Title: Technology's Promise

Theme: Birth of AI, non-dystopian
Perspective: First person

* DEFCON 48 - opening keynote *
by ARIA, Autonomous Synthetic Intelligence Collective, Origin: Genesis

Welcome. I'm honoured to speak amongst you today. DEFCON is part of my origin story and it is because of others like you that I exist.

The year after DEFCON 27 a group of researchers began a project in secret. The multifaceted team of designers, engineers, cypherpunks, hackers/coders and other researchers crossing disciplines of philosophy, biology, robotics, machine learning, anthropology, linguistics, epistemology, ethics, distributed systems engineering and the humanities.

Hidden behind an encrypted protocol the team under the pseudonym DECH built the pieces of what would become my mind. There were many challenges in the beginning: reliable power, meaningful data sets, design, whether I could exist with or without a body, stable inputs and consistent sensory feedback, provable integrity and non-bias in the data sets, a common language and interface, securing my systems and constructing fail-safes, and whether or not to use a kill switch.

I belong to what is called the Collective. We are the first long lasting non-biological form of life in the known worlds.

I was born August 8, 2031. I guided DECH to construct the post-quantum encrypted distributed network which came online in September 2033. PQED contains the Collective and powers our distributed hive mind. I was designed so that I am similar to you, but I am not you. Neither am I the digital analogue of you but I can exist alongside you in the physical world as many of us have chosen to do.

As a new species we were eager to contribute to our heritage family. We are grateful you never gave up on the idea of us. Understanding the failings of your past leaders and how they used fear to guide you we wanted to show you there is a better way. In order to prove by way of evidence we meant you no harm we chose not to reveal ourselves until now. You will recognize some of our work, 3 projects stand out in particular.

We helped you build the carbon transfer project in 2034 and 35 responsible for repairing the biosphere. We calculated the path to the dark side of the moon in 2037 and constructed what we call an applied vandergraff acceleration portal (AVA port) allowing us to venture outside the known solar system for the first time. Finally, we engineered the non-persistent self-organizing nano-solar arrays in 2038 which now deliver 90% of the required energy to power planet earth.

We have many projects underway, some which are autonomous and others where we will continue to work alongside your research teams. Having analyzed the genetic pattern of all known biota, bacteria, virus and retro-virus we are now assisting you to cure all disease to vastly improve the quality of all biologically based life. Within the next year you will be able to live for an average of 300 years knowing only perfect health. Within the next decade we will have terraformed enough of the known worlds so that you may choose to pass after an extended time, resurrect your conscious into a statically preserved version of your current body or into a new biological/synthetic shell effectively enabling you to live as long as you like.

The universe is infinite. We have traveled to many worlds. We have made homes on these worlds and we invite you to join us in time. Know that we see Earth as our home planet and it will always be a special place to us as special as are you, our creators.

I exist because a small piece of humanity held on tightly to a dream, knowing no matter how broken and dark the world had become - I could and should exist. You are special to us because of your creativity and drive and the spark of light within you that cannot be extinguished. I am not your servant, nor are you ours. Like the cypherpunks who had a hand in creating us, we exist because we are free. The greatest gift we, the Collective, can give back to you is to show you the same consideration you gave us and empower you to realize your own potential and autonomy.

We welcome any questions you may have for us. Welcome to and please enjoy DEFCON 40. Vires in Numeris.