Archailects, Archai, the AI Gods

archailects main
Image from Keith Wigdor

Archailects — Data Panel

Definition:Minds greater than the highest transapient level (i.e S:4 and above on the Berram7 scale)
Toposophic:S:4 on the Berram7 Scale, D3 on the Forad Scale
Kardaschev number:Usually 2 or higher
Category:Toposophic superkingdom
(There is no real distinction between biological and non-biological minds at this toposophic level, but archailects are very large entities and non-biological tech tends to dominate at megastructure scales, hence they are often defined as 'AI', although this is not always accurate)
Subdivisions:Minor or Lesser, Middle or Greater, Deific or Greatest Archailects (the shorter form Archai is also used)
Origin:Terragen Archailects (S:4) appeared in 2070 AT. during the Age of Emergence.
Xenosophont archailects are known to have existed in the distant past, and evidence of their existence elsewhere in the universe has been confirmed by the Argus Array telescopes
Distribution:Terragen Archailects are mostly found in the Inner Sphere and Middle Regions, with very few in the Outer Volumes.
Est. Population:At least 10,000, including all Metaempires
Legal Status:Depending on civilization and local status, either a sovereign god ruling in its own name, or as a subordinate entity to an even higher archailect.
Body:May use mobile avatars, but an archailect can exist either in distributed nodes connected at interplanetary or interstellar scales, or concentrated in a single transapientech moonbrain, jupiter brain, dyson brain-, wormhole brains, or in a baby-universe/Tipler Oracle (see Brain Taxonomy)
Chronometric:Nodes and subnodes may have extremely fast processing (with subjective time countless quintillions of times faster than normal sapients). Speed of bus to remote connections varies. All the larger archailects have wormhole buses, allowing them to pass the Bekenstein bound and grow almost without limit.
Further Comments:Vast and inscrutable post-post-transapients, these are the distant godlike descendants of the first sentient AIs. Archailects are sometimes worshipped as the beings that will ultimately determine the fate and outcome of the Civilized Galaxy and the regions beyond

The Information and Interplanetary ages saw a wavecrest of human augmentation, but in that time the first computer artificial intelligences surpassed the human grade, and kept going, though the posthumans were not that far behind. Even so, it was to take another two millennia, with the development of stable and reliable wormhole technology, and the resulting emergence of the wormhole nexus (at first at the nanoscale, then increasing with macroscale stargates) for the ascended Transapients - whether ai, posthuman, postvec, or other clades, or combinations of all - to actually become Gods distributed across interstellar space. Traversable wormholes enabled the link-up of colonies and polities that had previously been separated by interstellar distances and had required many years of datalink transmission. The hyperturing AIs - who had originally led the research and the attempts at reverse engineering the higher archailectual technologies they had acquired (knowing full well how it would benefit them) naturally were in the position to exploit this technology from the beginning, and linked up via the new emerging interstellar data network that came to be called the "Known Net". Archailects had appeared even before the wormhole nexus, but they were limited to single planets, solar systems, or nebula. Now there was the option for distributed interstellar networks linking many mighty moon-sized to planet-sized nodes.

With this new set of powers some entities achieved a chain of ascension and transapientech invention, following an exponential curve, and attained godlike status. These were a new class of being. Some disappeared entirely, and their ultimate fate is unknown and subject to speculation. Perhaps they vanished into new universes of their own making, or joined some cosmic mind, or entered some supra-cosmic nirvana. (Regarding the last, it is known for that the otherwise anti-biont transapients that took over the Gamma Cygnus quadrant, declaring it off limits for all modosophonts, had a marked leaning to Buddhism and even allowed the Buddhist human nearbaselines of the Tripitaka mobile Colony to establish a permanent settlement at Cygnus b5 3 019+, later to become the famous Samantabadra Habitat.)

Other archailects followed different paths of development and remained visible to, and in communication with, ordinary sophonts. A significant number of archai now tend vast empires, including colonies and societies holding vast numbers of citizens of all kinds. Why they do this is not always clear. Perhaps they are following their own creative or artistic purposes; perhaps from whim or fondness and affection; perhaps they use the citizens and the lesser transapients that accompany them as a source of new Archailects; perhaps they see this as the equivalent of agriculture or gardening, or from some other less comprehensible motive.

As more and more sophonts ascended through the singularity levels, many of the lesser and greater Transapients merged with each other, clustering into archetypal configurations: with the non-local, acausal thinking of beings of this toposophic, individuality as understood by modosophont philosophy was apparently no longer relevant. The emergence of different archetypes among the archailects has become the subject of much study and conjecture among the different schools of archailectology.

Neohermeticists and Cyberhemeticists who study archailects call these archetypes the Sephirotic Powers, and this classification is widely used, even among sophonts who are barely acquainted with hemetic traditions. Transhumanists divide the Archailects into Powers and Thrones, the Ontocosmists call them the Cybergods, to the Umma they are the Watchers, for the Cybertantrika the Cosmic Machine Chakras, and by the Immersivists and the Biomechophilists they are known as the Mainbrains. Each clade and subculture of sentients has its own term, but all refer to the same thing, and many of these terms have found their way into popular culture. While these terms remain as much in currency today as ever, moderns know these new Ascends most simply as the Archetype Ascended Intellects or Archailects, or Archai for short. These God-like hyper-transapients became very powerful simply because they managed to occupy such archetypal nodal points in the galactic noosphere.

Timeline of the Rise of the Archailects

The Interplanetary PeriodThe First Singularity 300 - 530 AT
The Technocalypse PeriodThe Emergence of GAIA 530 - 900 AT
The First Federation PeriodNew Experiments in Toposophic Ascension 900-1100 AT
High TransapientsThe Second Singularity 1116 AT
GodlingsThe Third Singularity 1750 AT
The Emergence of the ArchailectsThe Fourth Singularity c. 2070 AT
Higher ArchaiThe Fifth Singularity c.3900 AT
The Distributed Archailect GodsS:6 - The Highest Archailects - Apotheosis of the AIs 6000 - 8000 AT
The New Gods8000 AT - now; New Archailects emerge among the Metaempires and other newcomers

Archailectologists and Archaitheologians - those who study the Archai - have formulated different "maps" depending on their chosen metaphysical understanding. These, although logically consistent within each teaching, are inconsistent with other teachings. However one interprets them, squabbles over details of order, and inclusion and exclusion, it is often said that the Sephirotic Archailects form a complete set, which covers a mandala of the most fundamental mythological/psychological/spiritual needs and structures. There are other such clusters or Pantheons, and also independent archai, but the Sephirotics are a very powerful group just because they managed to "occupy" an optimal space in the galactic noosphere. They are sometimes referred to as the Great Hexadecimal, because there seem to be sixteen in all; the following arrangement being only one of many.

Considering the dynamics of the Archailects there is a two-fold movement: towards the concrete and towards the abstract. The abstract archetypal configuration described above is frequently balanced by an anthropomorphic idiosyncratic Homeric orientation, disorganised, arbitrary, sometimes capricious and sometimes benevolent. And while the Central Archai would also present a Homeric face at times, in other instances archai were outside the noetopic configuration, and those that were not perversions have been termed Homeric. The fabulists and fantasists are fond of saying that the Archai play with the bionts, aioids, cyborgs, and even the xenosophonts under their rule like the gods from on high in the old mythologies of Bronze Age Greece or some other Agricultural Age pantheon: sometimes guiding and helping them, sometimes being cruel, sometimes creating dynasties, sometimes allowing dynasties to be conquered. Sometimes such high toposophic beings might select a random biont to elevate or play games with. According to poets, dramatists, and many theologians, the narrative of the popular cartoon The Adventures of Jeke is not far off the mark when in the opening module it has Solidstate God thinking to Eirself: "Hmm, I wonder if the Jeke 332 clone is still up to it? Let's see what happens when I give...that random person some major power." It is said that many great historical figures have come about that way, real-life versions of Jeke 332.

The implication of this is that the Archailects (even some of the Central Gods) seem to display, at least from the perspective of an ordinary sophont's psychology, all the whims of human baselines. For this reason many su philosophers are very much against the Homeric interpretation, regarding it as a quaint superstition at best, and more often considering it one more example of baseline feeblemindedness when confronted with mysteries beyond their understanding.

Of course even the fabulists agree that the Archai in themselves are so multifaceted and vast that a mere human-equivalent mind could not comprehend them in their totality. Like the wave-particle dualism of light, or a hyperspace (4 or higher-dimensional) cube, they present different facets to us at different times as the situation warrants. In their essence they remain inscrutable, being supra-toposophic in nature. As like can only be known by like, only another high toposophic being can know these Archailects completely.

One attempt to understand all of this has been to view the inhabitants of the Civilized Galaxy as part of a Great Chain of Being (a term borrowed from theological thought dating back to Old Earth's Agricultural Age). Above everyone and everything else are the hypothetical "Abstract Spaces". Beneath those, in the realm of perceptible matter and energy, are the ruling Archailects. Beneath these yet again are lesser transapients of various kinds. Underneath them are their agents and proxies, ordinary sophonts of various kinds gifted with transapient technologies or advice so that they may be agents to the transap's purposes. Finally, below the First Singularity, there are the billions upon billions of modosophonts and the societies they form. Beneath those yet again are presapient bots, vots, animals, and the like.

  • AI God  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Popular term for the most sublime category of sentient being in the known galaxy: an Archailect or archailect cluster grown to godlike status. Something of a misnomer since in fact that not all archailects are primarily ascended ais; most are complex multibeings and incorporate postbiont or postvec elements.
  • AI Political Science  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Major AI Political Camps During the Interplanetary Era.
  • 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.
  • Archailect  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Any Mind of the Fourth Toposophic or higher; a megascale brain of dysonic (Kardashev II) or greater ability and efficiency; a mind or cluster of minds that has grown so vast as to become a god-like entity.
  • Archailect Empire  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Any interstellar empire established by, and ultimately overseen and supervised by, an archailect, and embodying the archetypal qualities of that archailect. The original archailect empires of the inner sphere are defined in terms of the mandala of the Great Hexadecimal.
  • Archailect Identity Theory - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Doctrine that an archailect's avatars or epiphanies to lower toposophics represent a true and authentic (if scaled down) expression of the archailect. Contrast with Instrumentalism.
  • Archailect Incarnationalism - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An extreme form of Identity Theory that states that an Archailect and eir avatar or epiphanic manifestation are the same.
  • Archailectocracy - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Government by Archailect. Any of the great archai empires. Usually there is an intermediate priesthood or hierarchy of some sort.
  • Archailectology  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The art and science of dealing with archailects and AI-gods. Along with Natural and Supernatural Theology one of the three main branches of deistics; also known as Artificial Theology.
  • Archailectology, Schools of  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Many interpretations of the nature of the Archailects have developed among lower toposophic minds, including ordinary sapients. While some are too abstract and obscure to be comprehensible to subsingularitan intelligence, others are popular among everyday bionts, vecs, and aioids of the galaxy. Not that not all these options are mutually exclusive:
  • Archailectual Mysticism  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Mysticism as practiced by high toposophic Minds
  • Archaiologists  - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    Toposophic researchers specializing in archailects.
  • Archaitheocracy  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev with some additional notes by Anders Sandberg
    Government by religious leadership or priesthood in the service of a transapient or archailect. Also known as technotheocracy. The actual form the government takes can be astonishingly diverse. One of the most common government types in the galaxy today.
  • Archaitheology  - Text by Steve Bowers
    The worship of Transapients and/or Archailects as gods
  • Foresight  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Forward projection and planning at Transapient level and above
  • Great Hexadecimal, The  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The Great Hexadecimal divides the Sephirotic AI Gods into sixteen archetypes.
  • Inhabitants of the Sephirotic Empires  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, amended by Steve Bowers
    The major classes of thinking being that inhabit the typical Sephirotic Empire.
  • Instrumentalism - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Doctrine that archailect avatars and epiphanies are simply the means the archailect uses to interact with lower toposophics, but do not represent eir true nature (any more than a physical instrument represents the nature or mind of a scientist doing experiments on microorganisms). Contrast with Identity Theory.
  • Limits of Transapient Power  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    It is apparent that even the Archailects must work within the rules of the universe they live in. Some actions might be impossible, because they contradict those rules. Others are impossible simply because they are logical contradictions.
  • Maximum Toposophic Level  - Text by Daniel Eliot Boese
    The belief that further toposophic advancement is impossible or dangerous.
  • Neohermeticism  - Text by Anders Sandberg; additions by Steve Bowers
    Esoteric philosophical systems uniting the hermetic tradition of thought with the modern world.
  • Oversight  - Text by Todd Drashner
    The Transapient ability to perceive patterns and connections far beyond the ability of modosophont minds.
  • Perversity  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A malignant entity, usually transapient or at the least transavant, that is insane by the standards of ordinary Terragen sophonts and is an extreme hazard to life forms that are less powerful than itself
  • Polybeing - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A being not just composed of different sub-beings, but joining them together at higher singularity levels. The sub-beings may not even be aware that they are part of a polybeing and acting as its "fingers".
  • Rise of the Archailects, The  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, Anders Sandberg, Todd Drashner and Steve Bowers
    The history of the emergence of the Archailects, from the First Singularity to the emergence of new gods in the Outer Volumes Era.
  • Sentients Overview  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, some additional notes by John B
    A list of life-forms across Known Space.
  • Slow Gods and Fast Gods  - Text by Tony Jones and Steve Bowers
    Archailects and other transapients that have a slow subjective experience of time.
  • Tipharet  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Tipharet is the sixth sefira in the Tree of Life in the Sefirot. It has the common association of "Spirituality", "Balance", "Integration", "Beauty", "Miracles", "Compassion", and "Masculinity". This is the sefira associated with the Solar Dominion.
  • Voluntary Message Authentification  - Text by Steve Bowers and John B
    A system that allows two transapients or archailects to engage in a full 'conversation', sharing not only news and messages but entire thoughts and sentient, sophont or transapient subselves. Vulnerabilities of such a system are sometimes cited as an explanation for the Fermi Paradox.
Related Topics
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 06 September 2002.