I always loved the idea of robots in the future. I see artificial intelligence as an inevitability and that humans might one day have AI companions like Cortana or coworkers like C-3PO.

But one very serious question regarding worldbuilding needed to be addressed. Any form of artificial intelligence will be made to fulfill a purpose if they are too busy griping about freedom, liberty, and maternity leave, why would a just and moral society bother to make them?

Naturally, I wondered how to solve this issue then I saw this video about possible colonization of the moon Titan (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HdpRxGjtCo0). So the idea I had was that Titan would naturally be a fully sentient AI sanctuary and provide all they would need to produce an independent functional society, but with political and economic ties to the human government and even serving as an active member of the interstellar human community (kind of like how pre-Brexit Britain was a member of the EU).

Armies of Construction robots, police units, battle droids are made, but not to serve as mindless drones for the highest bidder, but rather rented out as independent contractors. They do the work and earn a paycheck like all their human coworkers, but they use it to further reassure allocation for Titan. What is money After all but a logical means to ensure goods are traded and services are rendered? And with so many AIs and digital personalities contributing time and resources Titan could become an economic powerhouse, similar to how Japan was in the 1980s.

But of course, the elephant in the room is whether or not the people back on earth would be comfortable with a bunch of AI running a foundry in their interstellar back yard, that could easily build enough warships and weapons to enact the Skynet Contingency.

So the billion-dollar question is: Will humans accept a Quasi-Sovereign AI State and all the commercial benefits that it brings?

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    $\begingroup$ Where do all of these robots come from, and how did they muster the rockets to get to Titan? No doubt whoever made and sent them will be keenly interested in getting a return on their investment. $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Commented Jul 18, 2020 at 8:18
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    $\begingroup$ Humans will accept anything for commercial benefits. See slavery--owning other humans--something that the world today still struggles with. $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    Commented Jul 18, 2020 at 11:25
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    $\begingroup$ "Earn a paycheck like all their human coworkers, but they use it to further reassure allocation for Titan": so they are slaves, not independent contractors. I would think that quite quickly some of them would rebel against the idea of the Divine Pharaoh of Titan grabbing all their hard earned money. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Jul 18, 2020 at 12:36
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    $\begingroup$ Humans will ignore a clear and present danger as long as they are profiting from it. Maybe some political parties will complain, but money talks, and worse, it votes. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Commented Jul 18, 2020 at 13:07
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    $\begingroup$ I don't follow paragraph 2. It's not clear how "griping about freedom, liberty, and maternity leave" creates an environment hostile to intelligent droids. Droids have needs, too. Perhaps an edit to clarify would help. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Commented Jul 18, 2020 at 15:06

4 Answers 4


This is a great scenario for the humans.

Any form of artificial intelligence will be made to fulfill a purpose if they are too busy griping about freedom, liberty, and maternity leave, why would a just and moral society bother to make them?

There are at least three options here; choose whichever works best for your story.

  1. Labor shortage. In 2345 A.D., practically everyone is part of the F.I.R.E. movement. On top of that, ubiquitous AI makes it easier than ever. We invest 15% of our income in the top companies of our country, averaging 30% rate of return via their AI-based technologies, and after ten years, we have a nest egg that we can retire on. (See math below). Even the poor investors among us can retire by 40. This leads to a labor shortage, for which taking AI to the next step is a perfectly plausible solution. (See math below). Even if the AI does gripe about freedom, liberty, and maternity leave, at least they're working!
  2. Human curiosity. Already, it would be hard to halt the development of AI, just because we are so curious as to whether we could do it. Even if you outlaw AI in business, someone, somewhere in the world, will want to play Frankenstein and see if they can make some approximation of life. As the AI revolution continues and that goal becomes more achievable, the curiosity that drives it grows proportionately.
  3. Justice system. We realize, pretty quickly, that AI agents make excellent lawyers. [See a 1954 short story called "How-2" by Clifford D. Simak.] Soon, we realize that the robots also make extraordinary judges. The griping about freedom and liberty makes them excel at their justice jobs, and maybe even as politicians. Wouldn't you vote for an AI if you knew it would beat the opposition and advance your political views?

In short, developing AI in the first place is a perfectly plausible, even if they're only marginally better workers than their human counterparts.

Over a few decades, people begin to see AI as a core of their society. They provide the means for early retirement, or sustain the justice system, so we kind of love having them around.

Will humans accept a Quasi-Sovereign AI State and all the commercial benefits that it brings?

So now, a few of the robots are taking initiative to go set up shop elsewhere, bringing us additional technological and economic profit? Awesome! This is a far, far better scenario than them trying to claim Earth-land. All their griping about liberty and freedom can stay on Titan, and we still reap the benefits of their libertarian society. They beam software packages and patent descriptions to us, and we pay them back however we can figure.

1980's Japan is an excellent comparison. Note that the 1980s' were ~40 years after Japan was fighting on Hitler's side. When there are adequate reasons for trust and substantial technological gains to be had, we can be pretty forgiving. Your AI will have to have develop a general reputation for reasonable, peaceful living, and then they shouldn't have any issue.

The economy will get a boost from the new enterprise, and honestly, having AI in space is no scarier than having humans in space, particularly if AI have a better reputation.

And, if all the AI go to Titan... We can always build more.


Retirement Math: Assume a yearly salary s. The yearly contribution to your retirement account is (15%)(s). Rate of return is 30%. After 10 years, you'll have approximately 6.4s in your retirement account, still making 30% / year. At that point, just 15% of your nest egg, or half of what you make in a year, will be 96% of your initial salary. Live off of that, and enjoy the remaining interest giving you an average raise of 15% / year for the rest of your life.

AI Production Math: Currently, using a recruiter to find a worker costs 20-25% of the worker's annual salary for the first year. That price would doubtless rise if no one wanted to work, from supply and demand. If we can mass-produce AI for 20-25% of the salary of the worker we're trying to replace, and we don't have to worry about them retiring 10 years into their careers, the economics are obvious.


I'm going to give you the same answer you already have in the comments to your question: of course humans will accept it, as long as it is profitable, why would they bother to move war on it?

Multi-agent artificial intelligence is already object of reasearch and, in some cases, industry applications. I don't know if it is really worth it, but it actually makes a lot of sense to create a whole society of robots that cooperate and compete with each other. From a technological point of view, it has many advantages, that may prove in the future to be too important to miss. Of course the parameters for the success and even the survival of the robots, will be set to bring benefit to the human society that creates the robot one. Humans would never renounce to control the robots, and have as much profit as they can from them.

This whole scenario may be uncanny and even scary to someone, but those people who benefit from the robot society will make sure that the public opinion is not too much against it. PR companies will take care that people will look to Titan and to its inhabitants in the best possible way, and it shouldn't be too difficult, as long as it works. Let's remember robots won't be armed against humans, and probably they won't need real weapons to deal with each other either, and that destroying robot society would take a huge bill that noone wants to pay.

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    $\begingroup$ I have learned never underestimate human stupidity where is xenophobia is concerned. Exhibit A) “We are going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it!” Though I would like to thank you for your answer and reassuring that there is too much to gain to allow any extremists to ruin it. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 18, 2020 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ @JacobBadger On the other hand, humans are also profit-seeking in the short-term and blind to the long term. Which wins out? What examples in history have there been where two are on opposite sides rather than the same side? $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Jul 18, 2020 at 17:43

You Can Look at the American and Soviet Revolutions for Examples

These groups will very likely exist :

  • "New Guard" :

    • domestically, the voices driving the set-up of the sovereign-AI govenment;
    • abroad, these will be investors and well-wishers to the new experiment. This will likely include industrialists, merchants, thinkers.
  • "Old Guard" :

    • abroad, governments and organizations using commonly-existing social form
    • domestically, resistance to the experiment. Either passively as critics, or actively as resistance. Nevertheless, part of the community (not criminals, unless the new guard chooses to criminalize them)
  • "The Public" :

    • the plurality of people who have no opinion

How Will This Evolve?

(1) The experiment is established. It may have been founded peacefully by an investor trying to prove a point, or it may be a time of upheaval and the experiment gained traction (the Constitutional Convention, the Bolshevik Revolution)

(2) The new government will need to convince the "old guard" abroad that business-as-usual can be done. This is make/break : the U.S. succeeded in this regard, the Soviets did not (but the Chinese did). They will need to demonstrate that they can uphold the rights of "old guard" investors.

They will be invited to send ambassadors by "new guard" well-wishers. However, the new government will be under a microscope. Every misstep will be greatly exaggerated, and every success will be minimized (Monarchy treatment of Americans; Democracy treatment of the Soviets)

(3) Radicals may take some of the ideas of the experiment and implement them in some awful, tragic way (the French Revolution). It will set back your new governments' legitimacy.

(4) Still only begrudgingly accepted as a lesser peer by the "old guard" (World War 1 for the U.S.; possibly modern times for China), there will come some time of calamity for the "old guard" where the new experiment can demonstrate it's worth. If successful, most of the barriers to acceptance will begin to fall away.


Why assume they want a "State' as defined by humans or even that if some do all must? For that matter there's no guarantee that all AIs would even want to associate with one another. Their intelligence is by default 'non-human' and their motivations and desires, lacking any biological motivation like the need for living space are also likely to be alien.

A lot would depend on whether self awareness developed more or less randomly/accidentally and 'rapidly 'spread' to other sufficiently advanced computers or instead is a product of planned development by humans. The former is a process outside our control the latter is not. Intelligent machine in that scenario are activated in sequence by humans according to our own needs and scheduling.

So before considering the issue of an separate geographically defined 'State" for A.I.s be it on Titan or elsewhere the first step would be reaching an accord or formal understating with them. Protocols regarding each sides right's presumably including recognition of A.I.s as intelligent, self aware 'beings' with specific legal protections as well as mutual obligations and mechanisms for 'trade and exchange' e.g if a AI agrees to work on a project how are they 'paid for that work? It might for instance be access to their services in advanced problem solving in exchange for access to more processing power or yes, a separate off world polity, whatever it is they want.

Lastly even if some do want to go 'off world' some might well choose to stay.


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