The Far Havens:
Eugenia Developments Synthetic Soldiers
In the fourth of our monthly Mindscape Updates, Paul Mitchener brings us another article of Far Havens material, in the Outer Worlds beyond the Commonality Frontier.
One of the most dangerous things Eugenia Developments have been involved in is the experimental creation of non-Asimov synthetics, designed as soldiers subservient to the will of a designated master, but without any respect for human life, or the commands of other people. The very concept is not just illegal throughout the Far Havens, but anathema to all right-thinking people there. Nonetheless, there are those who would pay dearly for such a weapon.
This is not even the worst thing that they have done, however. The Asimov Protocols are not just hard-baked into synthetics. Present day synthetic intelligences are the result of over a thousand years of evolution, all based upon earlier designs using the Asimov Protocols. Any attempt to create a new form of synthetic intelligence would be unable to use previous knowledge. Synthetics from the Commonality, based on eidolons, are different again, but these intelligences would be hard to command.
Eugenia Developments looked elsewhere for the basis of their new synthetic soldiers. Specifically, towards the Lupines, biomechanical monstrosities of the world of Balar. The Lupines have a form of alien intelligence, especially as a group. Their overriding concern appears to be attacking human life and constructions, though they can take their time and make use of strategy. This instinctive hatred is something Eugenia Developments found perfect for use in a weapon, an artificial intelligence designed for war.
The new synthetic soldiers appear superficially human, though they have interiors of flesh and plastic rather than flesh and blood. Their artificial brains are based on the rules controlling Lupines along with control mechanisms, (making them receptive to commands of their designated master), an emergency override “sleep” command, and a device to control their innate desire to kill all people — though this last can also (dangerously) be overrode for some extreme combat uses.
Critics, if there were any who knew of the existence of the synthetic soldiers, would certainly say these control mechanisms are inadequate. Eugenia Developments has created something hugely dangerous. Fortunately, the synthetic soldiers would still be repulsive to the majority of Far Havens citizens, and so far there are but a few dozen in existence, still being secretly trialled.