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In the Orion's Arm Universe, an Archailect is an ascended post-singularity intelligence that has grown vastly beyond even the Transapient level. Within the context of this hypothetical universe, they represent the highest level of known living beings, in terms of both thinking power and aggregate energy/mass.
Archailects as described in the OA Universe
There is not one, but rather several toposophic grades (and even different scales to measure the topospohic grades) of archailects (or "Archai" as they are also known). This is to say, the Singularity postulated by transhumanists and some futurists is not actually a singular, one-off event - rather, it is merely the first of several major changes which intelligences undergo as they improve themselves, mutate, and evolve into higher forms. Within the OA Universe, then, there are said to be approximately six such Singularities which are thought to have happened so far, each producing vastly superior grades of intelligence.
Origin of the concept
The concept of archailects was inspired by a number of sources, including the work of AI researcher Hugo de Garis, who coined the term "artilect" for "artificial intellect"; science fiction writer David Zindell who refers to godlike AIs that he calls "mainbrains"; and concepts from mysticism and mythology, such as the ideas of Jung, and the gods of Homeric mythology who interfere in all sorts of ways in the lives of mortals. The concept of moon-, jupiter-, dyson-, and nebula-sized computing nodes was inspired by Anders Sandberg's paper on this subject (see references).
The term "archailect" is a play on "artilect," "archetype," and "AI," and is a meshing of the phrase "archetypal AI intellect."
As the Orion's Arm project has progressed, various other themes have been added, including memetics, and replacing a purely AI concept with the idea of archailects as equally beyond biological sophonts and AIs in the limited sense.
- The Orion's Arm Primer by the Orion's Arm Worldbuilding Group
- Sandberg, Anders, The Physics of Information Processing Superobjects : Daily Life Among the Jupiter Brains, Journal of Evolution and Technology, 5 December 1999