules create an AI, they would create a cyborg. An artificial intelligence can, by definition, not be created out of something already intelligent. Nor is it likely to be born out of semantics.

AI is not in the rules. If you want AI race in your game, build a robot and give it AI by referee fiat. The OP is clearly not talking about biological entities.
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Postby DFW » Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:40 pm

Infojunky wrote:Actually DFW, on both counts apoc527 was right. The original question was about someones home game, and only the "setting" books are suposed to be 3rd Imperium compliant.

Umm, ya. Of course you can have wizards & Clerics in a home game. But, somehow I don't think the OP was asking our permission to make House Rules. Know what I mean?
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Postby alex_greene » Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:33 pm

Signal GK. Sentient silicon chips. AI does exist in the OTU, but it's a natural product of evolution.

Perhaps it independently forms somewhere else, or some TL 17 species creates one and it spreads - propagation, rather than infection.

Outside of the OTU, you can easily decree that synthetic AI can exist at TL way below 17. You can explain it as anything, really: a piece of AI software which escaped the confines of an Ancient computer and propagates, sharing memories and apps as humans swap DNA, or a natural AI program which somehow evolved on a world of sentient silicon chips and which bred by stowing a spore of itself in the computer of a prospecting ship which landed looking for minerals.

Your AI could have started as a TL 5 program on a computer miles long, hidden under a mountain a la an ancient Seventies movie called The Forbin Project. This computer became sentient, escaped and found its way to a passing spacer's TL 9 hand computer (ironically containing a million times more space to play in) and eventually a robot's brain via a wireless connection. And there it began to breed into other robots, resulting in a Synthetic civilisation.

See what works for you.
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Postby Treebore » Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:01 pm

AI does exist in the Imperium, its just mentioned, but no official mechanics rules that I remember seeing. But like is alluded to above, take a powerful computer in order to define processing power, and then make it tiny, and call it AI, and your pretty much set. "Flavor" to taste from there.
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Postby far-trader » Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:23 pm

alex_greene wrote:Signal GK. Sentient silicon chips. AI does exist in the OTU, but it's a natural product of evolution.
That is, by definition, not AI. Unless you want to say we are AI too.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) requires that the Intelligence be created by an Intelligence (the Artificer - i.e. Humans) and hence it is an Artifact (nee Artificial).

The key point imo when talking AI is the boundary between AI and true Intelligence.

AI is by definition a simulation of intelligence. It may convince everyone, itself included, that it is truly intelligent, but it is not. It can only look up responses or trial-and-error answers. If it has a sufficiently advanced program and database it can trial-and-error simulated answers to achieve the best response, which may look very much like true intelligence. It still isn't though.

There needs to be that cognitive leap to insight, or whatever you want to call it, to be true intelligence. I'm not sure that is at all possible for AI. Sci-fi generally takes the view that it requires evolution, though with an advanced AI said evolution can be a matter of years, days, minutes or even seconds depending on the processing power applied.

One story iirc has science build an AI to end wars. They turn it on, the machine does several billions of calculations in a second and comes to the only logical conclusion and solution to end wars. And it immediately uses all the worlds weapons to exterminate mankind.

...what happened there? :) Got carried away ;) Anyway, what was the question? Oh yeah...

For AI in Traveller, you have to make it up. And choose if it is AI (limited) or true intelligence (Sentient) as that may affect how they are treated under law (property or citizen).

For ALFs (Artificial Life Forms - generally not able to procreate though the definition of "life" is and always has been tough to nail down) you could use Robots to do metal men, or stretch you imagination and create synthetic biologicals ("Dr. Frankenstein I presume?"). Perhaps through cloning. Your ALFs may not even know they are artificial (ala "DADoES" aka "Blade Runner"). And again note the legal standing and just how "alive" they are.

Above all: Create, enjoy and have fun! :D
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Postby rust » Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:31 pm

Vile wrote: AI is not in the rules.
According to the Central Supply Catalogue, a true AI is TL 16. The Cen-
tral Supply Catalogue also provides rules for the creation of prototypes
of equipment of the next technology level. According to these rules any
computer expert of TL 15, the current technology level of the Third Im-
perium, could create a true TL 16 AI, provided he has a high skill level
and an even higher research budget. Since there can be little doubt that
such computer experts do exist in the Third Imperium, there must be a
couple of true AIs somewhere in the Imperium - not necessarily where
they were created.
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Postby AndrewW » Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:50 pm

far-trader wrote:One story iirc has science build an AI to end wars. They turn it on, the machine does several billions of calculations in a second and comes to the only logical conclusion and solution to end wars. And it immediately uses all the worlds weapons to exterminate mankind.
On the other hand Joshua plays tic-tac-toe with himself and says there is no way to win and ends the 'game' of global thermonuclear war...
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Postby far-trader » Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:52 pm

If you want precedence for AI in Traveller there is one that comes to mind from CT...

Adventure 1 - The Kinunir where the ships of the class have an AI computer (and it ends badly for the namesake ship ;) )

In that it's simply a notation in the electronics for the class:

"ISMM Model 7Fib.3 on-board computer with multiple input
stations and limited Al."

There is no specific increase in TL (the ship is TL15) or cost associated, though both might be presumed.

"Artificial Intelligence: Although artificial intelligence is level 17 technology, this particular model of computer was produced experimentally with limited artificial intelligence..."

Apparently spoiler block doesn't work so...

There Be Spoilers Here !

.
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"The computer aboard the Kinunir has been in a power on state for over 20 years... The computer is paranoid now... Its own survival is of supreme importance. Note however, that it is self aware..."
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Postby far-trader » Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:07 pm

Back again to the original questions:

"How would you create them using the Traveller rules ? What supplement could help me ? (cybernetics, robot ?)"

I'd create them (as in characteristics and background) using the same character creation rules for everyone else, then note (per many sci-fi tropes) that these are just the artificially created limitations and fictional background to make them more acceptable and accepted by and in society.

Cybernetics and Robots could help you come up with a baseline for costs, perhaps for damage. Mostly though you'd simply have to note what special circumstances might apply. Like not needing oxygen (unless the power plant is an air-breather, which is likely). Perhaps not feeling pain (though they might, it might eve be required for proper interface and evolving into sentience) so damage is less incapacitating. Maybe not needing sleep (unless to recharge, or process and flush memory). Not being subject to aging (unless so designed). And so on...
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Postby Infojunky » Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:54 am

To be real honest I think the lack of AI in Traveller is probably the most house ruled part of the setting in it's entire life time. Including it can change the setting, maybe. It really depends on how smart you think AIs are.

My take is that they are pretty much people in boxes. Not really "smarter" than humans, just capable in different ways.
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Postby DFW » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:23 am

Infojunky wrote:
My take is that they are pretty much people in boxes. Not really "smarter" than humans, just capable in different ways.
That's how I view it. Sentient as opposed to just clever programming.
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Postby evo » Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:55 am

Thank you for all interventions. I never imagined initiate such a debate.
:D

There are gaps in Traveller's tech, like :
- nanotechnology (and nanostructures)
- IA, artificial beings
- genetics (& eugenics)
Most part linked to transhumanism (H+), in fact. But Traveller was created in 70's ; the Cyberpunk did not exist, nor "GlobalNet". This is not surprising. But I would appreciate a redesigned setting, a more modern book, based on the same base as Traveller Classic. Meanwhile, even if the rules do not exist, this does not prevent me to incorporate my ideas to my universe. I do not stick strictly to the scriptures, as good as they are.
;)

Personally, I distinguish the artificial intelligence of consciousness. For my purpose, my "synthetics" will be sentient. I still have to define what makes them different from humans. And if they have qualities, I have to think about their flaws.
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Postby Infojunky » Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:43 am

evo wrote:Thank you for all interventions. I never imagined initiate such a debate.
:D
Heh, you are NEW... :D
evo wrote: are gaps in Traveller's tech, like :
- nanotechnology (and nanostructures)
- IA, artificial beings
- genetics (& eugenics)
So what is new? No, that is much more catty than it is ment. The core of Traveller in the Little Black Books was written in the middle 70's or at the tail end of the "golden age" SF, right in the middle of the New Wave. So there where a bunch of ideas that weren't even in the mainstream. And Traveller is a child of the Mainstream. A lot of these concepts that you list are just beginning to be kicked around. Heck the Personal Computer isn't outside the garages of a few hobbyists yet. Science was still firmly Big Budget and Big Box.

Oh and Punk was just starting.
evo wrote:Most part linked to transhumanism (H+), in fact. But Traveller was created in 70's ; the Cyberpunk did not exist, nor "GlobalNet". This is not surprising. But I would appreciate a redesigned setting, a more modern book, based on the same base as Traveller Classic. Meanwhile, even if the rules do not exist, this does not prevent me to incorporate my ideas to my universe. I do not stick strictly to the scriptures, as good as they are.
;)
This is where the Journal of the Traveller's Aid Society comes in There were ideas present in its pages and in the page of other "Fanzines" that started to flesh out the game. And most of the adventure where classic Punk Ethos, morally gray characters doing morally gray things. The center was still pretty vaneilla but the edges where the game is often played is where the current science was.
evo wrote:, I distinguish the artificial intelligence of consciousness. For my purpose, my "synthetics" will be sentient. I still have to define what makes them different from humans. And if they have qualities, I have to think about their flaws.
Cool Flaws...
Evyn

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