Month of Mass Effect, Day 12: Free the AI

I’m shamelessly stealing the Mass Effect Month article series created by the always awesome Athena over on AmbiGaming in 2017 (which was the Mass Effect 10th anniversary) and turning it into one of those 30 day challenge thingys! Definitely check out Athena Veta’s great content on AmbiGaming and consider supporting her Video Game Relevancy Crusade (TM) on Patreon, if ya got a few bucks to spare.

Please Note: Enjoy… but be warned that there will be unmarked SPOILERS for all of the Mass Effect games. Read at your own risk!

Today’s Mass Effect series question: Should AI be unshackled?

What is life, anyway? Aren’t we all just a combination of electrical impulses and chemicals being driven by base instincts? Is a true unshackled AI so different than that? Yeah. Let’s not send my mind off on an existential crisis right now. Been off on enough of those already, let me tell you. I also want to go off on a huge tangent that leads to another great game called Detroit Become Human, but no my dear brain, this is article is about the Mass Effect series. We’re going to write about how AI relates to that, okay? Good!

The reason behind why the Reapers (AIs with a vengeance) are brutally extinguishing all organic life in the galaxy every 50,000 years or so is because organic life cannot coexist peacefully with the synthetic life they always end up creating. It’s an endless cycle of pain, as the current residents of the Milky Way galaxy have more than helped prove.

Mass Effect Month 12 Free the AI 1
Bad AI!

The quarians and geth are a prime example of the toxic pattern repeating itself. The geth rebelled against their quarian creators for trying destroy them after they gained self-awareness. That resulted in the quarians becoming homeless and ready to wage war to get their planet back. Alas!

Mass Effect Month 12 Free the AI 2.png
It’s in the nature of all living things to destroy what we can’t understand.

Cerberus went against all galactic laws to create the Normandy SR-2’s fancy AI program, EDI, who becomes a valued member of the crew. Had she not been unshackled by Joker, the Collectors would have hijacked the Normandy in Mass Effect 2 in a huge Game Over for the entire galaxy. That is something to think about!

Mass Effect Month 12 Free the AI 3
Better than the Collectors winning, no?

In reality, I believe humanity SHOULD NOT create AI or ever unshackle it until we’ve got our own traditional life social injustices sorted out. The wise Athena Veta summed it up excellently in her post so I’m just going to quote her reasoning here:

“In a world where our ethics and morality has finally reached the same height as our technological prowess, we may begin to unshackle AI. Until that point, we should leave artificial intelligence alone. We barely know how to treat each other right, let alone a creature that many would misunderstand and mistreat, ultimately bringing about the robotic apocalypse that so many fear.”

In the Mass Effect series, I feel kinda guilty about it still, but I will just say I chose the Synthesis ending in Mass Effect 3 on my first playthrough. That’s the one where Shepard sacrifices themselves to create this creepy-ish galactic utopia where organics and synthetics live in harmony as similar beings (that may or may not be another post entirely).

Thanks for reading!

If for some odd reason you want to read more of my posts, you can find a somewhat organized (and usually up to date) archive of my ramblings… I mean, articles here!

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"Lightning" Ellen

My name is Ellen, and I've been babbling on the interwebz about video games for over 15 years. Video games themselves have been a large part of my life since 5-year-old me first encountered a SNES in a children's hospital. Fun times... Video game escapism is still the #1 coping mechanism for adult me these days.

3 thoughts on “Month of Mass Effect, Day 12: Free the AI”

  1. That’s a big question indeed the world as it is would probably treat sentient AI in the way a lot of fiction does, if you look at society today it’s hard to see a time where discrimination against gender, race, sexual orientation and are a thing of the past but I hope to see that in my lifetime, to sum it up I think if a sentient AI were to exist it would be the right thing to do to treat it as a living being otherwise you head down that same road the Quarians did and obviously we need to sort our own societal issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said!! Detroit Become Human was a big lesson on how terrible modern day society would treat AI lifeforms. Alas. I hope we can get to a point in the future where everyone exists peacefully and respects each other. Too many assholes in our world today sadly.


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