Sapient Structures

Intelligent Buildings and other constructions

Image from Steve Bowers

In many worlds and polities the buildings, roads, public transit vehicles, parks, and other smart structures have their own turingrade intelligence and have all the rights that go along with it. There is often no clear dividing line between sentient structures and standard aioids; a general (if simplistic) approach is to say that if a device or structure has software integral to its being, it is a sentient structure (or sentient artifact). If however its resident ai can be changed for another ai without affecting the structure, then that resident ai is an aioid. Throughout the galaxy there are at least ten quadrillion sophont level sentient structures or artifacts, almost all of them in the Inner Sphere and older Middle Regions provincial systems and habitats.

Sapient structures are often independently mobile, or can quickly convert part of their structure into various means of locomotion; walking cities and mobile habitats are commonplace on many worlds, especially those with large areas of wilderness. Some sentient structures are capable of flight, even spaceflight, and a sentient structure that can move independently in space can be classified as a sophont spaceship.

Image from P. Bourne (copyright; used with permission)

  • 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.
  • Artificials  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    generic term for any sophont of a non-biological nature [noun]
  • Henon  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Outer Volumes planet with independently sentient cities
  • Keepers  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A very large class of sentient, to sapient to transapient beings who are the managers or "guardian spirits" of a specific area such as a dwelling, a park, a wilderness or manufacturing district, an arcology or city, a hab, or even an entire world or megastructure. Most are informorphs, or aioids specifically designed for such work.
  • Kockengen, Clade  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    An ancient polysomatic clade with its origins in the Technocalypse period.
  • M-Life  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Machinic non-biological life as seen in neumanns, hylonanecologies, and other inorganic organisms or ecologies. In practise M-life, B-life and A-Life tend to merge, especially because of the ubiquity of biotech and bionanotech.
  • Mega-Mecha  - Text by Mike Miller
    Extremely large mecha, often described as fantastic, awesome, and completely ludicrous. These are indulgences, not practical vehicles. They typically start at 100 meters tall and have been as much as 1000 meters tall, and are generally utilized as walking homes, villas, or even cities for the materially ultra-wealthy and whimsical.
  • Siris Habitat  - Text by Tapio Erola
    Subversive peripatetic relativistic fractal habitat/museum-ship.
  • Walking Cities  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Mobile cities, often independently sophont.
  • Zhang Qian   - Text by Steve Bowers
    Sophic League planet with mobile cities.
Related Topics
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
additional notes by John B and Stephen Inniss
Initially published on 14 August 2001.

Additional Information