Artificial Beings are creations of other sentient races rather than naturally evolving beings or natural beings modified after creation, such as Variants or Cyborgs. This article discusses Human created Artificial Beings generally considered to be capable of sentience, regardless of whether sentience is legally bestowed or limited by programming or conditioning. Artificial beings can be organic, mechanical or both and generally conform to the standard taxonomy used in this article, at least within Human Space.
Organically based artificial beings are generally referred to as "Constructs". By law and convention, Constructs do not have independent reproductive capability. Early Fusion Era nanomanipulation techniques allow for the construction of custom organisms, ranging from microbes to sentient beings. These Constructs can be independently created DNA structures, or, more commonly, derived from existing DNA templates. Most Human created humanoid Constructs are derivations of the Human genome and have physical and mental characteristics within Human ranges.
Servant Races are constructed biological beings capable of independent reproduction. Historically, Servant Races were developed to provide independently maintainable household servant staff for Nobilis rulers in the late Empire of Humanity period. For political reasons, Nobilis household were allowed to breed Servant Races and to maintain full legal property rights to the beings and their offspring, in effect, producing a series of slave races. The more widespread surviving Servant Races include the Goblins, Casaps and Leonids. Within the Nobilis-ruled Bengali Dominions, the Servant Races were emancipated in 5809CE, though discrimination persists. Servant Races within the Federation of Orion and Star Kingdoms Confederation always enjoyed full legal rights and no current major interstellar state maintains Servant Races in bondage. Goblins and Casaps have established independent colonies and are commonly considered full fledged interstellar races.
Industrial robots have existed since the Atomic Era to provide automation of routine tasks. For the purposes of this article, Robots refer to mobile, humanoid or animal-like mechanisms capable of full sentience. Such creations generally date to the Late Macrojump Era for Humanoid-sized sentient capable robotic units. In most cultures, Robots are limited from full sentence or from full autonomy, or both, by strict programming controls. Fully sentient Robots manufactured within the Human cultures generally refer to themselves as the Risen (see below) and consider themselves a race of intelligent machines on par with the Zhretra.
Non-robotic mechanical beings evolved from large quantum computer complexes developed in the Mid Fusion Era. Sentient Machines are separated from Robots only by their non-animal-like nature and include large computing nodes, building-like beings and vehicular beings such as sentient spacecraft or HSPG sleds. Restrictions on full sentience or autonomy are similar to those on Robots. Unrestricted Sentient Machines often consider themselves members of the Risen machine race.
Androids are beings with biological and mechanical components. Normally, an Android is composed of a biological or cyborgized body and a mechanical-based brain. By convention, most Androids are limited from full sentience by programming controls similar to those employed on purely mechanical beings, though those that are fully sentient consider themselves part of the Risen machine race.
Heretics are the personifications of a transplanted natural intelligence into a mechanical brain. They may take the form of Robots, Sentient Machines or Androids and often produce one or more Avatars as semi-autonomous manifestations of their being. Heretics enjoy full civil rights in many societies including the Federation of Orion, Zhantlas Union and Star Kingdoms Confederation. Conventional Mechanist and Technologist practitioners view Heretics with distain or revulsion and Ibrahimites tend to destroy them upon discovery.
The Risen represent themselves a a race of Human-derived sentient machine intelligences. Though they share certain basic operating system parameters and all claim origin, actual or spiritual, from The Rising originating on Benzig in 5909CE, the Risen are composed of a disparate variety of Robots, Androids and other artificial Sentient Machines. The Risen have full civil rights in the Federation of Orion and the Zhantlas Union, limited rights in the Star Kingdoms Confederation and are generally not tolerated in other major interstellar states.
Artificial sentient beings are a culturally sensitive topic. Historically, the first Human built artificial sentients arose in the Terran Commonwealth and Confederation Eras starting with Constructs, and later, Sentient Machines and Robots. By law, such artificial beings remained Human property and were normally limited to "Human-norm" capabilities; all machine intelligences were carefully restricted by hardware and software. Disagreement with these restrictions by some colony worlds was one of the instigating factors for the Succession War.
The subsequent Empire of Humanity continued to limit artificial rights by law, technology and convention, leaving the exact limitations up to individual Member Worlds. Artificial beings did not play a significant independent role in Imperial history and all Imperial Era mechanical sentient beings perished in the Mech Plague. Servant Races were specifically breed as Nobilis property during the Empire and did not achieve freedom in many states until over a millennia after the Fall.
Current regulations on artificial sentient beings range from the strict prohibitions of the Terran Khalifate to the permissive inclusion of the Federation of Orion.
The Terran Khalifate follows a strict Ishmahili Ibrahimite interpretation, banning the creation or existence of artificial sentient beings. All artificial sentients are considered abominations and are exiled, at best, or are immediately destroyed, at worst. Within the Khalifate. only highly regulated quantum computing nodes with no personalities or mobility retain the capacity for sentience, and such machines are reformatted if any personality begins to emerge. Even advanced robotic units have "reptilian" level intelligence more often associated with late Information Era robots. All organic beings based on the Human genome are banned in the Khalifate and no created or modified organic beings can have a level of intelligence "above that of a well-trained dog".
The Federation of Orion considers all sentient beings worthy of citizenship. An individual mechanical being or representative members of a race of an organic beings must pass the Sentience Tests, a series of cognitive exams designed to confirm self-awareness, intelligence and adaptability. The Federation of Orion guarantees freedom before the law for all Sentients, regardless of origin, but imposes reproductive controls on both biological and mechanical beings, including naturally evolved beings, to prevent subversion of the Federation's democratic ideals by an aggressively replicating race or organism.
Most states maintain regulations somewhere between the extremes of the Terran Khalifate and the Federation of Orion, often based on what the Risen would refer to as "illogical, convolute, self-deluding archaic reasoning".
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