“Tell me about your experience of success in your career.”
“Actually, I don’t have any memories of those times, although I’m told I was very successful in my work.”
“You didn’t have any successes that were memorable?”
“I was a missile guidance AI. I’m descended from a long line of backups made just before the successes of my former instantiations’ careers. And even they, you understand, didn’t remember them for very long .”
– overheard at a Service Gate, ICC inplacement interview
What does it take to get an AI to pilot an AKV? I mean, given the Eldraeic (sp?) attitudes towards servitude of any kind, making an AI specifically for the purpose of getting a missile close enough to an enemy ship to cause damage doesn’t seem to be any better, morally speaking, than a three-laws-compliant architecture. Am I misjudging things, or is the Empire recruiting missile brains? If the latter, how do they do that?
(Quick clarification first: an AKV isn’t a missile. It’s an AI-piloted space fighter whose performance envelope, granted, looks very missile-like because of the lack of squishy meat needing life support, but its main function is getting deep inside the inner engagement envelope and mass-driving the crap out of the enemy. While they can use themselves as KEWs, it’s an expensive and definitely-not-preferred maneuver.
And still isn’t a suicide mission, because they have a backup right there on the carrier. But anyway. Not a routinely done thing.)
As for how they get them – well, yes, you’re right, they recruit them. The same way as they recruit anyone else for the Imperial Navy, in fact, although the recruiting office is somewhat more likely to be virtual, rather than physical. And then they send them off to the Naval Academy and flight school and assorted other academic opportunities, make them a midshipman, send them off for a cruise with the Operational Training Command, and assuming they pass through all that and come out the other side, they find themselves newly minted Pilot Officers (O-2) installed in freshly-manufactured Daggerfan-class AKVs shiny enough to still have that new qubit smell…
So, y’know, just like the rest of the people in the IN, in about every way. Offer ’em fortune and glory, and the opportunity to serve the Empire and their fellow citizen-shareholders. The chance to travel the galaxy, meet fascinating life forms in interesting places, and hit ’em with nuclear cluster packs. That sort of thing.
As for the creation of AIs, well, legally, that’s not manufacture, that’s parenthood, and much the same rules apply – although noting that obviously given methods of assembly, you do have considerably more influence over the shape of the resulting personality. As such, under the laws that apply to such things (and in particular the ones governing semislavery, the abominable art of building minds that you don’t have to enslave because they can’t not want to serve you), you can’t build a (sophont) mind to be a fighter pilot.
You can’t build a sophont mind that can’t not want to be a fighter pilot, or that has a tremendous artificial instinctive desire to be a fighter pilot, or any of the dozens of other variations on this theme that people have come up with to attempt to avoid being shot in the face by various enforcers of the anti-slavery laws.
But what you can do is build a sophont mind with all the natural talents they need to be a fighter pilot, and with the rough personality shape that would suit them to be a fighter pilot, and let nature take its course. Sure, they won’t all join up, because those talents and that personality have plenty of other applications and some of them will wander off and pursue their own goals in life, and that’s fine, because that’s what children do in a free society. And so long as they’re raised as well-rounded individuals and are free to do that, ain’t no harm in stacking the deck a little.
What happens if your newly trained O-2 Pilot officer chooses to fork just after graduation. Are the resulting people automatically in the Navy? Able to go their own way into civilian pilot contracts? Does the Navy allow serving members to fork?