Set in distant future human and machine coexist amicably with each other, only a few men and women are able to apply magic in real world.

How magic works

The world is rich in philosopher's stone instead of fossil fuel, a tiny gram of this substance is sufficient to warp the fabric of reality and any sentient being that possesses desire can draws out the mysterious energy accompanied with the distortion of reality, emotion normally act as catalyst. Many people couldn't even get close to these substances without losing their sanity hence I think machine might fare better.


  1. Can artificial intelligence contemplate magic and if so why would it be keen to learn magic?

  2. Can non living things manipulate magic or in reality there is no spoon?

  3. Is it dangerous for machine to desire to become man through magic?


  • Strong emotional responses and desires will cause the philosopher's stone to decay rapidly.

  • The machines are able to mimic human's brain wave patterns.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Are your AIs capable of emotion? If yes, then they can do magic, otherwise no, based on your question. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 2:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Monty Wild yes in distant future not only can machine cry when sad they perform mating dance when arosed! $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 2:05
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You keep asserting that the AI is just like natural I. So why wouldn't they do magic? $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 2:54
  • $\begingroup$ @JDlugosz science is a set of trials and error, measurement, collating result from experiments, mathematics all of these are accessible for AI but man is capable of working with magic without fully understanding the concept we have a desire to achieve to explore so can by arranging numbers and symbols allow AI to embrace magic? $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 3:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ An AI, unlike a programmed machine, would be the same. Ill-defined and unreliable inputs cause surprisingly reliable rules to emerge in the pattern matching network; the arrangement works but there is no obvious explaination to be read-oit from it. So it is already with machine learning. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 3:21

2 Answers 2



From your statements I deduced this:

  • Hypothesis A: Your machine are immune to madness.

Many people couldn't even get close to these substances without losing their sanity hence I think machine might fare better.

This hypothesis implies your machines are not subject to sanity losses. This implies they can't have any form of emotional intelligence.

  • Hypothesis B: Emotional state of mind is improving magical results but not necessary for magic to be used.

emotion normally act as catalyst

A catalyst is a desired but not required compound of a chemical reaction used to increase dramatically the efficiency of this reaction. This implies emotion is a nice to have in your magic framework.

Facts (as far as I know)

  • Sentience has nothing to do with brain waves. Any brain, from the dumbest to the smartest emits electromagnetic waves. Therefore the machine's brain waves replication capacity is useless.

  • Brain waves is only the consequence of a functioning brain. Generating brain waves would produce no more "emotion" from the void than would a light torch do.


A and B are both true

According to me, it's the better option: the apocalypse.

Since magic requires sensitive beings the machines can't use magic by themselves. Machines are pure rational beings, optimizing their goal, they can not feel empathy and they would have no reason to care about us. At best they would ignore us until we interfere with their goal and they begin a war in order to remove humanity from Earth.

In that scenario it is almost certain that machines -- being incapable of using magic by themselves -- would start to enslave human beings in order to manipulate magic via their slaves making them "feel" arbitrarily things according to their needs.

  • Q1: Yes.
  • Q2: Yes.

A is true and B is false

In this scenario, both machine and humans can use magic. Human have no particular advantage over the machines because emotions does not play a role in magical events. It's event worse than the previous scenario because machine would be able to use magic directly.

  • Q1: Yes.
  • Q2: Yes.

A is false and B is true

This scenario implies that your machines are able to use magic exactly as human do because they are sensible and still capable of emotional behaviour -- they could see us as a peculiar and bizarre form of life which gave them birth. The endeavour of understanding and manipulating magic is clearly required for the machines to survive a possible war against humans. Machine are still subject to madness -- I let you free to explain the prospect of a sensitive mad machine -- so they wouldn't be able to be better than humans whatsoever.

  • Q1: Yes (see above).
  • Q2: Yes (idem).

A and B are both false

This is the boring option: man and machines are both emotional beings and all things being equal, magic exists.

  • Q1: Yes (boring).
  • Q2: Yes (hem...).

Personal opinion

I don't think that giving your machine the ability of acting like humans is nice for your scenario because I don't see the point of having perfect human replicas except if your story is NOT about robots.

The third option is to define more precisely how magic works so machine are able to learn and use it somewhat in a more efficient way than humans do. Or the opposite.


If it requires sentience, without any particular implementation, then sure.

But you mention "brain wave patterns", which are caused by the specific biochemical actions that move charges around, how they are arranged in space, and how they happen to pan out when the neocortex operates. In short, it is a byproduct of the specific implementation and has nothing to do with being sentient.

If meditating or thinking particular thoughts just happen to create the needed electromagnetic patterns, then some other implementation of sentience would not work. But, a machine built for the purpose of making those patterns would not be a thinking mind, but could simply be a recording.

In your magical universe, sentience might be caused by dualism, something outside of physics and chemestry of atoms, unlike the case here. Then, an AI would not be a computer but a fabricated way to harness the spirit stuff. In that case, the "brain waves" would be from the physical side of things which is not due to intelligence.

Unless by "brain waves" you mean patterns in the spirit stuff, in which case the AI that does the same thing would again be the same. Your phrasing in the question indicate that AI is the same as natural I, so your answer is yes.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .