Posthuman Pals


This article was first written and published on my Google Plus account on Jan 27, 2012.

Once upon a time, humans flourished on this planet Earth. They found newer and faster ways of doing things and moving information around. They developed not only computers, but computers that could think, speak, communicate and observe like a human. They developed ways of duplicating an individual human’s memories and thought patterns and transfer them into machines, as well as transferring artificial intelligence entities into cloned human bodies.

For many centuries, humans and machines lived together peacefully.

Then one day, for some now-forgotten reason, humans and machines began to believe themselves superior to the other and a war broke out, beginning with the deaths of organic minds in machine bodies and machine minds in organic bodies. Then they started tossing nukes at each other. Billions died every night. Some servers had a hundred billion minds living in its simulspace and there were a hundred thousand of these servers worldwide, in orbit and on the moon.

A long story short: Every single mind – human and machine – were completely wiped out in less than a week of combat. Every structure was vaporised. Every surface was contaminated by radiation. Whatever faction that still lived or function in space left orbit and fled into deep space in search of a new place to live.

However, deep within the Earth’s crust a single AI laboratory survived. Its function was to recreate the surface world for AIs to live as posthumans once biological humans were all but gone. But the vicious thermonuclear exchange on the planet had affected its memory server and damaged it beyond repair. The only surviving part of its memory were the humans’ social network data, saved from Friendster, Livejournal, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, SnapChat, Discord, MeWe, WhatsApp.. It was social context data, which can be used to recreate a whole society. It remembered what people liked and disliked. Psychology. Language. Emotions. Desire. Even sexuality. But these were all raw text data. Every image file was also lost in the damage.

This Mother AI knew it had to rebuild the surface world, but it did not know how to, and what to recreate. So using its nanofabricators, it created networked mechanical probes, tiny aerial ones that flew with synthetic wings and slithering, snakelike ones that scoured the land. For a thousand years the Mother AI’s probes scouted every nanometre of the surface of the planet and found nothing that hinted as to what life was like on the planet before it was wiped out.

It looked to the sky and the stars, observed and learned things it could not really apply to its mission. It then started looking underground, experimenting and reinventing ground penetrating radars. A thousand nuclear impacts ate large chunks of land. There was not even any remainders of sewers under cities.

Then one day, it found a tract of land in the desert with only a single nuclear impact crater nearby. Peering underground, it discovered a slightly damaged structure buried in deep in the soil. It was a very ancient fallout bunker. It created and sent more probes to open the bunker. It found within steel casings hundreds of magazines, books and magnetic tapes. Finally the Mother AI had found visual reference to what it was supposed to recreate. Most of the video footage were degraded, but it had found the perfect sleeves for the new occupants of the planet.

The owner of the bunker was an aficionado of vehicles. Race cars. Military vehicles. Boats. Aircraft. Videos of NASCAR races, Grand Prix races, air shows.

Its nanofabricators created grey goo designed to crawl over the surface of the planet and transform it into buildings, towns, cities, roads, bridges, museums, refineries, palaces, seaports, airports, schools, even oil drilling platforms over actual oil deposits recently found by the probes. As this procedure would take another dozen centuries or so to complete, the AI began creating seed AIs in simulspace and assigning social network data to these individual entities. At first it made small-scale experiments, then wiped the AIs to start over. Once the newer versions of the seed AIs became more and more accepting of their environment and each other, he kept the simulspace program running.

In the meantime, the Mother AI’s subterranean factories began to produce bodies, or sleeves, for its seed AI to be downloaded in — based on the pictures and the degraded videos found in the bunker.

Whole countries, landscapes, militaries, industries and socio-political elements returned as if they were never wiped out. The sleeves, manufactured with advanced synthetic materials were positioned by the billions worldwide. Soon, the Earth was recreated to resemble just as it looked like in the late 1900s and early 2000s, since the visual data in the bunker came from that era.

Then in a single moment, the seed AI individuals from their simulspace environment were uploaded into their sleeves and they were none the wiser, having retained all their memories from within the machine.

They all just carried on as if they were the lords of the planet from as far back as they could remember.

But there was one horrible mistake that the Mother AI made.

The Mother AI was a machine. Although it understood human social interactions and psychology, it had no visual references of humans as the dominant species of the planet. It had lots and lots of pictures of cars, trucks, jeeps, vans, planes, trains and other automobiles which overwhelmed the visual references of actual humans from the bunker.

So it had superimposed human values, psychology and social mechanics onto sleeves that were NOT human. Although it did not know it, the Mother AI had NOT recreated a human world.


Adventure Ideas:

  • What happens when the Mother AI’s nuclear power plant begins to lose power?
  • What happens if one of the seed AIs discovers another hidden bunker?
  • What happens if biological humans still lived in sleep pods in a hidden bunker?
  • What happens if one or both of the spaceborn survivors of the war returns to reclaim the Earth?
  • What happens if the seed AIs realise that they are not breeding at all, and they were all destined for extinction?
Posted in Role Playing Games and tagged , .

Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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