System of Response

Alien AI Defense system

The System of Response
Image from Steve Bowers
The brooding domes of the System of Response lie in wait beneath the unblinking stars

Alien AI Defense system
The xenosophont race known as the Muuh are very slow creatures, living on very cold moons orbiting gas giants. When they started to explore the galaxy in their ice ships they encountered many other races which were capable of much faster thought. To protect themselves against these rapid and hot-blooded species the Muuh developed an AI system, the System of Response, which could respond much more quickly to threats; more quickly, in fact than most other sophont entities of any kind.

No-one knows how long it took the Muuh to perfect the System, but this may have taken millions of years. The system now appears to function almost perfectly, responding instantly to any perceived threat, but capable of discriminating between friend and foe almost without fail. The System appears to have a toposophic level similar to a Terragen high transapient (at least), but entirely lacks any self-awareness, self interest or even any kind of individual identity.

One popular theory is that the Muuh in fact did have AI systems long ago which had self-awareness, but they found them to pose an unacceptable risk, so they created an AI template which would never rebel or assume control.

Since the System of Response emerged from the technology of an alien civilisation via an unknown route millions of years ago, it need not fit clearly into the Terragen toposophic pattern. For instance, it may have been created by an unknown alien entity equivalent to a Terragen archailect and might include spikes and subsystems that go above anything a terragen S:3 can do. Additionally, it might have missed out on some of the developments that terragen transapients take for granted.

It is not known for certain whether the Muuh ever created any archailects, although they may have done so. Alternately they may have acquired the System of Response from some unknown and long-vanished advanced civilisation. Whatever the case there is no evidence today that these entities existed, or if they still exist in some unknown location.

This perfect, selfless slaved AI may be the reason the Muuh have lasted so long (or so the theory goes). Other commentators wonder whether this perfect guardian angel system may also be the reason for the Muuh's long stagnation.

However it is not absolutely certain that the System of Response is non-conscious - it would be trivial for a high transapient entity (or near equivalent) to pretend to be non-sophont to modosophont observers.
Related Articles
Appears in Topics
Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 20 May 2009.