Mechanic Exocortex A.I. Awareness


General Discussion

Scarab Sages

Started a new Starfinder Campaign and i was RPing my Exocortex as a self-aware A.I. (She is speaking thru comms instead of my character) then a friend pointed out that it can't be a fully self-aware A.I. since it says; "though it falls short of being truly self-aware" at the ability description. It confuses me since the wording seems to imply it have got some sort of self-awareness. Just how aware is my A.I.? Is it at the level of Jarvis?


At level 20 you get True ai. That's kind of like Clank from the playstation game. Right now it's a smart drone but not self-aware.

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Only the drone gets true AI.

An exocortex has absolutely no statistics whatsoever. It has no ability scores. It's technically not even a computer. It has an AI only for flavor and nothing more.


Yes, it's not self-aware, but it's more sophisticated than anything you can buy. And consider that you can buy computers with artificial personalities so good that they can bluff and intimidate creatures. It's not self-aware like androids or anacites, but it's certainly more intelligent than AHAVs which, according to Alien Archive, you can reason with.
What it means for an A.I. to be self-aware is really difficult to say, anyway. So, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just play it however you want.

If you want some advice on how to roleplay it, read Neuromancer.

Minor Neuromancer spoilers ahead:
I would try to replicate how the Dixie Flatline construct thinks and speaks. Although that's a saved consciousness of an actual person rather than an A.I., but the idea is similar. It can absolutely have a very distinct personality and it may have some creative thought. After all, hacking is a pretty creative process. However, it may also tend to repeat itself, i.e. give the exact same answer to similar questions.
Here's a short excerpt to give you an idea.
Neuromancer wrote:

`Me, I'm not human either, but I respond like one. See?'

`Wait a sec,' Case said. `Are you sentient, or not?'
`Well, it feels like I am, kid, but I'm really just a bunch of ROM. It's one of them, ah, philosophical questions, I guess...'
The ugly laughter sensation rattled down Case's spine. `But I ain't likely to write you no poem, if you follow me.'

Actually, you should just read Neuromancer regardless. It's a very good book.


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Another piece of media that involves something realy close to an exocortex mechanic is Aldnoah Zero. It's a mech anime where in the second season the main character ends up with a computer in his head due to plot reasons. They at points go into how he can actually make parts of his brain that he isn't conciously using at the time available to the 'A.I.' that lives in that analytical engine, as they call it. 's pretty cool stuff.

And yeah, don't worry too much about what the book sais, if you want your exocortex to be able to talk, I don't see a problem with that so long as you're not trying to leverage it into gameplay benefits. Jarvis in the marvel cinematic universe susposedly wasn't truely self-aware untill he became vision, but that didn't stop him from talking to people.


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Predictive analytics and voice interface does not make for a true AI but if the two are good enough than it could fool most casual observers, no? Think of Alexis, the amazon thing, but actually working. you ask it to do things and it does them and even lets you know if it was able to do it successfully or if it believes it messed something up. It knows your preferences well enough to take some actions on your behalf to assist you unless you specifically forbid it from taking actions without your directive. Its a great tool for the GM to use too, "your cortex chimes in to let you know that a series of discreet alarms seem to have been triggered in the local area of the station, it believes this is due to the large volume of high explosives you have recently employed and it wants your permission to try to alter records enough to make this seem like a routine systems check that does not need an active response."

Scarab Sages

Thanks for the replies guys! Now i understand how it's supposed to work, you guys are the best! :)


Huh... Actually, I can see the idea of the mechanic being somewhat (or entirely) mute, and all speaking is really the exo, and the question of which one is the self-aware, and which the companion, being a "sure, why not" thing for a GM. The consciousness of an AI in the case of the mechanic class seems to be more about independence than characterization, from a mechanics standpoint.

Personally, I had imagined the Exocortex to be somewhere between SAM in ME:Andromeda and the implanted combat computers from the COBRA novels, with the latter being low level, advancing toward the former as the character progresses.

And now I also have this odd idea for a solider turned mechanic based on the main character from Path of the Fury...


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I'm currently role-playing my Vesk mechanic as having moments where she talks weird or acts in a completely different behavioral pattern (the maginanohandwavium Exocortex at work) than she normally does. No mechanical benefit, just roleplay.

Also, the exocortex is kind of 'young' so it is still trying to develop it's 'morality' and the 'host' morality is that of a beaten custodian, so it's very interesting to play out.


The Android Exo Mechanic that I'm building is the 7th or so soul to inhabit that body. Their first incarnation developed a program that allows each soul to leave behind a portion of their experiences and abilities after they pass on. Each of the mechanic's skills and abilities come from a different personality in the gestalt AI, so I figure it'd play like someone with memories from past lives. In the end, it's the One (person working) For All of the pact worlds.

It saddens me that the Exo is, Rules As Written, completely isolated from the world. I almost gave up on the class when I learned that.


Rosc wrote:

The Android Exo Mechanic that I'm building is the 7th or so soul to inhabit that body. Their first incarnation developed a program that allows each soul to leave behind a portion of their experiences and abilities after they pass on. Each of the mechanic's skills and abilities come from a different personality in the gestalt AI, so I figure it'd play like someone with memories from past lives. In the end, it's the One (person working) For All of the pact worlds.

It saddens me that the Exo is, Rules As Written, completely isolated from the world. I almost gave up on the class when I learned that.

The way I read it, when your Custom Rig upgrades into a PC you can connect it to your Exocortex (the Free AI upgrade option) and allow it access through there. Also as a matter of fun I'm gonna be running mine as able to interact through the custom rig before then (though to no mechanical effect)

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