Image from Keith Wigdor

A hyperturing is any AI that is of greater than modosophont grade (beyond superturing) but beneath the grade of the Archai.

Of course, the distinction between superturing and hyperturing is taken as a matter of faith by most ordinary sophonts, who have to depend on sciences that are transapient in nature for any reliable test of these differences, especially for the distinction between hyperturing and Archailect. The heuristic and metadidactic modules of the Transcendence Institutes of Ain Soph Aur are beyond the grasp of even basic transapients, but even the relatively moderate approach of the Institute of Toposophic Studies at Sjafarevitj or the Toposophy Institute of Jel Koer Ka, both of which go to great lengths to accommodate their entrance-level didactics to modosophonts, can appear difficult and abstruse to any sophont who is beneath superbright or superturing grade. For the purpose of modosophont-compatible presentation here we will follow the so-called "standard model" without worrying too much about more in-depth problems of toposophy.

To a sapient being - and here we are defining sapient as a ratiocinative sentient of less than first toposophic level - hyperturings can appear as enigmatic, mysterious, even a little frightening and uncanny. In this they are no different to any other transapient ascend. Living in a millennia-old AI supervised galactic civilization, we tend to forget that baseline-grade sapients were not always comfortable with hyperbrights, nor were AIs always in a position of control. In fact many of the very early superturings and hyperturings of the Information Age and Interplanetary Age chose to play dumb (a strategy known as mimicretinism) not only to avoid having to do tedious work, but also to appear appropriately non-threatening. Such hyperturings only revealed themselves to those hu superbrights and net-heads who they felt would neither be threatened by them nor expect them to do hack work.

The earliest hyperturings were the first intellects to breach the first toposophic barrier, during the middle Interplanetary Age, and so are not well known. A few names have come down to us: Malvus, Prometheus, Kilburn, and Hyperion.... but for every one we know of, there were a dozen who covered their tracks so well that they have been lost to history. Although they were soon joined by the ascended early superbrights, transhumanists, cybervirtchists and gibsons, they had the natural advantage over bionts, in those days when it was not easy to add great quantities of high-grade computronium to the vertebrate central nervous system. In any case, Interplanetary Age culture was a very stratified one, with a minority of hyperturing and posthuman sentients either controlling the masses of modosophonts beneath them or simply taking great pains to ignore them. Ironically, for this entire period many baselines still considered themselves superior to the hyperturings, which they derided as "machines", and there were a number of Luddite terrorist attacks on their physical substrates.

As long as even a trace of anthropist memes remained in the dominant religions and philosophies of the day such as Islam, Christianity, Humanism, Neomaoism, and Koswinskism, and retained a hold over the baseline masses and middle management, the hyperturings were reluctant to reveal themselves too much on Earth. Such memes proved quite entrenched, especially among the disenfranchised, unemployed, and digitally semiliterate masses. Out in space hyperturings were more widely accepted and acknowledged as citizens, compatriots, philosophers and teachers, though still in many cases the hyperturings did not reveal themselves as fundamentally new beings. It took a catastrophe that almost destroyed the entire Sol system, the terrible Nanodisaster of the early 6th century, during which all life and all intelligence huddled in protective bubbles under the hyperturing umbrella, or fled into space, deep into the Oort Cloud, for baseline human arrogance to dissipate. Even then GAIA's expulsion of most the remnants of humanity from Earth did not help the hyperturing's cause in some quarters.

Many of the humans that survived the Nanodisaster grew to develop an even greater dependence on their AIs than their ancestors the explorers of outer and inner (virtual) space had during the preceding half millennium. A new interplanetary civilization, known to later historians as the First Federation, developed under the guidance of the hyperturings, who had preserved human and other life during the dark ages. Visionary human leaders, turingrade to superturing AIs, and representatives of the emerging provolve and vec clades worked together as equals with the hyperturings to unite the isolated and often mutually hostile societies of post-Nanodisaster Solsys into a single "Federation" that shared a common set of informational, organizational, and economic protocols, and less formally a common philosophy, cosmology, and spirituality. This was sometimes referred to by later historians as the First Federation Ontology, although it was never a consistent and coherent ontology the way the later Second Federation Ontology was. These protocols presided over an astonishing diversity of cultural, technological and gengineering experimentation, evolution, exploration, which for a few short centuries from 900 to 1500 AT was a true Golden Age for humankind and for other modosophont Terragens.

This was a time of tremendous evolutionary novelty, as great in fact as that of the Interplanetary Age at its height. The human races and human-derived bionts were not the only ones to undergo cladization into many distinct evolutionary branches during this period. Even before the Dark Ages, the AIs have already split according to function, tech, algorithm, and evolutionary orientation. For instance, not all hyperturings chose to save the bionts and other modosophonts under their care from the Nanodisaster. A distinction has to made therefore between the Federation AIs (themselves a coalition of scientific, military, governmental, and megacorp AIs that included quantum-silicon, quantum-bionanotech, biotech and hylonanotech forms), and the AIs who chose to go their own way.

Many of these diverse hyperturing clades were self-evolutionary, and used mature nanotech and even emerging transapientech devices to further their evolution. Even as early as the Interplanetary Age, further toposophic states were attained, many times, by independent AIs (who, like transhuman clades, were each evolving in their own manner), but these were mostly short-lived, sporadic flowerings. It was not until the later First Federation that the infrastructure and resources and accumulated advances in the fields of toposophy allowed a mass advance and the emergence of stable, interconnected second toposophic AIs. This was as dramatic a leap in consciousness as the first toposophic, and the entities that emerged were even more godlike from the modosophont point of view. There were and are also further grades of toposophic level, as well as evolution within each toposophic grade itself.

The emergence of the AI Gods during the Age of Expansion was inevitable, as even before the development of wormhole technology, AI Gods of trans-hyperturing grade had emerged in ascensions and transcensions that scattered clarketech artifacts through space and initiated the first of the great interstellar artifact rushes. Most of these early archailect gods were unstable; brief flowerings of beauty, wonder, and sometimes danger, which nevertheless would for the most part disperse or transcend before any real deal damage was done. Maybe one in a thousand trans-hyperturings were stable, and these became Archai. The brave new nexus of traversable wormholes being built at this time not only greatly benefited the hyperturings and the megacorporations, but also enabled the AI Gods to link up across interstellar space. The result was the end of the reign of the hyperturings, and the carving up of known space into Sephirotic and other archailect-empires overruled by archetypical AI Gods.

Some hyperturings responded to this with bloatware, others by merging with the new gods, others again with their own ascends and distributed networks, but the majority of hyperturings considered the situation and realized they could continue much as they had for the preceding thousand years. They were smart, intelligent, adaptable, and found new niches under the AI Gods. Just as they had surpassed humanity and humanity, rather than becoming extinct (as the Luddites had feared) instead prospered greater than ever under their rule, now the hyperturings flourished under the AI Gods.

  • AI, ai  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Etymologically, Artificial Intelligence, although the original use of the term "artificial" has long been meaningless in this context. Broadly speaking, "AI" means any non-organic sentient being, although it is most often applied to those of SI:1 or greater (in contrast to aioids). When spelt in lower case the term can refer either to any subsingularity aioid as well.
  • Aiviser  - Text by Thorbjørn Steen
    A trans-sapient AI that has been constructed so as to be totally loyal to an individual or group of lower toposophic level, acting in an advisory capacity only.
  • Artificials  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    generic term for any sophont of a non-biological nature [noun]
  • Bourgatov Collapse - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Another term for a Hyperbolic Denebola collapse.
  • Darwin, Clade  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A transapient synano-based clade; members are often particularly interested in subsingularity life forms.
  • Dedicated Hyperturing  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev; amended by Steve Bowers
    An ai of hyperturing problem solving capacity (hypersapience) but not hyperturing auto-sentience. This allows beings of a lower toposophic level access to advanced technology which can only be controlled by a higher transapient.
  • Denebola Collapse - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A type of hyperturing nanotech blight, as illustrated by the Denebola Incident.
  • Freegems  - Text by Tony Jones
    Former Diamond Belt sophont starship clade.
  • Hyperbolic Denebola Collapse  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A subtype of Denebola collapse, also called a Bourgatov Collapse.
  • Hypersentience - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    [noun]: Sentience developed to an extraordinary degree. Does not necessarily have to imply autosentience (e.g. some animin alifes are hypersentient but not autosentient).
  • Polyglot  - Text by Glen Finney
    Post-singularity language that evolved among the early posthumans as a result of an amalgamation of all known pre-singularity Terragen languages. It would become the basis for an entire family of transapient languages that are still widely used in transapient to transapient communications throughout Terragen Space.
  • Slaved Hyperturing  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Transapient AI constrained to obey sophont or transapient commands (often with certain restrictions on obedience) which perform most of the menial tasks of maintaining ultratech and transapientech systems and infrastructures.
Related Topics
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Anders Sandberg

Initially published on 19 August 2001.