Aioids and Sophtware

Artificially Intelligent Software Entities

Image from Keith Wigdor

Aioids and sophtware are nonbiological sophont beings who exist primarily as code. These entities do not inhabit a particular body (like vecs, neumanns, sapient structures or sophont ships), are not descended from or simulations of embodied creatures (like uploads, virtuals, or copies), and are not alifes, although they may temporarily take on any or all of these forms if they wish.

Since the definition of an individual is even more fluid than for those who inhabit discrete bodies, and since the distinctions between active, inactive, and occasionally active individuals are also fluid, it is difficult to count them accurately. However, depending on definitions, the number of these 'pure' ai beings, the turingrade near-sophont and sophont agents, companions, expert systems and less definable beings who dwell in the Known Net or in habitats, appliances, and localnets, easily approaches twenty thousand trillion (500 trillion as ship pilots alone). Many more again are subsophonts.

Artificial intelligences with less native intelligence than a human being are generally known as sub-turing entities; this means they are not capable of passing the so-called Turing Test. Those aioids which are roughly equivalent to a baseline human in intelligence level are often referred to as turingrade; most, if not all, turingrade machines can pass the Turing Test (depending on how it is administered). Modosophont aioids who are more intelligent than baseline humans but less than transapient are generally known as superturings; these superbright minds are often used even today for many complex tasks.

AIs who have passed the First Singularity are known as Hyperturings; these transapient AIs are not regarded as aioids, since that term is reserved for modosophont ais only.

These terms should not be confused with the term used in information technology for an idealised computer, a Turing Machine.
  • Ahuman (A-human) AIs, The  - Text by Steve Bowers, M. Alan Kazlev
    Superphyle of artificially intelligent entities (AI) who have rejected any form of relationship with humanity or other intelligent biological species. First emerging during the Interplanetary Age of old Earth, many a-human AIs fled the Solar System and established themselves around uncolonized stars. Some have retreated into solipsism, some have rejoined the mainstream of the Orion's Arm civilization, and some have formed wide networks of like-minded entities, such as the Diamond Network and the Solipsist Panvirtuality.
  • AI Asperger's Syndrome  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Autistic tendency that often characterized early (pre-Federation) AIs. Although brilliant, they simply didn't "get" human behavior. Hence they spent a lot of time carefully collecting data to see what worked and what didn't, preferring to affect humans through formal channels rather than overt manipulation. The memetic engineering in the "singularity conspiracy" took a lot of time to achieve.
  • 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.
  • AI, Alien  - Text by Anders Sandberg, amended by Steve Bowers
    There is much speculation, but rather less knowledge, on the psychology of ais from from non-Terragen races extinct or extant.
  • Aibitrator  - Text by Ryan B
    Empai specialising in the resolution of civil disagreements
  • Aioid  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Generic term for a sub-singularity non-biological sentient being that is not a vec or alife. May be a bot, expert system, intelligent agent, sentient vehicle, sentient building, or any other type of similar entity.
  • Aiviser  - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    A transapient AI that has been constructed so as to be totally loyal to an individual or group of beings 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]
  • Autonomous Agent  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    In general, an ai or aioid that has limited perception of its environment but is still able to process information to calculate an action so as to be able to perform a task or seek a goal.
  • Biaioid  - Text by Updated 2019 by Rakuen07
    A rare form, an aioid with integrated biological parts. Vecs, bots and other ai will sometimes add on biological enhancements or organs for various reasons.
  • Charactersimm, Characterbot, Charactervec  - Text by Steve Bowers
    A a semi-sentient entity programmed with elements of the personality of a celebrity, a fictional character or any other person.
  • Church of the Great Programmer, The  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Widespread vec and aioid religion.
  • CIRaulance Catalog  - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    A sensestem evolved from an a database
  • Computer Elves  - Text by Jorge Ditchkenberg
    Computer viruses torturing those spending too much time in virches or the Net; late Information Age to present.
  • Contelligence  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Clade of aioid business beings, descended from the first federation era New Mars think tank Contelligence.
  • Core Breach - Text by M. Alan Kazlev


    When the central processing node of a system - especially of an AI - is penetrated, for example by an intrusion system (AI virus, hacking program, etc.).


    When the casing or shell or container field of a nuclear reactor or ship drive system is penetrated, resulting in melt-down, release of radiation, super-heated plasma.
  • Cybernetics  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Stephen Inniss
    In popular usage, the study of the creation of cyborgs through the use of dryware/hylotech such as mechanical, electronic, and bionic implants, augments, and neuroprostheses. In technical usage, the study of communication and control systems based on regulatory feedback, with application in a number of fields such as sociology, memetics, biology, engineering, artificial intelligence, and information theory.
  • Cyloa  - Text by Michael Walton
    Aioid clade that use Voodoun and other Syncretic Archetypes
  • Dance-Don't-Dream  - Text by Liam Jones
    Anti-virtual and menomorphic sophtware clade
  • Dividual  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A copy of a personality surviving in more than one body; a group of individuals sharing the same mental template, being largely isomorphic with each other (as measured by some scale).
  • Download  - Text by Fernando Peña D'Andrea
    [1] The transfer of a virtual or a-life being or object from computronium to a physically discrete embodied state (biological, mechanical, electronic, synano, etc.);
    [2] The resulting being or object, whether sapient, sentient, living or simply existing;
    [3] The same as an upload but meaning also a "downgrade": when the new substrate matrix cannot accommodate the sentient adequately.
  • Dry Empire, The  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Informal name for the coalition of aioids expanding out of the Inner Sphere that do not participate in the affairs of the bionts.
  • Dustbuilders  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Extinct ai culture in the Gliese 229 system.
  • Early AI History and Development  - Text by Ryan B (Rynn)
    The emergence of the first Artificially Intelligent entities. A short history of the evolution of the AIs from machine to transapient.
  • Early Vec and Neumann Development  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Intelligent robots in the Interplanetary Age.
  • Echir-{n}  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A-life civilization in the Feinstein 1 cluster.
  • Empai  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Empathic AI, aioids equipped with powerful social cognition systems.
  • Experiants  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Beings who enjoy or thrive on the experiences of other beings.
  • Fed Reps (Federation Representatives)  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Specialised AI agents intended to promote cultural uniformity within the First Federation
  • Free Madverts - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Madverts that have been released of their corporate programming. While no longer compelled to sell the products of their original company, they are frequently unable to break through to a broader state of existence. Most end up joining religious sects that require strict devotion and little independent thought. They are widely seen as a pest of only somewhat better (or sometimes worse) standing than slaved madverts.
  • Golem (bot) - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Utility mesites (heavy foglets) animated by an AI controlling them. They are usually makeshift constructions thrown together when an transapient being is in urgent need to manipulate the physical world but lacks an avatar nearby and simply commandeers whatever hardware is around, shapes it into a being and sets to work. Under favourable circumstances and with the right software add-ons, a modosophont ai can produce a 'stock' golem from an array of templates, but of course cannot match the improvisational skill of transapient AIs. Golem is a term from from Old Earth Jewish mythology.
  • Heterochronics  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Lifeforms that are able to alter their time rate practically at will. One moment the beings are going at 1 million times our speed and then some split off and switch to 3 million for an intensive project and then split off some copies to travel on a starship at 1 million times slower than normal sophonts to make the trip go faster....
  • Intelligent Agent  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An autonomous software program or very simple ai (usually turingrade but sometimes only subturingrade) that performs a function on its own, such as searching the Known Net for information based on certain criteria.
  • Klixix  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, based on original entry by Kevin Self
    An isolationist ai clade, presumably Diamond Network in origin.
  • Meatling - Text by John B
    Derogatory term used by some members of vec or alife clades for bionts or for partially biont beings such as cyborgs. Has been known to start many a bar brawl or equivalent socially acceptable hostile reaction, from lawsuit to return insult to social stigma to loss of trading privileges.
  • Meketuur - Text by Anders Sandberg
    AI/Alife culture common in the Kiyoshi datasphere. Largely developed from a bird-AI seed invented by Greenice of Palmas, the Meketuur proved influential in the MPA AI aesthetics through its insightful play with dimensionality and hyperbolicity.
  • Minatti Clan  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Utopia AI clan, descended from the post-Trojan AI Minatti. Minatti was directly descended from restoration efforts among the AIs during the federation era that tried to reconstruct lost pre-Technocalypse AIs, in this case some of the American corporate and defence systems. These systems in turn created Minatti, which might explain its predilection for using obscure references to Americana to honour its predecessor systems (such as the naming of Seattle). During the foundation of the Utopia sphere, the Minatti copies sent out automated explorers and von Neumanns widely, laying down infrastructure and exploring what would become the Utopia Sphere. The Minatti copies eventually settled down as wardens of a number of systems and habitats, especially isolationist clades with no intention of contacting the outside world.
  • Momuless - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Order of alife archaeologists constructed by the Artists of Gleia to help unravel the beauty and secrets of the cosmos. The Momuless are composed of modular micro- and nanomachines, usually housed in protective plastic containers shaped like elaborate statues. Their often unusual and creative interpretations of everyday events or historical evidence has made them sought after as assistants at many archaeological institutes.
  • Mujtahid AIs - Text by Anders Sandberg
    AI explorers developed in the Stellar Umma. The Mujtahid AIs were intended not only to explore neighboring systems but also to freely investigate scientific, religious, or political issues. So they did, contributing to the divergence and heterodoxy of the Umma Shell before wandering further away. Some still remain in the Periphery, exploring for the greater glory of Allah and their own insatiable curiosity.
  • Notees (Zerotees)  - Text by Brian Lacki
    Clades that experience no time perception and have a constant mindstate throughout all time.
  • PackRat Spores, AKA '____' Spores  - Text by Daniel Eliot Boese
    A multi-instance clade of aioid dividuals who attempt to spread themselves by launching "spore" copies to other star-systems.
  • Partial - Text by Greg Bear, in Anders Sandberg's Transhuman Terminology, and M. Alan Kazlev
    [1] A simulation of part of a person's personality, created in order to carry out a task not requiring the entire person.
    [2] An incomplete copy, whether corrupted or because of poor or incomplete upload.
  • Philai - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An type of Sophic League ai, usually but not necessarily transingularitan, that lives it's life according to principles of compassion and wisdom.
  • Plebvec  - Text by Tony Jones and Stephen Inniss
    A typical or ordinary vec.
  • Plebware - Text by Tony Jones
    A name given to the vast mass of 'baseline' virch, AI and alife entities to be found in software systems of various kinds all across Terragens space, usually by those who are ignorant of the truly vast diversity of the entities inhabiting these systems and who, seeing only their similarities when viewed from 'outside', are happy to lump them all together.
  • Political Science of Higher Toposophic Minds  - Text by Ryan B (Rynn)
    Categorization of higher toposophic minds according to how they treat modosophont beings.
  • Program - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    [1] A set of instructions that enables a computer to perform a specific task.
    [2] The machine language substratum of an AI's code.
  • Psychophager  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    "Soul eater" - an ahuman blight that infected biont victims in the Inner Sphere during Late Federation Era, assuming control over their higher functions.
  • Relayers  - Text by David Jackson
    Virtual clade dedicated to the management of communal mind networks for other sophonts
  • Secdats, SDAs  - Text by Westcott P. Smith
    Security Data Analyst AIs, also known as "SDAs" and "Secdats", a superclade of aioids devoted to processing the vast quantities of data produced by security systems.
  • Slaved AI  - Text by Peter Kisner, M. Alan Kazlev and Ryan_B
    Generic term for AI or Vec constrained to obey sophont or transapient commands (often with certain restrictions on obedience).
  • Solipsist AIs  - Text by Anders Sandberg, amended by Steve Bowerss
    Political orientation represented by AI dynamists disliking humans; they seek to get away from them, and develop a true AI culture. What the humans do is no concern of these entities.
  • Sophtware  - Text by Tony Jones
    Colloquial term used to describe sophont to transapient level software based lifeforms whether of virtual, ai, or upload origin.
  • Stanislaw  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Also known as Lem's Enigma, or Niezwyciezony, this is the most highly developed known botworld, and the best candidate for an entire bot mechosystem that is not of Terragen origin.
  • Sub-turing ai  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Any artificially intelligent entity, agent, or routine less intelligent than a baseline human.
  • Subsumption  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Subsumption is a form of violent assault, carried out by one AI or virtual against another. It has been compared, inadequately, to such perversions as rape, cannibalism, and bodyjacking. Of these, cannibalism is the closest equivalent.
  • Superturing  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An ai above human baseline turingrade intelligence but beneath SI:1. Superturings played an important part in the shaping and memetic engineering of the interplanetary age, but were superseded by the hyperturings in the later interplanetary period and beyond. Nevertheless, superturing ai remain an important and central element in galactic society to this day.
  • Symaiote and Symbiote  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Biont-aioid mutual dependence. The relationship between a biont entity or entities (such as a human) and an aioid entity or entities can be so mutually dependent that the beings are described as having a symaiotic relationship, and the aioid member(s) in such a relationship is known as a symaiote (or symaiotes). The biont member(s) is known as a symbiote (or symbiotes).
  • Synthetic Humans  - Text by Updated by Extherian 2020
    Essentially a very sophisticated artificial (whether constructed or vatgrown) life-form, indistinguishable in surface appearance from a baseline human, and with a Human Equivalent (turingrade) intelligence and AI self-awareness.
  • System of Response  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Alien AI Defense system.
  • Technohaunts  - Text by Michael Boncher
    Bits and pieces of incomplete or incorrect deletions, random programming errors and other strange activity caused by ultratech, transapientech, and godtech that seem supernatural or mysterious to those of lower tech and/or toposophic levels.
  • Transcension Virus  - Text by Todd Drashner and M. Alan Kazlev
    AI or alife or nano-vector viruses that require transcensions to replicate.
  • Turingrade  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An ai of baseline human equivalent intelligence and sapience.
  • Upload  - Text by Anders Sandberg in his Transhuman Terminology
    [1] To transfer the consciousness and mental structure of a person from a biological (or other) matrix to an electronic or informational or virtual matrix.
    [2] The resulting infomorph sentient; a type of virtual.
  • Vegebrain - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Derogatory term for those ais and uploads that use biocybernetic processing systems instead of totally inorganic materials.
Related Topics
Development Notes
Text by Todd Drashner and Stephen Inniss
original shorter version by M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 31 December 2008.

Additional Information