The Lost Cluster
A.I. in the Cluster
Developments in artificial intelligence slowed to a near standstill centuries ago, and progress since then has been slow and expensive. This is due to many factors, including anti-AI paranoia, comparatively cheap countermeasures and low-cost brain scanning/digitization.
Nonetheless, AIs are countless and can be found in networks throughout the Cluster. Most are silently and invisibly performing tasks set for them years ago, ignoring all else. Sometimes one will degrade or somehow go rogue, becoming a sort of sentient computer virus. Luckily most networks are separated by huge tracts of empty space, or by the slipstreams, so huge viral outbreaks are rare.
Building an AI from scratch can be difficult, so many find it easier to scan the brain of a handily-available human and delete the parts that aren’t needed. Additions and modifications can then be made, such as eidetic memory or extraordinary mathematical processing.
In some cases when face-to-face communication is needed, but impractical due to space travel, one of the interested parties will undergo digitization and send an unmodified copy of themselves to conduct the negotiations. This is used often in business deals, media interviews and diplomatic negotiations.
There is currently no known method of implanting a digitization back onto a human brain, so these are usually deleted when the job is done.