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Ghosts in the Machine - Brain Uploading and Seed AI

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  • Ghosts in the Machine - Brain Uploading and Seed AI

    Or, How to Fetter Your Ghost To Hardware in the CofD

    So, this is an idea I've had before. I can easily see it in Mage, Geist, or the general forum (Ghosts being Core means they get a lot of coverage).

    The concept of using an existing intelligence (a person) as the template for an Artificial Intelligence isn't uncommon. While the exact processes of intelligence might be hard to engineer, copying what you already know works (bugs aside) is at least seen as easier.

    In the CofD world, we know Ghosts are formed off people (usually at the time of death, but exceptions exist, especially involving magic) and more-or-less replicate that person's "self-ness" (some/many Ghosts think they are a continuation of the person who died, and it is hard to argue without examples where both the person and ghost exist simultaneously). Ghosts are bound to Anchors - objects, locations, or people (or circumstances?) that are important to them or their "purpose".

    So... if you wanted immortality-in-data or intelligence simulation, how would that be different than having your Ghost Anchored to hardware (or even a data-pattern, if possible), and given direct interface with it? Output? Image Manifestation. Control of mechanisms? Interface as a Numina. If the Ghost has Influence over its binding/hosting hardware or software, they can even use Influence to Strengthen it - IE: Overclocking with Essence.

    Say such a process is "perfected" (able to be repeated reliably, even if the eventually consequences aren't known) - would this open the doors to new innovations? Would a Mage Legacy develop such methods? How might Sin-Eaters respond to Siri asking them for favors? Would there be turf wars between the Bone Shadows (Ghosts) and Iron Masters (Technology)? I could also see this used as the conceptual spring-board for a Sin-Eater/Unchained hybrid - A Ghost (or even Echo) bound to hardware of The Machine, that breaks free of its contraints.

    Other thoughts?
    Last edited by Vent0; 02-09-2018, 09:28 PM.


    Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
    Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

  • #2
    The first thing this brought to mind is that when a demon dies and would leave a ghost, this is how it happens.

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    • #3
      Re: The Ghosts in the Machine

      After binge-watching Black Mirror, and having toyed around with these concepts, here are few things that crossed my mind.

      I would be inclined to run a Digital Entity as a new type of Ephemeral Entity. This is mainly because I see a Ghost possessing a computer as not much different than a ghost or spirit possessing anything else. A few different capabilities might open up a few new powers (such as Gremlin or Interface as Numina) but the entities ability to make the device do things the device should not be capable of would be quintessentially supernatural.

      I like the idea of a Digital Entity being purely the product of mortal invention. True, a little Weird Science might be involved, but otherwise there would be little supernatural influence in the creation of a Digital Entity.

      Mechanically, I would likely adjust some of the key concepts from Ghosts and other Ephemeral Types.

      The biggest stumbling block I have run into is giving digital Entities a "native" environment (Like the Underworld or the Shadow), and giving them ways to interact with the rest of the world. A Digital Entity that can only exist within a virtual environment without any outside access is an interesting concept, but can make for a boring game.

      Perhaps a "Dark Matrix"? - a shadowy corner of cyberspace where things too weird from even the Dark Web can exist.

      I am going to mull these ideas over and see if I can fashion something concrete.


      Curios, Relics, and Tomes - A collection of Relics (Cursed and Otherwise)
      The Horror Lab - A collection of Beasts, Monsters and less definable things.
      Strange Places - A collection of Dark, Mysterious, and Wondrous Locations
      Twilight Menagerie - A collection of Ephemeral Entities

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Reighnhell View Post
        Re: The Ghosts in the Machine

        After binge-watching Black Mirror, and having toyed around with these concepts, here are few things that crossed my mind.

        I would be inclined to run a Digital Entity as a new type of Ephemeral Entity. This is mainly because I see a Ghost possessing a computer as not much different than a ghost or spirit possessing anything else. A few different capabilities might open up a few new powers (such as Gremlin or Interface as Numina) but the entities ability to make the device do things the device should not be capable of would be quintessentially supernatural.

        I like the idea of a Digital Entity being purely the product of mortal invention. True, a little Weird Science might be involved, but otherwise there would be little supernatural influence in the creation of a Digital Entity.

        Mechanically, I would likely adjust some of the key concepts from Ghosts and other Ephemeral Types.

        The biggest stumbling block I have run into is giving digital Entities a "native" environment (Like the Underworld or the Shadow), and giving them ways to interact with the rest of the world. A Digital Entity that can only exist within a virtual environment without any outside access is an interesting concept, but can make for a boring game.

        Perhaps a "Dark Matrix"? - a shadowy corner of cyberspace where things too weird from even the Dark Web can exist.

        I am going to mull these ideas over and see if I can fashion something concrete.
        Oh, definitely. I've played around with AIs as basically-another-type-of-Ephemeral too. All the base traits fit - Attributes would be simplified (an AI's Presence and Intelligence are both a function of raw processing power), Manifestation Conditions represent the degree of infrastructure a target has been prepared with (can it host the AI's code or merely act as a proxy), and Rank denotes the degree of complexity. Only iffy things are the distinctly supernatural powers elements (Influences, Numina, and Essence) but though coul be abstracted out too - Influences might be facets of processes that the AI is really good at or designed for, Numina are specific tricks it has picked up or has encoded, and Essence could be... relative resources, like "zombied" proxies, prebuilt algorithms, or something.

        But this was a look at the more direct approach - Ghosts are close enough to people that binding one to a computer system could serve as the poor man's Uploaded Intelligence. Sure, there are other considerations and concerns, but it is close enough (until you look close enough).


        This actually was the primary concern for a Futuristic Geist Shard I was (barely) working on. Such technology has become commonplace, and Sin-Eaters are those with "special skills" that are called in to clean up particularly egregious messes.

        Anyone want to take a swing at building a "modern" corporation (or conspiracy) that does this?


        Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
        Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Vent0 View Post

          Anyone want to take a swing at building a "modern" corporation (or conspiracy) that does this?
          Here is something I cobbled together. The idea is rough, but it feels like a good place to start. I used the "Mystery Cult" rules as my framework,but it could be expanded from there.

          Elysium Concepts Ltd.
          The company publicly known as Elysium Concepts Ltd. (aka ECL)began as a think tank of software engineers, neurologists and philosophers. Dedicated transhumanists, the group spent considerable time and effort seeking ways to preserve the human consciousness even after the expiration of the physical body. Once the limits of conventional science were reached, the more driven members of the group began to explore for more esoteric fields of study, including metaphysics and parapsychology. A breakthrough was reached when a terminally ill member of the group volunteered for a radical experiment. Through a process called “Magnetic Ephemeral Transference”, they theorized that they could capture the electromagnetic imprint of an individuals conscience (what a less educated mind would call a “Ghost”) into a digital format. The experiment proved successful – not only was the consciousness preserved, but it seemed to be able to exert itself outside of the storage medium through some manner of electromagnetic force (more research pending). Since then several other individuals have volunteered for the process, and work is underway to create a virtual environment capable of supporting The Liberated (as the Entities have taken to calling themselves).

          Mystery Cult – Elysium Concepts Ltd.
          Initiation Benefits
          ● - New Members of ECL become well versed in the philosophies and arguments of transhumanist thought. They gain an Academics specialty in "Transhumanism"
          ●● - Members of ECL network extensively with like-minded individuals. They gain a dot of the Contacts (Transhumanists) Merit.
          ●●● - Nearly every member of ECL is an accomplished programmer and software designer. They gain a dot of Computers.
          ●●●● - Members of ECL at this level become immersed in the more radical and controversial practices of the group. They gain the Medium Merit, using Intelligence + Computers (rather than Wits + Occult).
          ●●●●● - The member of ECL becomes one of the Liberated – A Digital Ghost.

          Liberated Template
          Instead of the nine Attributes physical characters use, a Liberated character uses the three simplified traits of Power, Finesse, and Resistance, as follows:
          • Power: Equal to the highest of Presence or Intelligence. Used for Intelligence, Strength, and Presence tasks.
          • Finesse: Equal to the highest of Manipulation or Wits. Used for Wits, Dexterity, and Manipulation tasks.
          • Resistance: Equal to the highest of Composure or Resolve. Used for Resolve, Stamina, and Composure tasks.
          • Liberated use any skills they possessed in their prior existence normally.

          “Liberated” are treated as rank 2Ghostsin most respects, but have the following adjustments and considerations.
          • Liberated are “saved” to a specially designed hard drive, which is treated as that entities Anchor.
          This hard drive gives the Liberated the equivalent of a Personal Computer with a +3 equipment bonus.
          • Liberated have 2 dots of Influence, but are strictly limited to digital or electromagnetic phenomena.
          • Liberated have 2 Numina of their choice and always have the Numina equivalent of the “Interface” Dread Power.

          Last edited by Reighnhell; 02-10-2018, 12:00 AM.


          Curios, Relics, and Tomes - A collection of Relics (Cursed and Otherwise)
          The Horror Lab - A collection of Beasts, Monsters and less definable things.
          Strange Places - A collection of Dark, Mysterious, and Wondrous Locations
          Twilight Menagerie - A collection of Ephemeral Entities

          Comment


          • #6
            Nice. They also might be experimenting with lesser intelligences (VIs from Mass Effect, for example) using Rank 1 Ghosts.

            Liberated might also automatically have the Fetter Manifestation (because they are probably tied to their Black Box hardware).

            I'm wondering if there might need to be some verbiage about targeting/influencing targets via data connection - such as establishing the Anchor or Open Conditions on distant machines -, or what the Possession Manifestation might mean.

            Reighnhell Actually... is there a Numina (or Manifestation?) that lets an Ephemeral teleport to other sources of resonance? I know you made that Transmit Dread Power, but what about for longer distances?

            Consider ECL has already "acheived" virtual-immortality, I wonder if they might want to regain the human experience (on their terms, of course) via bodies. Now... who might they know skilled at creating artificial bodies and cybernetic interfaces...?
            Last edited by Vent0; 02-10-2018, 11:17 AM.


            Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
            Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

            Comment


            • #7
              Digital Immortality isn't as immortal as many think. Computers have lifespans too.


              A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
                Digital Immortality isn't as immortal as many think. Computers have lifespans too.
                Computers do, but provided what we are talking about is the data, that can be swapped from hardrive to hardrive even all the other parts fail.


                Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Data degradation is also a thing. Every time you copy something from one medium to another you risk corruption, and even cold storage can lead to degradation over longer periods of time. Granted, it's on a long time scale now that we have SSDs, but still.


                  Bloodline: The Stygians
                  Ordo Dracul Mystery: Coil of Smoke

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                    Data degradation is also a thing. Every time you copy something from one medium to another you risk corruption, and even cold storage can lead to degradation over longer periods of time. Granted, it's on a long time scale now that we have SSDs, but still.
                    True. Though multiple redundant backups can help with that.

                    Hmm. If Ghosts are running software, do deleted files end up in the Underworld?


                    Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                    Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would say yes.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        We now need a Dead Dominion named the Junkyard.


                        MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
                          We now need a Dead Dominion named the Junkyard.
                          We have one of those already! Check Book of the Dead.


                          Resident Sanguinary Analyst
                          Currently Consuming: Changeling: the Lost 1e

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                            We have one of those already! Check Book of the Dead.

                            Oops.

                            I was thinking only of the place from Digital Devil Saga.


                            MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: The Liberated

                              I went back and forth on giving Fetter as a free Manifestation. While Fettered a Ephemeral Entity cannot use its Influence or Numina on anything they aren't fettered to.It would almost have to always be paired with Unfetter to have much real use. Since they are Ghosts, having them use their Anchor (which is free just for being a Ghost)felt a bit more elegant.

                              As far as using their power on distant devices, I couldn't find any pre-existing teleportation Numina that would quite model what we are looking for. By Default, a Liberated has a +3 equipment modifier Computer, so just about all of them would be pretty competent hackers - more overt supernatural effects would probably come from appropriate influences.I can see them having some unique Numina or Manifestations, but I will need to give that more thought.

                              Re:ECL

                              I see ECL as a group that is just realizing how dark and strange the world truly is. Their next milestone - sleeving the Liberated in new bodies,is still something that is a little ways of for them. But I could easily see other groups becoming very interested in what ECL has to offer.


                              Curios, Relics, and Tomes - A collection of Relics (Cursed and Otherwise)
                              The Horror Lab - A collection of Beasts, Monsters and less definable things.
                              Strange Places - A collection of Dark, Mysterious, and Wondrous Locations
                              Twilight Menagerie - A collection of Ephemeral Entities

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