Afterlife Intelligence Species in Vazdimet | World Anvil

Afterlife Intelligence

Afterlife Intelligences are souls of the dead who have agreed to remain on the mortal plane, soulbound within an object that they then control. AI are best known for their use within military spacecraft, but can be found almost anywhere including construction equipment, computer systems, and smart buildings.

Civilization and Culture

Common Etiquette Rules

It is generally considered rude to ask an AI how they died. Some have had traumatic prior experiences which have led them to their present state, while others chose their path willingly before death, but in all cases it's nosy and rude to ask unless the AI in question has offered first.

History

Lance Class Dreadnought

The concept of Afterlife Intelligence was first pioneered by the Sparnell Confederation, intended as the crowing jewel of their newest ship class, the Lance Class dreadnoughts. While the technology itself worked better than expected, including the ships' self-healing features tapping into the life force of the assigned AI's body, the experiment was declared a failure due to the unexpected behaviors of the AI themselves.   The original AI were selected from among the Confederation's prisoner population, with the expectation their new bond with the ship would encourage compliance and a vested interest in the vessel's continued survival. Instead, many of the prisoners were able to override the safeties to engage in firefights with other Confederation vessels rather than their opponents. Others directed their ships to ram other vessels and celestial bodies in an attempt to destroy their new form and slip to the Afterlife.   The Lance program never recovered.  

AI Evolution

These setbacks also led to a many decade pause in AI research until a young researcher proposed seeking willing volunteers from among the population: individuals nearing the end of their life, or even already past it, seeking a new opportunity to remain relevant and active on the mortal plane.   The results were immediate and explosive, particularly among the Sparnell Armed Forces. Grizzled military veterans were offered the chance to remain in their posts, this time as part of the ship. Entire teams of AI were granted ultimate control of their departments, integrated into the equipment itself to allow for split second reactions without the need to eat or sleep.   Expensive reconstruction clones were no longer the only way to retain invaluable knowledge. The AI evolution had begun.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

As an AI could have been any species prior to death, their opinions on the living are varied and diverse. To an AI the other sophonts are mortals, whereas the AI themselves are no longer limited by the needs of the living.   Similarly, thoughts on AI among the other sophonts are split more by faction than by species.  

Confederation and Mordena

The Sparnell Confederation relies heavily upon AI in their military endeavors and other aspects of their society. Having learned from their early attempts at forcing unwilling participants to become AI, the current AI within the Confederation are generally treated quite well, especially when their jobs are considered important.   Despite their many disagreements with the Confederation, the Mordena have retained these reliances and beliefs.  

Legion, Freeholds, and Vardan

The Space Defense Legion believes that the cycle of life and death is natural and not meant to be disrupted, but they will not judge an individual for their personal choices. The Legion therefore does not manufacture any AI devices of vehicles of their own, but has been known to trade for them, provided the included AI is amenable to the deal.   The Freeholds are more varied in their beliefs due to their more scattered nature, ranging from ignoring AI technologies and options in their entirety all the way to manufacturing their own, depending upon the planet.   The Vardan do not manufacture AI, but have been known to trade in AI goods and even fly ships with AI in their caravans, provided their trade routes do not take them through Order territory.  

Hydell Order

The Hydell Order believes the existence of Afterlife Intelligences are an affront to the Natural Order, and have declared it their Holy Mission to eradicate the practice from the universe. This is despite their own use of AI in the form of the Ordained Ascended, souls bound within carefully designed mech suits, perfectly optimized for each individual's eternal assignment in support of the Ascended Conclave.
Lifespan
Infinite
Related Ethnicities
Related Technologies

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Cover image: Planet Moon Solar by LoganArt

Comments

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Dec 22, 2022 07:09 by Mochi

This was such a fun read! I love how this is a twist on AI, and is WAY cooler! I quite like the section on the Lance Class Dreadnoughts, that feels quite believable xD

I hope you have a great day!   Explore the endless planets brimming with life of the Yonderverse! Go after creatures, discover new places, and learn about the people you find along the way.   Consider voting for me in the Worldbuilding Awards!
Dec 22, 2022 17:00 by Morgan Biscup

Thanks so much! I love playing with expectations, and death, in Vazdimet.   I do actually have a novel planned about the Lance Class at some point.

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Jan 22, 2023 17:59

Wow, this looks quite terrifying, so many things can go purposefully wrong on all sides. What happens if one of those veterans decides it's time to shut down? do they get their wish granted, are there stories of coercing a "just too good" AI to keep on going despite their wish to die?   This is a fantastic motor for so many stories.

Jan 23, 2023 06:18 by Morgan Biscup

The more responsibility granted to an AI, the greater the risk if they are unhappy in the role, so the more important AI on the ship like the Navigations AI (necromancers responsible for Hyperjumping) are treated very well. (In the case of Navigations specifically, they could also decide to just unbind themselves and everyone else and leave, so definitely keep them happy.)   There have been tales of lesser AI being forced into things, though. For example, Urla served time as a Hydroponics AI and was actually killed and bound against her will. In her case her options were limited, since she was also disowned so had no Family to look out for her, and a failure to perform her responsibilities would have warranted a visit from her Admiral's TAG with some regrettable consequences. (The Shatter spell will destroy a soul, removing any hope of an Afterlife.) But she did her best to be a thorn in everyone's side while still technically following all the rules.   AI will also be removed from their responsibilities if their commanding officer no longer trusts them to fulfill their duties. In the Confederation this also means a likely demotion and a mark of disgrace against one's Family - if they don't disown you first. Some will be left to the Afterlife, others reassigned to a smaller role, and still others resurrected with a reconstruction clone to instead walk once more among the living.   The Mordena are much kinder overall to all their AI. They don't do enlistment duration requirements or anything, either. If an AI wants to try something else instead it's expected they will remain until a replacement is found if the task is critical (with the understanding that actual effort is put into the search). Otherwise they are free to go immediately, or as soon as their new body is ready, their choice.   Sorry for the wall of text! I hope I answered your questions at some point in there, haha.

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Jan 26, 2023 02:48

Oh you certainly did! Poor Urla, that is nothing short of slavery. It is very curious that you can be fired and get a clone as part of your compensation package. Sort of free body? Kinda?   I decided to feature this article in my Reading Challenge this year, in case you want to give it a look!

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