GRANT REQUEST FOR GENETICALLY ENGINEERING LOW-COST ORGANIC AUTOMATONS WITH SOPHISTICATED ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE FOR LABOR
In the modern industrial age, there are many tasks that human beings would consider unpleasant, repetitive, demeaning, and/or hazardous to health, such as custodial duties, mining, and armed combat. Although the field of robotics has been lauded as the solution to these tasks, taking over for humans in such situations, the extent to which robotics technology has evolved has made them suitable only for extremely repetitive tasks such as manufacturing duties in factories.
The main issue to surmount in the field of robotics is that of intelligence. Modern robots lack the equipment and programming sophistication to sense and react to changes in their environment, interact with human beings, or incorporate detailed feedback into their programs beyond rudimentary sensor data; thus they are limited to repetitive, exclusively industrial tasks such as welding, spray-painting, and die-casting1.
A robot with true artificial intelligence would be a massive revolution in the modern world. It would be able to solve complex problems, take the initiative, work and interact with human beings, respond to changes in its environment, and learn from its surroundings and the response to its actions in order to optimize its programming and drastically increase its efficacy. An intelligent robot would have applications in all fields that require labor, from military to agricultural to medicinal. It would cut down on labor costs dramatically while scaling up productivity and increasing profits across all industries. Although Prometheus Labs has made remarkable strides in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning with the Advanced Natural Intelligence Initiative and Project Kapek, it is estimated that, despite being years in advance of all other robotics research being carried out around the world, even Prometheus Labs' most rudimentary true artificial intelligence will not be completed until at least 1993 .
Rather than construct robots with artificial intelligence, Prometheus Labs will grow them.
We propose the creation of genetically-engineered, artificial human-like organisms to carry out various forms of repetitive and/or dangerous labor that either require skills and problem-solving decisions incapable of being executed by machines or that involve human interaction and companionship. Such tasks could include janitorial duties in businesses and residences, caring for and assisting senior and disabled citizens, or fighting in an armed conflict. These organisms would be cheaper to raise and use than normal humans, lack all of the uncooperative tendencies of human workers, and work without complaint. However, these qualities suggest that the organisms are slaves – an archaic term for an archaic system.
The organisms will be branded not as living things but as Prometheus Labs All-Natural Automatons (ANAs): organic, all-natural robots with high reliability and low maintenance needs; intrinsic high-level machine learning algorithms that allow them to enhance their function based on real-world feedback; human-level problem-solving capabilities, extreme dexterity and maneuverability; highly advanced natural language user interfaces that allow them to speak in any language; advanced artificial intelligence that passes the Turing test and has full facial and environmental recognition; self-repair functions and complete immunity to hacking; and environmentally-friendly qualities such as biodegradability.
The core technology for engineering ANAs is derived from the work on Project Lilith2, specifically the use of retroviruses in order to quickly alter the genome of a zygote and thus alter the genetic makeup of an organism with minimal cost and maximal efficiency.
The basic human zygote that ANAs are derived from can be easily manufactured using Prometheus Labs Replication Gel and the stem cells from Project Samsara. Coupled with Project Lilith's microbial assembly line technology, more than 250,000 human zygotes can be grown and altered per hour.
Emmerich, Serizawa, and Calvin3 developed techniques to identify, isolate, and sequence genes from organisms that code for specific individual traits, and further pioneered the techniques to code for those genes by altering noncoding "junk" DNA. Combining these techniques with the retroviral sequencing methods will allow for fast and effective identification of useful traits that enhance problem-solving and cognitive abilities in the ANAs alongside auxiliary traits like enhanced self-repair or movement speed.
Since it has been empirically proven that consciousness and problem-solving ability in human beings is dependent only on a brain that develops properly during gestation4, a simple corollary follows that ensuring that the ANA brain is not subject to retroviral engineering beyond standard removal of genetic disorders will be enough to guarantee problem-solving capabilities on par with the average human being.
The simplest and most cost-effective solution for programming ANAs is to use the augmented-reality brain-machine interface (ARBMI) technology from Project Delphi5. ARBMIs can be implanted in vitro en masse for pennies per chip, and hundreds of ARBMIs can be controlled simultaneously from a master computer as soon as prenatal development is finished. The ARBMI itself can also be programmed to generate VR simulations with which to safely program the ANAs. Such training methods would include triggering dopamine release pathways when the ANAs obey certain commands, stimulating nociceptors upon disobedience, and teaching the ANAs to respond to negative stimuli (such as gun shots or stab wounds) in such a manner that they can neutralize the source of the stimulus without showing a negative response to the stimulus itself.
Given that All-Natural Automatons are intended for use in situations involving repetitive or dangerous labor, human interactions, and problem-solving capabilities, the primary demographics for these organisms will be for healthcare, military applications, corporate research and development, and low-cost general purpose labor.
Nursing homes, hospitals, or even well-off homes will purchase ANAs to use in human personal care, from taking care of children to cleaning bedpans and tables to chaperoning senior citizens suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. The nature of their genetic enhancements will naturally render them unaffected by most pathogens, making them perfect for use in sterile environments. ANAs with lower-speed CPUs can even be used as false robot pets that are easy to care for and can be taught various tricks.
Military organizations ranging from the People's Liberation Army to the Global Occult Coalition will find ANAs to be well-trained, utterly loyal, adaptable, maneuverable, expendable troops. ANAs will prove highly useful in various military operations from general combat, scouting and clearing booby-trapped zones, performing explosive ordinance disposal, to combatting paranormal entities.
As ANAs derive much of their genetic heritage and anatomy from humans but should not be considered as human, they will be perfect candidates for research and development applications such as cosmetics testing, drug testing, and weapons testing. Pharmaceutical and containment organizations such as Sandoz AG and the SCP Foundation will find ANAs to be compliant, easily maintained, hardy, genetically varied test subjects for use in day-to-day operations.
The ease of handling ANAs, coupled with their low cost of maintenance, tolerance for dull, dangerous, or difficult work, and unmatched problem-solving abilities makes them perfect for labor forces in any environment, from digging railway tunnels, to mining precious minerals deep underground, to fighting fires at nuclear power plants.
Although the use of All-Natural Automatons has the potential to also destabilize economies by putting many unskilled workers out of employment, this poses a second lucrative option: world governments can be convinced to incentivize Prometheus Labs to limit the production scale of ANAs, whether through guaranteed contracts or direct monetary infusions.
USE OF FUNDING
All-Natural Automatons can be manufactured at any Prometheus Labs facility with the capability to use Replication Gel, reducing the average cost of manufacturing one ANA to $60 (assuming 20 kilograms of Replication Gel per ANA). The bioprinting facilities from Project Lilith can be reused. This limits the cost of construction to $100,000 per facility using standard Prometheus Labs Fast-BuildTM facility construction methods, allowing one facility to be built every 12 weeks.
The genetic sequencing techniques used to isolate useful traits requires only standard equipment used for traditional genetic engineering projects, which will cost approximately $100,000.
It will take approximately 36 weeks to grow the first batch of ANAs to allow uninterrupted development of the brain to take place. A further 12 weeks will be necessary to allow the ARBMI training to take place. However, if the initial test runs are successful, new ANAs can be manufactured each day, such that ANAs can be rolled out every day as soon as forty-eight weeks have elapsed since the production of the first batch.
As the scientific basis of this work is already well-documented and commonplace in both fringe and mainstream research institutions, the only concerns are how human users and the labor organisms will interact with each other. The primary issue with widespread adoption of All Natural Automatons is that they would be perceived as nearly-human by the general public, and there is no clear legal precedent on how to deal with nearly-human organisms. Naturally the closest parallels will be drawn to humans, which could result in the labor organisms becoming protected under human rights, thus defeating the purpose of their existence.
The first part of the solution is an aggressive marketing and lobbying campaign that focuses on classifying All Natural Automatons as organic, natural robots that have been given human and animal features to make them more familiar and friendly to use. This campaign may also endeavor to change the legal and operational definition of robot to ensure that ANAs are classified under that umbrella.
The second part of the solution is engineering clearly defined inhuman features to both ensure that the All Natural Automatons cannot be mistaken for humans and enhance their function. For example, implementing characteristics of the European honey bee (Apis mellifera) into a group of military-focused ANAs would clearly denote that they are not human, with the added benefit of enhancing their parallel computing and simultaneous operational ability. Yellow-black skin pigmentation would further indicate that they should not be considered human, while replacing hair with fur emphasizes exciting and friendly animal-like qualities.
The second key issue is that the ANA's learning algorithms could decide that disobedience or direct harm towards its users would enhance its functional capabilities. ARBMIs have only a 97.9% success rate. Therefore, the easiest way to test the efficacy of the ARBMI training and weed out malfunctioning ANAS would be to deploy programmed ANAs into various Prometheus Labs facilities and observe their interactions with PL personnel. This preliminary testing has the added advantages of lowering personnel costs within said facilities and, given the isolated nature of most Prometheus Labs facilities, minimizing the chance of a rogue ANA's escape. The constant surveillance present in most Prometheus Labs facilities will ensure that any ANAs in which the conditioning fails can be quickly identified and scrapped before they can enter the real world.
However, it is possible for a trained ANA to suffer brain damage in the field and malfunction. To prevent malfunctioning ANAs from escaping into the wild and potentially disrupting the local ecosystems, all ANAs will be genetically sterilized during fetal development, rendered unable to survive without consumption of Prometheus Labs All-Natural Enhanced Liquid Food SupplementsTM each day (the Food Supplements can also be rebranded as Prometheus Labs All-Natural Automaton Fuel and sold at a higher markup), and have their lifespans capped at 15 years so that they cannot exist outside human environments. Use of the Food Supplements and capping the lifespan has the added benefit of rendering all customers reliant on Prometheus Labs for continued maintenance and replacement of ANAs, further enhancing the bottom line.