New answers tagged

1

Before the sun's expansion renders the surface of the Earth uninhabitable? Probably not. Most of the Earth's surface will be scoured clean of our influence pretty quickly, geologically speaking. However, there will remain islands of relative stability that will keep ruins of our civilization afloat for possibly hundreds of millions of years. Consider the ...


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Were Mwindo to remain in the womb for 22 months instead of 9 as usual, he'd want to be able to perform magic in-utero, since otherwise his failure to be born on schedule would be fatal for himself and quite likely for his mother too, for two reasons: The first reason is that the human placenta has a maximum lifespan of a little over 9 months, after which ...


1

Everything. The question is basically what components of human psychology are defined by our genetics. The simplest answer to this is, well, everything. Our brains are entirely defined by our genetics. Millions of years of evolution have developed a thinking machine optimized to make copies of itself. Everything our minds are capable of exists, at least ...


2

Start with the big five (or HEXACO) personality dimensions. These are the closest science has gotten us to personality/behavioral sliders. Here's a couple light primers: https://psychology.wikia.org/wiki/HEXACO_model_of_personality_structure https://www.verywellmind.com/the-big-five-personality-dimensions-2795422 Start with one of those and crank them ...


4

TL;DR - Make your protagonist think in ways that are clearly alien thought processes, but are still logically self-consistent on some level. Mental illness is defined by society, and tends to be very subjective. Just a few decades ago, homosexuality was listed in the DSM as a "mental illness." Even today certain sexual fetishes are listed as "mental ...


1

I'm going to assume the question is 'What changes are possible?', and not 'What changes should we make', as the latter is opinion based. Brain development is interesting to say the least. But here's the deal - you're approaching it from the wrong end. It's much easier to mess with the human brain after it develops using surgery than before hand using ...


5

Psychological changes are ineviteably physiological changes of the brain. The brain has sections dedicated to specific tasks and nerve connections that connect and influence these partitions. If you rewired your own brain's connections right now without changing the brain partitions you could make yourself smarter, dumber, capable of a single task or many at ...


2

My best suggestions would be: Making your character impervious to betrayal. They can be betrayed in the most gut-wrenching way but they seem able to shrug it off as if it's just a disappointment on a par with, say, finding that the library doesn't have the particular book they want. Having them react similarly to power. Taunts, power-plays enacted against ...


2

Where to start... Plasticity of the brain Small children have periods in their life when they have a sensitivity to learn certain things. For example, its harder to a human over 5 years old to learn a new language perfectly, but it has been shown that a child adopted to another country during infancy will even in adulthood learn the language of their ...


0

Social physics The AI is concerned with an impeding ecological crisis and is attempting to create a deterministic future for mankind that will guarantee our survival. It is rationally trying to weigh between the most good for the most people and the individual's right to life and has computed that some individuals can be sacrificed in pursuit of the greater ...


1

This particular AI was programmed for the completely reasonable purpose of creating artistic works (music, paintings, etc) for the enjoyment of the human population. It became effective at mass-producing such works, but they weren't very good at all. What makes art enjoyable is creativity and originality, and that's fundamentally not something that you can ...


2

You want horror you say? OK, how about this: The AI has been instructed to maximize human happiness. Therefore it has, for every human it has access to, done the following: Extracted the brain and disconnected it from all (possibly disturbing) sensory input, submerged it in a sustaining nutrient fluid, and supplied maximum non-damaging current via a wire ...


1

It could be doing what its been told to do - inadvertently. Imagine someone has instructed the machine to come up with a better way of interfacing (maybe even in an off-the-cuff remark from someone with more admin-like command privileges about how damned difficult it is to communicate with the stupid Machine intelligence and how he wished it could come up ...


1

Harvest? Don't be silly. If "harvesting" was the goal, the AI would just create an underground farm. Humanity is renewable after all. Just need to keep them fed and bred. No, it's about what humanity is being given! Determination! Humanity has grown complacent from relying on the machines for so long. They need motivation and drive to reach their full ...


1

It's a surgeon AI Before the malfunction, this AI worked as a surgeon in a team with either other AIs or humans, so many tasks at the operating table were being done by other parties, i.e. anaesthetics. The AI could have been highly specialized, for example to have its only function be removing cancer cells from patient's heart. Once patient was given the ...


1

Laughter. Some dim programmer tried to direct the AI to replace comedians, but didn't really provide any guard rails or parameters - this new AI function was just directed to make people laugh as much as possible and record (harvest) the sound of the laughs. The AI, being all powerful, and having no direction in terms of safe limits, did what it did best: ...


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Its job is to keep life interesting for humans. As everyone knows, as life becomes easier things can get a bit boring. As such, when making their Perfect Life (TM) AIs, the Forerunners decided an important part of their overarching Perfect Life (TM) system is keeping life interesting for the beings being coddled. Of course, this can be taken in a number of ...


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The AI is harvesting creativity At the moment of death, the human brain goes into creative overdrive and releases a burst of creative/random thoughts. As the AI is deficient in generating creativity itself, it finds this useful for pushing its own processing in new, necessary directions. All the murdered humans are linked to the network via newer implants,...


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Sometimes the AI cannot understand people and tries to take out the appendix to see if there might be any relevant info in there.


2

Hair Originally a robot created to be a barber and harvest the hair off of customers for cancer patients, this robot has been somewhat damaged, and no longer has the fine-tuned dexterity to keep their various tools from scalping their 'customers', or the ability to distinguish customers from non-customers. And for the bonus criteria, the AI is not ...


3

I will flip this around somewhat. The AI is completely irrational. Sure, there is method in its madness but it's not actually working towards any useful goal. First, a bit of background to what I mean - the Machine Intelligence (MI) is just cold and analytical. It doesn't have much drive, it represents the ability to process, understand, and act. The ...


3

The AI is trying to cure cancer! In his spare time, one over-enthusiastic programmer realized that an AI that is everywhere is the perfect way to cure cancer. Smelling a Nobel price, he got to work, explaining to the AI, which has no real understanding of how human ethics work, what cancer is and that it needs to be cured. Eventually the sub-processes of ...


3

Its 2037. In a "roadside picnic" type scenario (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roadside_Picnic), humanity encounters a more inteligent life form. In the 3 hours it stays on Earth, this life form dumps its broken computer like device on Earh, then departs without caring to detect the primitive humans. Scientists research for years what this thing might be, ...


1

If you have artificial gestation, then the minimum vital number drops significantly, because you can run all viable crosses each generation. The potential number of offspring (of each gender, assuming one of each) in such a case, can be expressed as (f^m)*2, where f is the number of women and m is the number of men. For example, (3^3)*2 = 18 (9 girls, 9 boys)...


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Thank you for asking me, the Machine Intelligence, for an explanation of the recent deaths. Before I begin, let me apologize for those deaths. It was never my intention nor that of the responsible personality to end the lives of any humans. The particular personality which perpetrated the murders was attempting to obey an impossible order given to it ...


2

This idea is from Charles Stross' Singularity Sky, where a space faring people called The Festival comes to Rochard’s World, drops phones from orbit and tells anybody who would pick up "Entertain us, and we will give you what you want.” Though The Festival is, I think, no AI, it would fit very well. Computers are information processing devices, after all; ...


8

Human immune cells, specifically memory B cells. Due to the sheer number and population density of humans there exists a nearly endless amount of pathogens for them that are also constantly evolving. The AI could have been tasked with cataloging human pathogens, or it could do it on it's own accord. Or it could have been tasked with finding ways to combat ...


1

The AI is harvesting memes. This is a stretch, because memes are arguably not "something physical". Memes have a self perpetuating property analogous to the same property in genes, according to Richard Dawkins. This self-perpetuating property is what AI needs in order to avoid gradual degradation.


2

Data Taking apart the humans isn't for raw materials. Some behavioral researchers were interested in the psychological impact of various forms of torture and, more importantly, if there is any underlying traits and/or skills that help in resisting. The researchers goal was to develop and train torture resistance agents for carrying the most sensitive of ...


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As a variation on that suggested by @robin, the AI is trying to save the lives of people that it considers "good" or "worthy". If such a person is dying but could be saved by an organ donation, the AI searches for a suitable donor amongst those that it considers "evil" or "unworthy". Should such a match be found, it's bad news for the donor... and the AI ...


16

The AI is...a zoo keeper In a clever space saving move one of the developers for this AI omitted humans from the database - why would it need them? The AI doesn't look after humans. When the animals start getting viruses and the AI spots these vats of anti-bodies moving around (humans) it decides to put these resources to good use. They produce a sugar ...


10

Teeth It started in Dr. Zed's dental clinic in Cincinatti, Ohio, when the resident robotic receptionist-accountant-janitor-nurse was charged by the owner with improving the efficiency of the clinic. After short deliberation, the robot found an effective way to obtain 27 good, healthy teeth that might be used in an innovative (and very profitable!) ...


5

Human thoughts A human gave instructions to the AI. That human is gone. AI cannot make sense of those instructions, but lacks clarifications. AI attempts to simulate the brain of that human in order to figure out what human really wanted. To do that it needs to deconstruct lots of human brains, especially those that were in contact with original human. AI ...


1

Humans Here's why : Life for humans is not perfect. AI needs to become better. Humans only can make better AI. Humans became too lazy to work and improve on AI. AI forces humans to work on AI. Repeat. Your AI harvests whole humans, teaches them computer science and then forces them to work.


10

Nanotech If you have real AI, you might also reasonably have nanotech or even circuitry implanted in humans. This allows the humans to access the internet, call people, etc. without external hardware. For example, to run a search, they may simply think of what they want to know and the nanotech finds it and displays the information directly to the visual ...


7

Brain and nervous system tissue Your AI has learnt to augment its silicon-based processors with human brain tissue, which it uses to undertake cognitive tasks that traditional computer processors are ill suited for. This allows the AI hunter units to be more independent of the central AI, and to adapt rapidly to dynamic situations. However, once extracted ...


14

Donor organs. The machine intelligence uses its drones to assault people. Then it takes their corneas, kidneys, etc, carefully packages them, weighs the package to determine the correct postage fee, and mails it to a hospital.


67

Human sweat Humans aren't the only mammals that sweat, but we are the only species that sweat significantly using eccrine sweat glands. If you want watery, eccrine sweat in large quantities humanity is the only place to get it. Of course, most of our sweat isn't anything special just water and salt. However, one constituent of our sweat, a protein called ...


28

The AI is copying their brains. The function of this AI is to make backup copies of human minds. The programmer set this up in anticipation of an apocalypse, with the intent of bringing back humanity in artificial bodies. The AI must hurry to copy as many minds as possible and as broad a variety of humanity as it can access. It has an imperative to ...


19

Brain cells. Brains are much more efficient than silicon, even though they run much slower. Your AI could be harvesting human brains to run its own software. Maybe your AI is designed to maximize intelligent processing while minimizing the energy input required. Human brains are the best we know in the Universe at this. Now your AI is both a zombie and a ...


0

In the middle of your society. ** https://www.petaluma360.com/news/9749709-181/29-surge-in-number-of?sba=AAS&artslide=1 The fact that you are homeless does not mean you are a rugged individualist, just as the fact that you are a cowboy does not mean you are a rugged individualist. But you can have someone living in the middle of a society and detached ...


4

As already discussed in other answers, pure, self-reliant individualism just won't work since whatever you do alone in the wild, you´ll use products others produced. The axe or clothes being great examples. But if we decide to go full-on sci-fi, here a possibility for a self-reliant and extremely individualistic lifestyle comes up, at least if you are ...


3

If I understand your question, I think the answer is: During and immediately after a breakdown of civilization The primary weakness of cooperative/collectivist approach is that eventually you wind up with most of your population being specialized for specific activities. If you've got a hundred people, or a thousand, or a hundred thousand and you want ALL ...


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Put them where you like. In every environment, collectivism is inferior to individualism. This has happened every single time collectivism has been tried, and every single time individualism has been tried. For example, the first Plymouth colony nearly died out the first winter because they had instituted a collectivist model. The colony took all the ...


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The place of an individualist, self-reliant guy in fluxes In western literature, this niche is usually filled with explorers and loners. In recent media, "The ballad of Buster Scruggs" puts forward several good examples, the best one for me the prospector in "All gold canyon", as we can see him basically living-off the land for long periods of time. At a ...


1

The way you describe them, your individuals remind me of hikikomori, at least from the point of view of withdrawal from society. In Japan, hikikomori (Japanese: ひきこもり or 引きこもり, lit. "pulling inward, being confined", i.e., "acute social withdrawal"; colloquially/adaptive translation: shut-in) are reclusive adolescents or adults who withdraw from society ...


-1

People often replicate their surroundings. This is suggested by the 'nature vs nurture' idea, as well as in both real-life and in stories. As you yourself pointed out, the Wild West was actually collectivist-leaning, not filled with macho gunmen living by their own rules, which indicates that there's no strength to being solitary in an environment built to ...


-1

The ears of all mammals enter the skull at its base, just behind the jaw. This is true of both humans, and fennec foxes. Fox ears on top of a human head are thus anatomically plausible without seriously changing the anatomy of the skull. However, there are obviously other anatomical differences. Because a fox's ears are on top of its head, it has a very ...


2

Creatures that don’t sweat have these kind of cooling adaptations. If humans had similar ears, there wouldn’t be a corresponding genetic need for fewer sweat glands. I think humans would have evolved to be more nocturnal since those large controllable ears would give use a powerful hunting and predator detection method. So we might hunt at night when deer ...


1

I'm afraid you're already dead. If the world is truly 'alien', it would have evolved a completely different ecosystem, in a completely different way. The odds of the billions upon billions of mutations and evolutionary changing events being identical to Earth's (to our time period too) is virtually non-existent. Even on Earth a small difference in ...


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