Yup, I’m thinking about computers and hacking again. I’ve been wrestling with some technology trends that are on the horizon. One is AI. Another is quantum cryptography. I have tried to avoid these technologies or explain them away as “like what we have but amplified” but I think I’m going to change tactics for fourth edition.
When asked about why there are no fully autonomous robots on The Artifact, my answer has been that autonomous systems are dangerous because they could be turned against you by the Chezbah. I think that’s still the right answer but I’m thinking of making some changes.
For one, it’s important to recognize that E-Suits are semi-autonomous AI. I haven’t delved into that much in the past but I’ve had some thoughts that might make that come front and center and make hacking a more comprehensible process.
I’m thinking that Artifact computers operate under a different security paradigm than ones developed on Earth. Since these are advanced computers, their software might appear intelligent to us. Not a human level general intelligence but something on par with a dog, horse or cat, sculpted to a purpose. They recognize their owners for access control and can carry out some tasks on their own.
These AI only respond to other AIs they recognize for security. They can be tricked however. I’m thinking that Comm Officers might have an AI that can make itself appear like a recognized AI, an AI doppelgänger if you will.
From there a hacker can deploy viruses, but the AIs all have their own immune system. They can overcome the effect of a virus in time (possibly in a few turns for example) and then become immune to it. This fixes the problem I was having with a virus taking over all the Rall4s in the fight. It enables limited use hacks in a short amounts of time (combat turns) but makes them temporary effects.
Another change I think I want to make is making hex mainframes and Hosent follow this kind of logic also and that you’d have to convince them to work for you. The other thing hex mainframes have to do is to have a sense of what is going on inside their hex. There’s a technology called conduction mapping in the players handbook that would fit this bill nicely. This would make talking to a hex mainframe very useful and also might make destroying the mainframes very important when you want to hide.