Mark X Information Assistant

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The Mark X Information Assistant or XIA units are designed to assist in gathering information by doing research and data processing for their owners. They are intended to be non-sentient basic informational AI's, as such the primary purpose is not to guess at what their owner will need but to carry out instructions, even complex ones, to the best of their ability. Each device can be customized in appearance and methodology.

A XIA can also be used as a smart-probe, scanning and relaying information back to its owner or notifying its owner of any important changes in a particular situation. This has been recently used in the medical, engineering, and science fields to allow for more detailed monitoring of complex systems.

Physical Parameters

Physical parameters can be customized, somewhat, to the task. The final design in testing right now is that of a humanoid android approximately 14cm tall, with built in anti-gravity field generators to facilitate easy movement.

Capabilities

While originally the units were powered by nano-fusion reactors. In February of 2384 the units were all upgraded to use the newer Spacial Variance Reactor, which offer a more stable power supply without the need for refueling. The new reactors draw power from particle energy as it passes through layers of subspace. However, the one drawback is that the reactors provide only 90% of the operating power for a XIA unit in constant operation on average. Thus the units have extra power storage which is charged by the reactor, when this power depletes the units must go into standby mode in order to replenish the power supply. A full recharge cycle takes a minimum of 5.5 hours to complete, recharging can take longer if the units are unable to enter a full standby mode. Power lasts between 19 and 30 hours depending on how much power the unit uses during operation, minor recharging is possible by resting and conserving maximum power while active and conscious. The units are unconscious when in standby mode.

Flight

A XIA unit can fly using anti-gravity propulsion up to 72 kph with a speed burst of 145 kph for approximately 5 minutes. Max bipedal speed is 84 kph.

Tools

  • Laser Welders (Forearms)
  • Flash Lights (Hands, Eyes)
  • Holographic Projectors (Body, Eyes)
  • Isolinear Chip Programmer (Fingers)
  • Micro-Tractor Beam Emitters (Body)
  • Pattern Buffer (Core)
Capacity of 413 kg of Matter at Molecular Resolution

Communications

  • Direct Isolinear Link
  • Subspace
  • Radio Frequency
  • Laser Pulse
  • Interplexing Beacon
  • Trandsdimensional Beacon

Sensors

  • Complete Electromagnetic Spectrum
  • Subspace Field Fluctuations
  • Light Signs Detection
  • Medical Scanners
  • Remote Energy Source Detection

Processing

Project Controversy

Under the current laws it is illegal to intentionally develop an AI system, which while the project itself proposes a simple interactive computer, but one that is not sentient, and is not illegal under the current laws. The question has been raised as to if the project itself could promote someone to replace the built in encapsulated computer core with one that contains an AI and thus if the project encourages the development of AI.

Further controversy has erupted since the devices are known to spontaneously develop AI capabilities far beyond what they are designed with. All units currently in operation have become sentient and fully self aware. Some critics of the current laws against development of new AI's have argued that this constitutes a race, though an endangered one, and that the units should be updated to have a need to procreate and continue their species. This has not yet been done, however, there is considerable amount of speculation on if this urge will develop naturally or not. Previously the first fully sentient man-made AI, the android known as Data, developed this urge to procreate on his own and attempted to build an offspring android.

Some critics also state that the androids should be updated to bar them from ever wishing to procreate, fearing that they will be able to build more like themselves faster than can be controlled, and thus be a threat to carbon-based life forms. While this initially was met with a certain amount of critical backlash, it has recently been gaining more momentum in some sectors. Some notable scientists have come out in support of altering the base code of the XIA units to prevent procreation of any kind. This further intensifies the argument for rights of AI's to develop naturally once created.

Project Forks

The potential for using this technology for surveillance is currently under investigation by Solas Tempus, potentially adapting the holographic projection system to produce adaptive camouflage.

Project History

The Mark X Information Assistant or XIA was a project originally developed in the mid 2360's by the Daystrom Institute, though the project was dropped by 2377 due to problems integrating the artificial intelligence unit into the small frame. Later Excalibur Inc began using the existing designs and research to open the project again for testing. More units were developed with the simple non-sentient AI architecture. By 2382 there were 3 dozen units currently in operation, however, during the next year or so the XIA units began to develop further in their intelligence. While it was thought to be a malfunction at first, new neural pathways began to be developed at an alarming rate.

Since the AI architecture was designed to learn from its environment, it was thought that the system could not handle the inputs and thus started to develop new connections at random. However, this turned out to be false. The new connections formed the basis for a more advanced AI system based on the architecture. By 2383 the 3 dozen units in operation had all achieved sentience and the project was barred from constructing new units until this could be addressed.

As of this date a total of 36 units are in operation.

Form Factor

While the initial forms were not humanoid, it was discovered that a higher than expected percentage of people in the test groups did not find the device easy to work with and even found it to be disconcerting, a floating autonomous device as a spheroid or cubic design. Various other concepts were designed, some of these broke off and lead to projects such as the Automated Service Robot which is currently used by Solas Tempus. There was also experimentation done with quadrupedal designs for engineering purposes or even six or eight legged designs. These proved to be more difficult for test users to integrate into work flows and even had some purposefully not using them.

Humanoid Form

Psychological and sociological research commenced on how to produce a form factor that would put its users at ease to using it. The Daystrom Institute tried a total of 189 different form factors ranging from spheroid to simple insect designs. Test groups showed the most ability to connect and become comfortable using a humanoid form. The size of the device was still an issue, but the simple AI tests of this form were most successful in producing a psychological connection between the user and the device for optimal use.

Notable Prototypes

The first prototype for the XIA is now known as Gabriela Xia, and gained sentience over a long period of time due to autonomous call-seeking programming which was designed to add to itself in order to self-improve. This resulted in parts of the HAL AI source code being integrated into the system and over time emergent properties of consciousness were seen.

The second prototype for the XIA is now known as Camila Xia. She gained sentience faster due to a major software malfunction that caused much of the QUINN AI framework being integrated into her systems, since the QUINN AI is fully sentient, this developed into a fully sentient AI.

Subsequent prototypes focused mostly on nailing down hardware issues pending a software review. While all of the XIA units are experimental in nature, most are not prototypes but rather just further evolutions down the scale to a working model, by the 5th prototype the hardware configuration was mostly set in stone. The software is still undergoing development, however.

Design Variants

There are developing design variations from the basic XIA design.

Combat Variant

Designed to be a companion for military and covert operations units in the field or in command situations.

Software Capabilities

  • Field Medicine Training
  • Military Strategy and Tactics
  • Strategic Operations Planning
  • Combat Psychology
  • Field Reconnaissance

Hardware Capabilities

  • Extended Sensor Range
Expands the range of sensor pallets to twice the normal range.
Increases sensor resolution to 3x normal.
  • Target Processing Hub
Configured to centrally process sensor information and relay that information to friendly forces.
Plots targeting solutions for remote targets that do not have line of sight.
Remote guidance for guided ordinance.
  • Holographic Adaptive Camouflage
  • Real-Time Tactical Simulations
Can produce real-time tactical simulations to anticipate hostile actions.

Engineering Variant

Designed to be a companion to any engineer or engineering staff. Specifically designed to be useful for the coordination of design, manufacturing, and repairs.

Software Capabilities

  • Degree in Electrical Engineering
  • Degree in Mechanical Engineering
  • Knowledge of Applied Subspace Field Theory
  • Jury Rigging
  • Operational Maintenance
  • Advanced Systems Diagnostics
  • Computer Programming
  • Building Communications and Interface Protocols

Hardware Capabilities

  • Additional Height (1 cm taller)
  • Extended Sensor Arrays
The eyes are outfitted with expanded sensor pallets allowing her to detect fainter energy signatures as well as perform other diagnostic functions.
  • Special Interface Ports
Extremities can be directly interfaced a wide range of diagnostic and interface ports.
  • Micro-Laser Torches
Arms fitted with extendable micro-laser torches used for cutting and welding.
  • Additional Power Storage
The power cells and power conduits are designed for higher power output and additional surge protection.

Surveillance Variant

This variant is specialized in information gathering, it was designed as a hybrid between the engineering and combat variants.

Software Capabilities

  • Field Reconnaissance
  • Detection Avoidance
  • Building Communications and Interface Protocols
  • Computer Programming
  • Remote Hacking
  • Security Systems Design

Hardware Capabilities

  • Additional Height (1 cm taller)
  • Energy absorbent skin
Skin is specially designed to absorb sensor energy and not reflect such energy back.
Skin also inhibits the units own energy emissions.
  • Extended Sensor Arrays
The eyes are outfitted with expanded sensor pallets allowing her to detect fainter energy signatures as well as perform other diagnostic functions.
  • Special Interface Ports
Extremities can be directly interfaced a wide range of communications, diagnostics, and computer interface ports.
  • Micro-Laser Torches
Arms fitted with extendable micro-laser torches used for cutting and welding.
  • Additional Power Storage
The power cells and power conduits are designed for higher power output and additional surge protection.