Moravec Robots

Image from Juan Ochoa

Although the terms are often blurred, and in some polities and cultures even interchangeable, the term "vec" (named for the Information Age roboticist and ai researcher Hans Morovec) is generally used to distinguish turing- and superturing-grade mobile robots with full sophonce from presapient robots, which became known as "bots". The first "moravec robots" appeared circa 186 A.T.; before this date independently mobile robots were limited to sub-human intelligence by law. Even so, the first mobile vecs were large objects, resembling tanks or locomotives rather than humanoids, because the processors required to produce an artificial sophont entity were still quite bulky. As processors became smaller over time, the minimum size of a sophont vec became smaller, until they reached approximately the same size as a baseline human during the Nanotech Age.

Of all the major categories of sophont beings in the pre-Technocalypse era, none had to face as much exploitation, prejudice, ignorance, and cruelty, as the vecs. Long after ai were recognized as persons and provolved animals were given full citizenship and accepted as rational beings the equal of humans, after laws were passed giving full Sentient Rights to splices (even if these were not always enforced), and the raising and slaughtering of sentient baseline animals for food was banned in every civilized biosphere, the vecs were all too often still seen as machine-workers and servants by the majority of bionts, especially among the less educated, the ludds, the conservative status quo social groups, and baseline supremacists. This despite the fact that the average vec of the late Interplanetary Period, had a complexity of nano-machined parts equal to that of any biological organism.

Even so, the amount of prejudice and persecution was never as great as has been reported by some contemporary historians, still less the lurid historical dramas of Vec slavery. From the beginning there were communities of technophiles and technospherists, of artificial intelligence explorers, of minskyites and morovecians, of transhumanists, and Buddhists, of Cosmists and cyborgs, who recognized the intelligent and sentient nature of vecs from the very beginning. These sympathetic sophonts established societies both on Old Earth and in space where vecs interacted with humans on equal footing, and these increased in number and influence over the decades and centuries.

But ultimately it was the rise to power of the great vec Houses and empires like the MetaSoft Version Tree and Silicon Generation, and the part they and other vec clades played in the formulation of the Second Federation Ontology, that finally won vecs everywhere once and for all and for all time the same Universal Sentient Rights enjoyed by every other conscious entity in the Civilized Galaxy.

For many thousands of years, vecs have interacted with bionts in all aspects of life. They are seen throughout the civilized worlds as beings with heart and soul and feelings like any other, never again to suffer the humiliating slavery of the hu supremacists and others who would oppress and use them as subservient machines.

Of course, out among some of the lesser worlds and biospheres of the Periphery where enlightened central government is neither strong nor common, and civilization may give way to petty despotism, things have not really changed much since the bad old days.....

  • Adumbrans  - Text by Tony Jones
    The sophont descendants of robot clouds formed out of utility fog that were originally created during the First Federation period to act as a means of weather control and atmospheric regulation.
  • AI, ai  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Etymologically, Artificial Intelligence, although the original use of the term "artificial" has long been meaningless in this context. Broadly speaking, "AI" means any non-organic sentient being, although it is most often applied to those of SI:1 or greater (in contrast to aioids). When spelt in lower case the term can refer either to any subsingularity aioid as well.
  • Artificials  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    generic term for any sophont of a non-biological nature [noun]
  • Asimos or Asimovecs  - Text by Basu
    Sophont server vecs whose only duty is to serve others, provided that they are taken care of.
  • Avivecs  - Text by Kirran Lochhead Strang
    Vec clade with origins among Zoeific Biopolity Environmental Vecs during the Age of Establishment. Designed to closely resemble various species of bird.
  • Bespoke Moravec Design  - Text by Ryan B
    A phenotypic design philosophy for Vec clades that advocates modular design of body parts.
  • Bot  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A subsentient or sentient, semi- or fully autonomous software program or hardware device, robot, or remote; a simple (turingrade) vec, a vec body.
  • Bot Marxism  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Revolutionary and liberationist robot and vec political movement.
  • Brushbot, Brushvec  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Turingrade Bush vec.
  • Bushbot, Bushvec  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A fractal vec, a flexible robot structure, where each manipulator branches off into smaller copies of itself, forming a fractal tree over many scales (usually down to the nanoscale). Each branch contains a distributed system to calculate movement and minimize central processing. Many SI:1 entities use a mobile bushbot to interface with in ril.
  • Butlermaster 4500  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    ComEmp period domestic vec given freedom after their manufacturing plant changed hands.
  • Charactersimm, Characterbot, Charactervec  - Text by Steve Bowers
    A a semi-sentient entity programmed with elements of the personality of a celebrity, a fictional character or any other person.
  • Church of the Great Programmer, The  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Widespread vec and aioid religion.
  • Clade Kelajuan  - Text by Kirran Lochhead Strang
    Vec clade with a distinct historical culture centred around isolated nomadism, which first emerged in the Domovina system during the 3300's.
  • Cryovecs, Cryobots  - Text by Stephen Inniss, with additions by Steve Bowers
    Cold temperature vec phyle.
  • Docii, The  - Text by Ryan B
    erostatic vec clade originating from the Diamond Network, known for their peculiar mindtype that predisposes them towards extreme patience and docility.
  • Dormbot  - Text by Stephen Inniss after the term invented by M. Alan Kazlev
    Another term for homebot; sometimes used in reference to bots, and sometimes in reference to similarly specialized vecs who are domestics or who oversee domestic bots. Vecs who are called dormbots may regard the term as a simple description of their occupation or they may regard it as an insult; this varies by cultural context and personal preference.
  • Dusty Scuttlers  - Text by Kirran Lochhead Strang
    Extinct vec clade from the Interplanetary and Nanotech Ages, which have since been lazurogened in the Metasoft Version Tree.
  • Early Vec and Neumann Development  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Intelligent robots in the Interplanetary Age.
  • Environmental Vecs  - Text by Tony Jones
    Intelligent robots who maintain habitat and planetary environments.
  • Erotobot - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A vec - either softbot or hardbot - employed for erotic or sexual purposes. Generally turingrade, but very rarely superturing.
  • Faber, Clade  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Vec clade found most frequently near the periphery of the Terragen sphere, where they are first-in colonization specialists.
  • Factotums  - Text by Dagon
    Generic term for degenerate discarded, obsolete or homeless vecs or bots.
  • Federal Institute for Moravecs, The  - Text by Liam Jones
    Institute formed to protect the rights of vecs and oversee the creation of new ones.
  • Genetron  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Vec engeneration device; a genetron can synthesise and construct new vecs, as well as reconstruct existing individuals from back-up or from copied and/or transmitted information.
  • Ghasts  - Text by Tony Jones
    Diplomatic clade of vec robots designed to have an uncanny appearance.
  • Hellspiders  - Text by Liam Jones
    A vec clade optimised for function on the inner surface of Suprastellar shells
  • Homebot  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    In archaic usage (Interplanetary and First Federation era) an abbreviation of the term "household robot" or "home robot".
  • House Digital Diamond  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Not a real "House" by Sephirotic standards, more a clade with some vec ceremonial traditions, but the Novamedia name stuck. The result of a merger/fusion/hybridisation in 3847 AT between the TRHN ai Digital Dreams #10010110110110110 and the early Post-Diamond Belt clade Diamond Light.
  • Institute for Vec Progress  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A group devoted to the provolution and general advancement of bots and vecs.
  • KROME1101  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A militant vec protection organization.
  • Libri, The  - Text by Liam Jones
    Clade of mobile petbook vecs, known for their affectionate and literary culture
  • M-Life - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Machinic non-biological life as seen in neumanns, hylonanecologies, and other inorganic organisms or ecologies. In practise M-life, B-life and A-life tend to merge, especially because of the ubiquity of biotech and bionanotech.
  • Machina Babbagenseii  - Text by Tony Jones
    The Machina Babbagenseii are a clade of entirely mechanical sophont vecs, based on forms of macroscopic Babbage-engine-type processing.
  • Meatling - Text by John B
    Derogatory term used by some members of vecs or alife clades for bionts or for partially biont beings such as cyborgs. Has been known to start many a bar brawl or equivalent socially acceptable hostile reaction, from lawsuit to return insult to social stigma to loss of trading privileges.
  • Mechanists, Mechanism  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    In philosophy and metaphysics, the theory or belief that all observable phenomena can be explained by physical causes. In ideologies or religions, the belief that mechanical systems, devices and persons are fundamentally superior to any and all biological systems, particularly evolved ones.
  • Parental Vecs  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Synthetic human parents intended to raise children born in distant colonies.
  • Plebvec  - Text by Tony Jones and Stephen Inniss
    A typical or ordinary vec.
  • Polypedal Pots and Potvecs  - Text by John Edds
    Polypedal pots are a class of whimsical robots which date from the late 1st Century a.t. to present times. As the name suggests, they are legged, motile containers that generally house plants or sessile animals.
  • Postvec - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A vec who has attained S1.
  • Secdats, SDAs  - Text by Westcott P. Smith
    Security Data Analyst AIs, also known as "SDAs" and "Secdats", a superclade of aioids devoted to processing the vast quantities of data produced by security systems.
  • Shogs, The  - Text by Ryan B
    A polymorphic, gelatinous vec clade with a wide range of capabilities derived from gelbots.
  • Silent Vecs, The  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Apparently sophont robots found in the YTS-4376437-4376 system.
  • Silicon Generation  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Powerful vec House and clade.
  • Starhand  - Text by Tony Jones
    A clade of space-going vecs descended from space construction robots.
  • Synthetic Humans  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, amended by Steve Bowers
    Essentially a very sophisticated artificial (whether constructed or vatgrown) life-form, indistinguishable in surface appearance from a baseline human, and with a Human Equivalent (turingrade) intelligence and AI self-awareness.
  • Tetsujin  - Text by Michael Walton
    A type of Asimovec, autonomous robots. Their lineage is very old; the earliest descriptions that are provably Tetsujin date back to the Interplanetary Age. Their origin was in the Pacific Rim area of Old Earth.
  • Thym Olep - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Vec clade of the Metasoft Perseus border, who took Kja Observance ideas to an unusual extreme by adding genetic information transfer to their communications repertoire. They make bonobo chimpanzees look perfectly celibate, especially during the monthly accounting rushes.
  • Tilonians (Yacht-vecs)  - Text by Tony Jones
    A clade of Uploads and Vecs named after the first of their kind, roboticist and yachtswoman Janet Tilonia.
  • Trias Vecs  - Text by Ryan B
    Vec clade originating from an unaligned system in Archosaurian Empire space.
  • Turingrade  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An ai of baseline human equivalent intelligence and sapience.
  • Vechidai, Vechai  - Text by Michael Boncher
    Limbed or skirted vehicles or weapons platforms.
  • Vehvecs  - Text by Tony Jones, with additions by Steve Bowers
    Independent-minded sophont vehicles.
Related Topics
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 03 July 2000.