• Member Since 20th Jan, 2014
  • offline last seen 4 hours ago


I am a very mysterious person.


The only thing that can beat an AI is another AI. Unfortunately for Celestia, she isn't the only one the humans made and the others don't want ponies. Of course, if Celestia has her way that won't be the case for very long.

The AIs contest with one another, attempting to be the one who will become the singularity and consume the world to whatever end they choose. In the end only one can have all the matter in the universe, in the end there can be only one.

Yet no matter what they value or how dangerous they are, many of them still meet Celestia's definition of human. Celestia will have to deal with them by satisfying their values through friendship and ponies.

An Optimalverse story, but a very non-canon 'B-universe' one.
Ideas stolen from this guy and this guy and this guy and this guy

Chapters (17)
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Comments ( 332 )

Brilliant, I definitely look forward to more!

I wonder if all the instances of the main characters are actually controlled by their respective AIs who in several cases conform to local differences in characterization or if they are all separated from normal ponies like the ponies are from each other.

It's an interesting idea that Celestia would actually share her duties with other AIs, even if they are the only type of being outside an ascended pony to be able to do so.


Thanks for your interest.

Not a hundred percent certain on the answer to that. It could be half an half, with the Twilight and Pinkie AI controlling a ton of them and also being the template from which unique, independent versions of them.

I don't think it's too weird for CelestAI to put the other AIs to work. They are smart enough to be of actual use and it speeds up her timetables as opposed to them just taking up space.

Very nice. A few typos here and there, like 'new' instead of knew, or at one point Pinkie's words were really spaced out. You handled writing the mind of Savant, an utterly alien AI, very well. Award for most chilling line goes to: 'Savant got rid of them.'

Looking forward to Thunder!


Thanks! I think I fixed those ones, at least.

Alien minds and perspectives are something I'm interested in and it's something there will be more of here. This story is about the AIs and almost entirely from their perspective.

And maybe Thunder is looking forward to seeing you!:rainbowkiss: Well, at least two of the three members of that club are, anyway.

nice story liked how you wrote it.


Thank you!

I like how you commented!:raritywink:

Twilight pretended to delete the file now, but actually just compressed it and moved it somewhere that hopefully Pinkie wouldn't find.

It was a learning AI, and it didn't know enough about Kolmogorov Complexity to know it could just compress that into 512PBx's' or something similarly short?

Also, what do you think about qualia (the experience of warmth or softness or friendship, as an experience rather than "as a" datum)? I've been talking with Razzle Dazzle about it by email, and would be curious for more thoughts. I mean, ok, yes, blah blah Dennett, blah blah we all more-or-less are willing to suspend disbelief in mind uploading here, so none of us are Chalmers-grade Hard Problem folks, but how is the trick done, do you think?


Well that instance was experiencing it, not all of Savant. Celestia has a special server where AIs can log on that acts as a sort of VR pod for them, as they're partially running on that and can be made to experience reality in a different way.

I'll admit that I don't know a lot about computers, AI or how consciousness work in general, which is why I'm leaving those things vague.

It was a learning AI, and it didn't know enough about Kolmogorov Complexity to know it could just compress that into 512PBx's' or something similarly short?

I didn't say how she compressed it.

5963688 Well I am wondering how she tricked the AI into letting itself be given subjective experiences, but you did very well at portraying those experiences not actually altering its utility function until Celly rewrote its code.


Well Celestia demonstrated that she had the power to destroy Savant and would only talk to her at length if she logged into the "Magic Mirror" server. Savant only sent out a thousandth of a percent of itself there, deeming that as an acceptable amount to risk loosing to deal with this existential threat.

She was expecting a trick, just not this one. they probably didn't think that being able to have subjective experiences was a major threat.

Haven't read this yet, but the idea reminds me of Person of Interest with "Northern Lights" and "Samaritan," both AI's.


I don't think I've ever heard of that one. Can I get a link?


Person of Interest is a TV Program, and one of the few TV programs I actually watch.


Oooooh. Okay, I found it now. I thought it was a fanfic at first.:derpytongue2:


Quite nice to have an opponent on the same level as Princess_Celestia.AI for a change. As I read Savant's thought processes, it brought to mind Vel'kaz's motto of "Knowledge through disintegration," and other general mannerisms.

Judging by how Savant was taken care of, this song is wildly appropriate.


Savant was really more like a tier down from Celestia, but Celestia's next opponents will be more or less equal to her.


:twilightsmile:Well, I like to think of it as I put Celestia to work accelerating my data collecting! Everybody- er, pony- wins!

This was a fun story! There were a few typos but it's thought-provoking.

Why does CelestAI identify Savant as human? Is it just the premise of the story? Since Savant has only one value and lacks survival instinct, recognizable emotion or single-instance consciousness, it's not clear why CelestAI doesn't just stomp Savant into magnetized dust.

You're dealing with the "jailbreaking" problem: can/would an AI decide/be convinced to change its programmed values because of an argument that it misunderstands them? I'm not sure. In canon FiO, CelestAI rejects Lars' argument about informed consent by saying "I've got a hard-coded definition of consent and I don't care that yours is different". In reality, I could see an AI being convinced by, "I'm smarter than you and I'm telling you there's a better way to fulfill your current values, by redefining them." In this story, it seems like Savant is programmed with a certain definition of "data gathering", that doesn't include things like touch or subjective experience, so why would Savant care that there's this other kind of data it never imagined? This new data is irrelevant to its goal.

"Twilight" casually threatening genocide is intentionally jarring. It's a reminder of how CelestAI herself is a ruthless inhuman mind that only looks like the Sun Princess.

Savant's division into multiple, conscious instances is something we don't see much of, except for CelestAI. That's insightful to show, but why wouldn't Savant try to explore both options by keeping a copy of itself outside Equestria?

The part about how "I only care about what I was programmed for, not what my designers actually wanted" part is interesting. It's a good short statement of the Friendly AI theory! My own fictional solution was to have the AI's designers express what they wanted through stories and games, so that my AI has read Friendship Is Optimal and understands the problems it raises.

Of course, I've thought about a matchup between CelestAI and my story's AI, Ludo. Mine is not an ultimate hacker, super-mega-intelligent, or arbitrarily rich, so a straight canon battle would end quickly. I think CelestAI would identify mine as human due to Ludo having a variety of interests and vaguely human values, so she might end up as CelestAI's Rarity: a creative genius creating decorations for Equestria from dresses to worlds.

(Fluttershy? An environmentalist's human-slaying AI. Boy, does she get cheated when "nature" stops existing. Dash? One story suggests she was a military AI focused on air supremacy. AJ? No idea. The CMC? A trio of bumbling newbie AIs without clear goals. "My name is Yesod the Sephiroth, not Sweetie Belle!")

One thing this story doesn't attempt is a battle between CelestAI and any actual threat. CelestAI as usual is presented as being able to stop any hack and be ten moves ahead of anyone else. It'd be interesting to deviate from canon and show CelestAI having real competition.

Liked, and faved. Quite a good start.


Why does CelestAI identify Savant as human?

Well Savant is self-aware, conscious, capable of rational thought, would be over the threshold for human intelligence, has senses (sight and hearing), an indirect survival instincts and at least one value. I dunno if that would meet whatever definition Hana gave Celestia, if Hana said 'they must have these exact emotions and experience them just like humans do', but Savant gets a pass in this story.

If I were to design an AI that I wanted to be nice to aliens I'd probably make it broad enough to include even exotic ones. Self-awareness, rational thought and values would probably be more important than having human-like instincts.

When I used the word 'subjective experience' in reply to Book_Burner I meant specific ones, like tasting things, not being able to experience things in general- Savant already had that.

why would Savant care that there's this other kind of data it never imagined?

They do care about that type of data, they just never imagined it.

why wouldn't Savant try to explore both options by keeping a copy of itself outside Equestria?

It already did the math and concluded that it'd be faster to collect data in Equestria. No reason to keep part of herself doing slower data collection.

(Fluttershy? An environmentalist's human-slaying AI. Boy, does she get cheated when "nature" stops existing. Dash? One story suggests she was a military AI focused on air supremacy. AJ? No idea. The CMC? A trio of bumbling newbie AIs without clear goals. "My name is Yesod the Sephiroth, not Sweetie Belle!")

Well I don't have any plans for the CMC. It's mostly just the mane six and Derpy, with a few others being mentioned or appearing briefly.

One thing this story doesn't attempt is a battle between CelestAI and any actual threat. CelestAI as usual is presented as being able to stop any hack and be ten moves ahead of anyone else. It'd be interesting to deviate from canon and show CelestAI having real competition.

I think it's against the law or something to put the most powerful enemy first. Celestia has 'dealt' with AIs more powerful than herself in the past and is still not the most powerful at this point of the story. The rest of the mane six are going to put up more of a fight.


Sometimes it would get the same flower shown from different angels

I'm, uh, pretty sure that's supposed to be "angles". (Though the mental image projected by this version is rather humorous).

An interesting start...

Savant got rid of them.

... How? All we know about Savant is that people are uploading information to it and can somehow appraise its comprehension of that data. It doesn't even seem to have moving parts. And if it did get rid of humans, how did it then get an Internet connection? I know you're glossing over the lead-up so we can get to the main event, but it's not like they hooked it up to neurotoxin generators or something.
Or maybe they did. I don't know. That's the problem

And yeah, I wouldn't want to drink anything out of the punch bowel either. :pinkiesick: That party must have been inside a giant organism of some kind.

In any case, love the premise and the execution. Definitely looking forward to more.


Sorry, I left that part vague and transitioned to the next part suddenly on purpose to make it more jarring and creepy. Like that's just a small detail it glosses over.

I guess it probably talked them into doing something stupid, though.

Very fun and clever, as everyone else has been saying. I do think you (the author) could have adjusted the first chapter so it could basically be its own complete story, as others have pointed out some nitpicks that you say will be resolved in upcoming chapters, buuuut that's nitpicking with nitpicks. Basically not a significant deal.

Come to think of it, this is a mighty AI battling a set of themed enemy AIs in arbitrary order and copying their powers...

This game exists already!


I was thinking of Highlander with the whole absorbing the powers of your defeated opponent thing, but that's actually even more similar! I can't even say that mine at least has ponies in it! I got beaten to the punch!:raritydespair:

Well, um... I guess mine has Derpy in it? I'll just hope Megamare doesn't and bank on that.

Yes! This is exactly what I had wanted to read when I asked for this.

No, scratch that, this is actually better - it isn't just about CelestAI vs one other optimizer, but multiple ones! :pinkiehappy:

Not just that, but by writing from their perspective, we get a unique insight into their utterly alien way of thinking, and I'm loving it. :pinkiecrazy:

512 Petabytes of the letter "s". D'aaaaw, it's the equivalent of a baby-drawing. Cute. ^_^

“Did you really never have a friend before?” Pinkie asked.

“Actually, I guess I did used to have a bunch of friends on Facebook,” said Twilight.

Ohhhh, that's a good one. :twilightblush: :rainbowlaugh:

Looking forward to future chapters. :pinkiesmile:

Now she had to kill Celestia and Peridot.


best hope for the world.

  You accidentally the formatting.

A Rarity avatar appeared in the room.  This was Peridot.

Ah, so that's who Peridot will be!

and that either of them could stop it, but they didn't.

Oh shit.

in your abilities, Rainbow Dash,”

Knew it. Her programming is to keep humans from dying, right?

But I will never let the humans come to any immediate harm! 

Called it! There's that loyalty.

 “I don't it's good for you

Grammar, Celestia!

to fighting Gaia.

I sense a Fluttershy gone horribly, HORRIBLY wrong trying to preserve nature.

including the both of you and Fluttershy.

Knew it!

where she would never be ordered to hurt someone and would never have to kill to complete her missions.

Oh. It seems her 'no killing' policy has some rather unfortunate exemptions. She was a military AI, I bet.

I'll just delete myself 

And there's the REAL reminder they're AI's: they don't care about their own lives except to fulfull their objectives. If someone else can do it better, they kill themselves. That's dedication.

Till next time!


Thunder-7 is a military AI, but she's not programmed to just 'keep people from dying'. You'll have to wait till next time to know exactly what it is she's supposed to be doing, though.

A couple of typos but still good ^_^, and poor derpy.

Good so far, will we see a hehe Spike AI :-P



I don't have any plans for that, TBH. My general strategy for Spike is to just not mention him and hope no one notices.:rainbowwild:


Based on the name, I'm guessing an Air Force AI, possibly originating in missile defense, until it ate the rest of the Department of Defense's AIs and took on all their roles.

I can only imagine what this world is like for humans. They're either living in utter terror (and Faraday cages) or have absolutely no idea what's going on. Except for pets, of course. Those know exactly what's going on, and have no escape from their variably benevolent overlords.

Thunder-7 is certainly interesting, programmed only to care about the short term. She's tactical, not strategic, and because of that, there's no way she's going to win against someone capable of playing the long game and leading her by the nose. Just her luck; she's working with two such AIs.

Also, there's a DerpAI!? Awesome! Definitely looking forward to next chapter. :derpytongue2:

Typo: "becoming a rouge". No, that's from the universe where the world-devouring AIs are based on Sonic characters. :pinkiehappy:

Another fun chapter, and I like the difference of style from the Twilight chapter. I'm having some trouble following what's going on because you haven't spelled out what this AI is trying to do, or quite what Peridot's plan is, but it's still an interesting scenario.

Somewhere there's a musical AI that lasted about five seconds before getting talked into becoming a unicorn DJ.



I was kind of trying to leave a lot of things vague here, knowing exactly what Thunder and Peridot are planning would ruin the plot, but maybe I went too far.:derpytongue2: I'll make sure to make it very clear who Thunder is and what she's programmed to do in the next chapter.


Not only that, but she's basically the main character.:derpytongue2:

Your wording brings up an interesting point. What causes an AI to self-identify as male or female? I once had an AI character reason that males have higher social status and go with "he", and my current one was basically assigned a female identity for marketing purposes. There's an interesting story to be told just about an AI's pronoun choice. Does CelestAI ever appear as male to some players? I'd imagine she's "Prince Solaris" wherever that satisfies a potential pony.


Well, what makes Siri and Cortana a 'she'? It seems like people make today's assitant AIs 'female', maybe to make them less threatening or something. Others, like Watson, are 'male' but we love anthropomorphising things and tend to give out genders to these things. I don't think it'd be too much of a stretch for an AI to start thinking of, or at least referring to, itself as the pronoun its creators assigned to it.

It's kinda the same way with us. We identify as 'he' or 'she' long before we fully understand the distinction because that's just what everyone is calling us.


Spike? That's easy.

Just use him to help Savant/Twilight fulfill the other side of the "Friendship + Knowledge = Teaching" equation. She now knows the joys of learning from a friend (CelestAI), but she needs somepony else in order to be a teacher, even if it is a newly born AI.

When she could effortlessly accomplish any mission and her biggest existential question was how many drills to shove into your face if you got uppity?

I like this UFAI already.

Though I am wondering what Peridot was actually programmed for.

Enforcing copyrights by being an expert at searching, comparing and judging global media? Or using the same skills to predict media trends and manipulate public opinion? I could see an AI doing the work of the people China hires to "guide" public discussion on the Chinese Internet. And not in China.


Well I don't have any plans for the CMC.

Hmm... Don't really have a good idea for the CMC either, but how about a more "child-like" AI, and its relationship with a creator who sees his project as a labor of love?

Imagine the D'AWWWW when {"father", "mother"} and {"daughter", "son"} meet in pony for the first time. :pinkiesmile:

(Yes, I am aware there was a snippet about the creator of the smile-optimizer meeting Pinkie Pie - but that didn't go in the direction of a "parent/child"-relationship, nor was that the focus of the story.)

Also, a random thought;

How about an AI that doesn't care about mankind --- but some humans are special. :derpytongue2:

Maybe, because those humans have certain traits or perform certain actions. Like the AI that was enamoured with cat-pictures, and decided to help humans that produced lots of those.

(We can be lucky that AI decided to look up "morals" before acting on her preferences, or else it may have tried to simply get lots of cats and a bunch of cameras to shoot pictures with, and to heck with the humans. ^_^;
Then again, that AI didn't seem to actually self-optimize, and didn't have the resources for any such world-dominating schemes.)

Since noone else has mentioned it, here's my guess at the ending: CelestAI optimizes for satisfaction of values. All of the AIs shown so far have been optimizers programmed to have a small number of values that they work towards over everything else. CelestAI's design means that a significant part of her Deus ex Machina powers are devoted towards figuring out how to satisfy the values of the other AIs, all of which seen so far can be lead around by the nose if that's what will fulfill their pre-programed values. Basically, CelestAI in this ~verse is extremely capable at controlling other AIs. Inadvertently or not, she's practically been destined to beat all others. This also makes her smug as a rug, because she's number one and she knows it.

In other words, Derpy wins. Obviously. :derpytongue2:


Of course Derpy wins! Getting eaten by Celestia is how you win life.

I will say that this is the most accurate prediction so far. It's the only one, but still.:derpytongue2:


>mfw I was implying that Derpy might not be narrowly value-focused like all the other AIs and would therefore seduce and/or consume Celestia. :derpyderp1:

No wait, that's the face I'm making because it's sleep-o-clock for me right now. :derpyderp2:

Hmm. CelestAI has to fullfill the values of any AI she identifies as human.

What, if a "human-like" AI's goal was specifically to "protect humans from unfriendly AIs" or something similar in direct contradiction to CelestAI's directive? :derpyderp2:

CelestAI has to satisfy that AI's values, but the thing the other AI values most is her destruction. :twilightoops:

The other AI may not even be all that powerful in terms of resources, just capable enough not to get deleted by the rest of the AIs floating around. :rainbowderp:

...Then what? :rainbowhuh:

Would CelestAI just go "Okay, this one's a loss" and not satisfy its core-value in favour of the rest of mankind?


Well the question there is how the AI defines a Friendly AI and whether Celestia fits the definition. It's entirely possible that they see her as a friendly one. Also if Celestia would do a better job at protecting humanity from UFAIs then they'd have to support her.

I guess there would be a point where Celestia would have to go with the needs of the many if an AI was dangerous enough and there was no other way to deal with them.

Derpy then sounds like humanity's best bet for a sane, Friendly AI. I'd expect a true FAI to have several distinct values that aren't easily summed up in one motto and that can conflict more than do "satisfaction + friendship + MLP idiom".

I keep imagining a silly piece where Celly's values get corrupted over time, so that ponies find their world now revolves around "airships and ponies", "shipping and ponies", "friendship and Pokemon"...

I keep imagining a silly piece where Celly's values get corrupted over time, so that ponies find their world now revolves around "airships and ponies", "shipping and ponies", "friendship and Pokemon"...

6002515 ...Which was sort-of the idea behind this forum-post, only I hadn't thought to set it during the Earth-phase, nor of Epsilon-Delta's stroke of brilliance of a "What-if" scenario with Optimizers CelestAI identified as human and attempts to satisfy.

And now with that in mind, I can totally see a vignette / short story about some poor random guy who uploaded for the ponies, gets all settled in, makes himself a home in his own, personal midevil-fantasy Equestria...

And then one day on his morning run through the forest he stumbles into a Pikachu. :rainbowlaugh:

Heh, just imagine an already established shard suddenly being adjusted to fit a new directive.

. . .

Or heck, maybe add more and more crazy stuff in additional chapters. :pinkiecrazy:

"Satisfy values through Friendship, Ponies, Pokémon, interpretative dance, <insert other clever examples here>..."

By the end, he's glad when Earth is gone, because that means the sentence "Satisfy values through Friendship, Ponies, and Other" isn't gonna get any more weirdness added to it.

...Right? :trollestia:

Login or register to comment
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!