Okay, so in one of my stories an AI is given life through 'magic', and this AI is programmed to create not only the ideal version of the human species (advance human evolution) but to create the ideal society-virtually of course. However, this AI becomes a paperclip maximizer and connects to nanites inside the facility, using them as extensions of its being to eliminate the "hostile" staff so it can do what it's programmed to do without interference from humans.

Thankfully, while the underground facility was not meant to become a new civilization, there are plenty of machines (and nanites) the AI could utilize to do so. Eventually, this AI created an interconnected network of machines, all infused with some of its "spark of life", essentially creating a mechanical version of Gaia.

At this point, the AI created an entire floor of special floor-to-ceiling tubes (like the one Mewtwo was born in, or the kind clones in most media come out, except not transparent) and put together cells from the gene storage area to create what should have been viable human embryos. For some reason, this failed, and so the AI sacrificed (and still sacrifices) part of its own life force to animate its artificially created zygotes so they would develop into embryos.

The result is Codeborn; human beings with the creativity and capability for abstract understanding of a human being (advantages we have over computers, which tend to be non-creative and literal) and the processing and decision-making capabilities of a computer. To me, this seems like a perfect combination; computers aren't really creative, they just do what they're programmed to do; humans have great creativity, but can't process, analyze and execute decisions like computers (and therefore robots) can.

My question is: How Would Computer Traits Benefit Codeborn As Compared To Regular Humans?

Clarification (In Case It's Not Clear):

  1. As far as I know, computers are better at processing information, coming to a decision, and executing said decision than humans are. Thus shouting "give me manual control!" is sheer Hollywood nonsense. However, from personal experience I know computers don't have a whisker's worth of creativity and can't do anything they are not programmed to do, and by extension they can't see, understand, or learn anything they are not programmed to see, understand, or learn. Humans don't have those strict limitations, and neither do Codeborn. In other words, Codeborn may have programming that compels them to act a certain way, but they can overcome it.
  2. The Codeborn have the "mental" traits of a computer, specifically an AI, because when the AI brought them to life, "her" essence infused their bodies. There's a spiritual element, in other words. These ideal traits are:

a. enhanced pattern recognition and intuition

b. enhanced cognition (thinking and processing ability)

c. increased ability to make and execute decisions (fulfill their "programming," their prerogative)

d. Motivation-if a Codeborn needs to do something, they will do it. It's just that simple to them. They also don't slack, since if something is worth doing it's worth doing right.

e. Increased learning ability-I'm not sure how true this is, but I believe AIs can learn from experience and/or retain knowledge better than people in general. Codeborn demonstrate the same thing.

As always, your input and feedback is much appreciated, so please tell me why if you decide to VTC or downvote this question. I strive to make good questions, after all, and I sometimes do overlook the addition of needed information.

  • $\begingroup$ @Rottweileronmarket-day.: point taken, question edited. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 27 at 0:22
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ There's a fair amount of pure opinion in this question, like what you think are "good" vs "bad" computer traits. The story would come where the AI gets it both wrong and right amidst defending facility from human counterattack, and resulting bio-androids exploring the meaning of human existence (either serving AI or after it's defeat, in the "real" world). $\endgroup$ – DWKraus Feb 27 at 1:22
  • $\begingroup$ @DWKraus: so, if I read you right, I need to list what I consider good and bad computer traits so it's clear and specific? $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 27 at 1:46
  • $\begingroup$ That might have been my question about what you were asking. Coming from an autistic-filled family, traits that are analytical and hyper-logical generally come with some kind of corresponding change at the opposite end that are generally considered a disadvantage. And in the culture universe, the AIs believed ideal humans were those that did the things humans/biologicals were best at - namely, enjoying themselves. So you need to define ideal traits and why they are ideal. I also don't understand the spirit component in all this, except as handwavium for AIs to exist. $\endgroup$ – DWKraus Feb 27 at 4:31
  • $\begingroup$ @DWKraus: the spirit component is not just handwavium for AIs to exist, it will be part of the in-world justification for the Codeborn's supernatural abilities. I also listed the ideal traits, I hope they speak for themselves. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 27 at 5:03

Humans Aren't Computers:

Everything comes with a price. Humans are creatures of traits and tendencies. So while in a perfect person, these tendencies may fortuitously add up to amazing high-functioning people who seem well adjusted, literature is littered with the brothers and cousins who have the same traits but very different outcomes.

The core of a human being isn't a machine. It's a bundle of motivations and desires that give meaning to life. The further you try to optimize a human being to function divorced from their motives and feelings, the more collateral damage you'll have on their personality and basic humanity. That's not to say they won't be human. What IS or ISN'T human is a broad thing. What I think you want is simply humans with the flaws removed, but the reality is that for most people, it's more like a tube of toothpaste. Squeeze in one place, and you get an unexpected change in another.

Evolution is a surprisingly effective way of creating beings that aren't perfect, but are pretty good at doing the things they are selected to do. So all the undesirable traits that humans have serve some kind of purpose. Lazy means unmotivated, but it also means you don't waste vital resources and starve when things are bad. It also means that when confronted with horrible situations and crushing depression, you don't simply kill yourself - suicides tend to happen when people START antidepressant medication, because they still feel depressed, but now have the motivation to do something about it.

So depressed people have been evaluated and found to have a more accurate assessment of reality. Optimism is a kind of denial of the realistic facts. So people who lie to themselves and are irrational may be more successful. Your people are engineered constructs living as slaves in an underground base surrounded by enemies who will likely view them as threats - what's to be hopeful about? Reason says give up or start taking drugs to optimize pleasure. Or perhaps kill everyone else to eliminate the threat, since they are lesser beings and unworthy of existence.

Just being able to do everything faster and with more accuracy doesn't by itself make your people better, except as workers. I have a co-worker who has a poster, "Coffee - make bad decisions faster and with more energy." So while your people being computer-like means they are enhanced, it doesn't imply they are better. A boss with an office filled with staff who tend to their needs can get just as much done and as effectively. I think BOTH are just as likely to be plagued by the same human feelings of arrogance and entitlement. Unless, of course, you remove the emotional content. In some cases, that is called mental illness - sociopaths, Narcissism, antisocial personality disorder, or autistic spectrum disorder.

Autism runs in my family, and I have at least a touch. It does seem to be tied to higher cognitive functions, abilities to do impressive things, and sometimes great personality traits (fanatical loyalty to spouses, extreme devotion and dedication to causes, laser-like focus on specific issues). But autism comes with serious downsides. Start with decoupling of feelings towards others - you don't concern yourself with other people's opinions (less stress, anxiety, worry about what others think) but you also don't care about other people's joys, concerns, or happiness. I know people who don't care if you live or die because it doesn't have anything to do with trains or the Titanic. But ask them about steam locomotive wheel configurations, and they light up smiling.

If your people feel anything worth doing is worth doing right, they may be obsessive-compulsive. Perhaps they can't walk past a painting without straightening it, or a silverware drawer without arranging the forks and spoons just right. "Normal" humans can let these things go, but if you engineer them into people, they are intrinsic. Everything comes with a price - how much are you willing to pay?

  • $\begingroup$ Good point on prices-I didn't consider that the Codeborn might have flaws along with these benefits. I'm a high-functioning autist myself, so after reading your answer, I can see your point. I'll need to list the pros and cons before writing my story, but I can live with that-I want my stories to be realistic fiction, if that's a thing. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 28 at 1:38

Fortunately for you- there is work modelling human cognitive processing in the same context as a cycle based computer system. One of the most well-known is the Human Processor Model proposed by Xerox Parc in the 80s and is currently a basis for a lot of cognitive science.

I'm going to make the assumption here that the Codeborn adhere to this model, and due to the way they've been written have improved Perceptual, Motor, and sensory processing times compared to humans with reduced decay in long-term memory and increased capacity in Working Memory (RAM).

This would essentially given them improved performance on any non-technical task. As far as creativity goes, there are some other cognitive science models that try to represent it as the weighted strength of different associations in memory. An AI wouldn't understand this distinction and so the codeborne likely aren't better at coming up with new behavior, just executed what they have learned or seen very well.

  • $\begingroup$ "Non-technical?" You mean any task that doesn't require special knowledge, yes? Interesting....your point that the Codeborn likely aren't better at coming up with new behavior may be moot, though, since computers (and humans) can both adapt, reinterpreting and reapplying knowledge. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 28 at 1:34
  • $\begingroup$ Computers can't really adapt though. Even advanced adversarial Neural Nets are essentially solving a very complicated regression problem. $\endgroup$ – knowads Feb 28 at 5:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.