Here's our attempt at answering some of the questions. If you have a story idea for your character which doesn't fit with our answers, let us know and we can discuss!
Question and Answer set One (LINK)
Q. Are there fast ways to internalise a lot of complex information and use it to interpret the world?
Yes! Augmented reality technology, similar to Microsoft HoloLens or (the infamous) Google Glass is more or less ubiquitous. Take a look at the first few paragraphs of our Analogue: A Hate Story adapt to see one version of it in action, this one using drones based on Traveler technology (Travelers love their drones).
Aria's "whiskers" automatically analyze things for the Investigator, and display the information on a heads-up display, on her glasses or her spacesuit's visor. They also help in navigating social situations; if she'd had on her glasses when encountering *Starborn in Hate Plus, she would have seen all the information that AI made public. Information which *Mute received another way:
Do you know what she did, before she even got inside your ship? She sent me twelve different contact requests, and like, half of the information that she was just broadcasting away on unsecured channels was stuff only her husband should know. "Sexual orientation?" "Gender identity?" What the hell are gender and species identities, anyway?!
You choose what information you want to broadcast this way, usually with an implant but sometimes with an external system. Like Aria, or like the tablets that all the cool human kids carry. Pseudonyms are more than okay, as are profiles which are completely blank. Think of it as creating your profile and signature on a forum or social networking site; some people have different profiles keyed to different bodies, and live completely different lives depending on when and where they are.
(I'm not sure what measures they'd need to take to prevent stalking and stuff. But I imagine they'd do something about it, and would take reports of harassment much more seriously than modern-day cultures do.)
Q. Do AIs have social difficulties?
Let's ask *Mute and *Starborn!
"Are you alright, *Mute? I have pinged you twelve times, and you have not responded."
*Mute was standing a couple of paces away from me, seemingly frozen in place with her hands clasped together. She was staring up at the Traveler I'd known as *Nemesis, and I wasn't even sure she was blinking. The other AI offered a clawed hand to her in greeting, and after a couple of long seconds *Mute just inclined her head in a barely perceptible bow, without taking her eyes off of her.
"Ahh, she is shy." The Traveler withdrew her hand.
Q. What is AI society like?
Which AI society?
Because on the one hand, you've got AIs that are either descended from or based on pretty much every known form of life. And on the other hand, there are AIs which are completely "virtual" constructs, for whom the "real" world is alien. We're not even talking Tron characters, here; imagine a person whose sole way of representing theirself is an emote.
If you're one of the first kinds of AI, that we mentioned, you probably think of yourself on some level as the kind of creature you're emulating. For instance, even though *Mute acknowledges that she isn't human, she regularly blames what she sees as her personal failings on having been "programmed as a woman," and considers human society her own.
If you're the second kind, you probably think of the physical world as something like Antarctica. It's there, and there are a handful of people like you living there, plus a lot of penguins (or organics). But it's mostly just empty space, and actually visiting there would be quite an adventure. You'd need all kinds of specialized gear, plus a guide of some kind. Unless you really need or want to go down there, you're probably better served by just looking at people's webcams of the place.
There are a lot more of the second kind than the first kind. Since they rarely embody themselves, though, we might not be seeing much of them.
Other things to keep in mind about AI society:
They can think and communicate much more quickly than you can. They may seem to make snap decisions, which turn out to be very well thought out. They've probably got a million browser tabs and IM windows open in their headspace, and are multitasking on all of them while they're talking to you.
They can be extremely annoying or dangerous if they decide to be. An AI who takes a personal interest in an organic's life can come across as creepy, the way *Starborn does; anticipating your needs before you have them, finishing your sentences, not giving you a chance to think your own thoughts. And that's if they want to intervene in your life in a good way. The alternative's much more unpleasant:
An AI with root access to a ship's computer system could do just about anything to it. Depressurize the bulkheads, run the tram system in reverse, even set the reactor to overload. If that was what I was dealing with, then there was noplace on the Mugunghwa that was safe. Even a door could become a death trap, depending on how fast it shut.
- Finally, they're used to having a lot of personal space, and being able to just log out of a given server or blacklist someone if they don't want to talk to them. Forcing two or more AIs to live in close proximity to each other, whether physically or virtually, can be a recipe for disaster. Especially if they don't get along.