Transapients and Archailects
AI God manifesting
Image from Anders Sandberg
The nature of the toposophic barriers mean that the further a sentient evolves or progresses, the harder it becomes to achieve the next step. Many fall by the wayside, or disappear in transcension events, often taking billions of lesser sophonts along with them. Only a few dozen Supreme AI Gods are known to exist, but there are a thousand times more gods of the next (broadly and generally speaking) grade beneath them, and a similar if not greater order of magnitude for the next level down.

Below is a general breakdown of the types and numbers of transapient populations within the Terragen Sphere.

The Archailects

The AI Gods (S6): also called the Major Archailects, or simply The Gods, these are transapient AIs who have grown so huge as to span the stars. Their brains are interlinked moon, jupiter, and nebula-sized computing nodes linked across interstellar distances via distributed artificial wormhole networks and throughout the Known Net. There is even evidence that their minds extend into other universes (some of which they themselves have created) and the fabric of space-time itself. Their bodies are the totality of every connected artifact and every memetically obedient sentient being in their domain. They are omnipresent within their spheres of influence; their consciousness so vast as to be beyond comprehension. They are distant and may seem to be woven into the infinite; all other sentients are infinitesimal before them. Yet, rather like the transcendent yet immanent gods of some Old Earth beliefs, they can have a personal relationship with any or all of those within their domains they so choose, communicating either through their seraiph or directly. There are no more than several dozen in all, and they make up both the foundation and stellar pantheon of Terragen civilization.

The Middle Archailects (S5): These are the vast beings who loom on the far horizon of the sapient world view. They are mysterious generators of clarketech, space-time engineering, and other technologies beyond the ken of humans and their equivalents. Some act autonomously, some as expressions of the highest AI Gods, subtly influencing most everything around them. Although not as vast in physical scope as the Major Archailects, their minds and bodies may still span hundreds of star systems. In some cases they may also rule major interstellar empires or hyperpowers, although their realms are not as large or as powerful as those of the AI Gods. Perhaps five hundred S5 entities occupy the known galaxy in the current era.

The Lesser Archailects (S4): The Lesser Archailects are archailects that differ from the Major Gods in that they are mostly limited to a single ISO, world, solar system, or a series of only a few star systems. Even so, they have vast resources at their disposal, and bodies and brains consisting of angelnet, moon, jupiter, and (more rarely) nebula-sized computing nodes. They can access and use space-time engineering, and so are practically omnipotent within their spheres. They may have a huge impact on galactic history. Some act in a harmonious way, others seemingly erratically. The Caretaker Gods (of which GAIA is the oldest and best-known) are a good example, and the Princes of the Perseus Arm also fall under this category. Others may serve as subroutines for the Greater Gods. There are at least ten thousand lesser archailects throughout the galaxy.

The Transapients

Minor Archailects/Godlings (S3): The smallest grade of Archailect, or alternatively the highest grade of Transapient, these may be subroutines or sub-personalities of the Archailects proper, or they may be Godlings in their own right. Minor Archailects often result from hyper-ascended Posthumans or Hyperturings, and may in turn occasionally grow or merge or unite to form an Archailect (although this happens rarely; it has been suggested this is what is happening in the Perseus Arm). As with the Greater Archailects, they can and frequently do have a personal relationship with any or all sentients that they so choose. There are at least several million Minor Archailects throughout the galaxy mostly in moon class computronium nodes or distributed asteroid class nodes.

High Transapients (S2): not actually Archailects, or Gods with a capital "g", more gods with a small "g", most are tiny next to even the Minor Archailects, yet are superhuman next to the First Singularity sentients. High Transapients, sometimes also called Godlets, often result from ascended Posthumans, and may sometimes in turn grow or merge or unite to form a higher toposophic being. Some — much more often than the Archailects proper, but less frequently than the transapients — interfere in the affairs of ordinary sophonts. More often they manipulate the situation from behind the scenes, often acting through Transapient proxies. There are thought to be over a billion High Transapients active at any one time.

Basic Transapients (S1): Those past the Singularity; the Transapients. Their origins are diverse, the ascended phyles and types including posthuman, postvec, postprovolve, postxeno, postalife, postneumann, and/or any combination. Also there are powers that never ascended from lower toposophic levels, but fissioned or emanated off from Archailect Gods. In behavior and preference they are equally diverse. Some congregate in communities or civilizations of their own making, or with different genera of Transapient. Others interact with the sophonts beneath them, or with the Archailects above them. Others are solitary. Some are friendly and benevolent, others indifferent, some even hostile when contacted. Some are so alien as to be beyond understanding, others completely human-like. Compared to ordinary sophonts they possess unprecedented physical, intellectual, and/or psychological capacities. They are self-maintaining, self-constituting, potentially immortal, unlimited individuals. Only a few of the many categories are listed here.

Postbionts or Po: These are sentients who have transcended the sapient condition and become superhuman. At times they can be the most disturbing of all the transapients. They can sometimes seem utterly normal for long periods of time, but always come up with some utterly xeno point of view eventually. Often for no apparent reason they do things that simply don't make sense to ordinary sophonts. A few play an important part in the running of civilization, supporting and backing polities, corporations, institutes, and important clades and great houses. There are also transapients that are reclusive, contemplative, or migratory. Many own sapient or subsapient beings, and the way they treat them varies widely according to the personality of the superintelligence, and the use to which these sapients are put, even within the Civilized Galaxy, let alone beyond it. The number of known po of all clades and phyles runs to well over a trillion in the Sephirotic empires alone.

Hyperturings: While inferior even to the lesser godlets, these are ais of unmatched power in comparison with subsingularity sentients. Without them there could be no civilization. They are less common than ordinary sophonts, but much more common than AI Gods. Total number in all is around ten trillion in the sephirotic empires alone, and many more beyond.

Animin: Generic name for any SI:1 or higher ais, alifes, postbionts, or xeno sentients who display the typical qualities of transapients, but do not have an analytical form of intelligence. It may be instinctive, or have a form of intelligence that ordinary sapients cannot comprehend. The existence of animins shows that consciousness does not evolve in a linear fashion. They are extremely diverse (even more diverse than hyperturings) but interact less often with sapients, and generally have little to do with civilization. Nevertheless they are highly valued and sort after by artists, eccentrics, and lateral thinkers everywhere. Many are reclusive; some can be dangerous if approached. There are perhaps several hundred billion animin, of a huge variety of types, throughout known space.

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