I’ve been doing a bit of reading about artificial intelligences, and it makes me have all kinds of thoughts about Mass Effect. Like, the implications of AGI are waaaay different in a universe where there are already multiple sentient species interacting—even if the framework isn’t the same, it at least gives races experience in dealing with an “other” intelligence.
And did humans discover AGI before or after encountering the turians? Did any race “wake up” their machines before they made first contact? The conclusion of the Catalyst is flawed because the conclusion of the leviathans was flawed, but assuming that it continued based on the context provided by its creators, why wouldn’t it have used nanotechnology to cultivate organic life more efficiently? Does the Catalyst count as “friendly” AI? Do the geth? Could friendly AI like EDI be used to counter hostile AI? In EDI’s case, how does bodily autonomy work? Does she get a salary? Does she need a salary? Would she be allowed to leave the Alliance? Would the Normandy come with her?
IDIC, to quote the vulcans. This is why synthesis will always be my least favorite ending—it forcibly rewrites and questionably destroys all the infinite diversity of consciousnesses out there. Also, the Catalyst views the galactic cycle in such narrow terms that it overlooks other conflicts that fall into the creator/created paradigm—which I would argue is still not the central divide of the series, but that’s nine chapters of fanfiction for another day—like the krogans and the salarians or the rachni and the protheans (or the leviathans). The Catalyst insists on a binary view that is, ultimately, too broad a generalization in this specific universe to be applicable or even useful.
And the Reapers—are they simply extensions of the Catalyst’s will, or are they each a consciousness of their own, or are distinctions like that arbitrary when it comes a mind that vast? There’s something in the refusal ending that makes me think that the Catalyst doesn’t control the Reapers so much as it is the Reapers, but—
This is partially thanks to Ann Leckie (GOODNESS I LOVE HER) but haha, I think it’s time to back away slooooooooooowly and go feed the cat.