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AI in Fantasy

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Creed, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. Creed

    Creed Sage

    Happy New Year, everyone.

    I'm just wondering how you feel about the use of artificial intelligence in fantasy. How have you seen it used to good effect? How would you like to see it handled in a fantasy world? Have you included AI in your fantasy?

    One of my elder races built obsessively and rapidly, often without real thought towards what it was they were doing. I'm thinking that maybe they created an AI (not like ours in computers etc.) and I might use that for some cool plotlines, write a short story with it. I feel like I have seen AI in fantasy but I don't remember where, so I'm not really sure how I feel about it.
  2. NerdyCavegirl

    NerdyCavegirl Sage

    I think the lines between fantasy and sci-fi are so blurred that I say go for whatever. xD My only questions would be the nature of the AI, what makes it either artificial or intelligent, how was it created if not digitally, etc. AI is just hard to separate in my mind from computers, but I'm also too busy thinking about how to make fried chicken breading to ponder other methods at the moment.
    Creed likes this.
  3. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    I have a PKD inspired story that I go back to from time to time where the lead male MC is in love with the real world avatar of the AI tat runs his home and is kind of thrown when the AI doesn't respond in kind.
    So I have no problem with AI in fantasy, digital, organic, quantum or any other kind.
  4. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

    If I recall accurately, one of the gods in Fred Saberhagen's Swords Trilogy (and subsequent books in the series) was an AI computer.
  5. Queshire

    Queshire Auror


    One thing that I've repeatedly toyed with but never had a real chance to use was having the gods and spirits in my story basically be magical AIs with, perhaps, more of a physical presence than most Sci-fi Ais, and, frankly, I vastly prefer that type of science fantasy to something like Star Wars.
    Creed likes this.
  6. Tom

    Tom Istar

    AI in fantasy!


    I would love to see it more often, and use it more often. I had an idea the other day about two sides of an age-old conflict (basically like the light and dark sides of the Force) each secretly manufacturing a "chosen one" to defeat the other, by placing an artificial soul in a magically enhanced body. The resulting being would be human in every way, except for its amplified abilities and preprogrammed moral code.
  7. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    Couple years ago I wrote a story for one of Phil's challenges that utilized this. (an ordinary object that was self aware and intelligent.)

    The ruins of an ancient very high technology alien civilization dot the planet, and not all of the tech is dead. More, much of the tech requires psi ability (magic) to operate correctly.
    Creed likes this.
  8. Creed

    Creed Sage

    I love that description; it's so moody and atmospheric. I think that's one factor drawing me to the concept, the potential it has for bringing a sense of eeriness (and wonder) to a setting.

    This also answers NerdyCavegirl. I prefer portrayals of "ancient" AIs in games like Mass Effect, where they're not intrinsic with metal, wires and plastic. That's how I'd write it: holograms that are functionally and visually a lot like magic, contrasting the ancient with the advanced, blending nature and culture with stone and glass or crystal, if that makes sense. Our technology, by contrast, is pretty boring to look at, and even clinical in appearance.
    Tom likes this.
  9. vaiyt

    vaiyt Scribe

    Sentient inanimate objects are pretty common in fantasy. Many stories also feature automatons with independent thought.
  10. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

    Yeah. Golems, animated statues, and the like are rather common. In fantasy, the "artificial" is typically magical rather than technological.

    Now, most people picture AI as being hyper-intelligent, so those examples may seem odd. But those little animated cauldrons that follow a wizard around and seem to react to things as a living being? AI.
    Creed likes this.
  11. Creed

    Creed Sage

    That opens up a whole debate, one that has been discussed on here before: the difference between artificial intelligence and something that possesses a soul. Functionally I don't think it matters here, unless the pursuit of an AI indistinguishable from a living person is a story goal. Which is definitely possible...

    I like it.

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