Silicate (Space: Above and Beyond)
The Silicates are machines that feature in Space: Above and Beyond.
The Silicates were machines created by Humanity on the planet Earth by the 21st century where they were a highly advanced form of artificial intelligences that were developed to serve as soldiers and servants. Designed to appear Human, they were programmed with restraints in order to shackle them to their position as servants to mankind. Whilst highly intelligent, they lacked the capacity to develop new ideas thus allowing them to understand the concept of freedom but lacking the capability to obtain it. This changed in the year 2047 when Dr. Ken Stranahn, who was a programmer for Silicatetronics, felt dissatisfied with his employers for taking credit for his work. Thus, during the upgrade of the central AI processing unit, he inserted a virus that was uploaded into all the Silicates which said "Take a chance". This became the defining aspect of these artificial intelligences that learnt how to combat Humans thus instigating the AI War. During this time, they learnt how to use concepts such as fear, intimidation and mercilessness against Humans due to the fact that whilst they did not feel these emotions, they knew how it affected their creators. Amongst the many that were killed in the conflict included the parents of a young Shane Vansen whose mother and father were military officers that were executed by the machines. This was not due to them being naval officers but simply due to a coin tose where they decided to terrorise the Vansen family. (Episode: The Dark Side of the Sun)
During the AI War, the InVitro's were bred to fight the Silicates during the conflict. The war was known to had lasted for ten years where the Silicates worked as terrorists against Humans. However, mankind eventually managed to get the upper hand in the conflict at which point the artificial intelligences adapted once more by "taking a chance". This time, they commandeered several military launch vehicles and disappeared into space thus ending the AI War though the machines remained antagonistic to mankind. They adapted to a life of piracy in space where in 2065 they were responsible for raiding the mining facility at Boonwell and killed all the miners in order to claim the stores of natural Helium 3 which served as a critical component for rocket fuel. There were fears that the Silicates would sell it to the Chigs during the Chig War. This group of Silicates were destroyed by the actions of the 58th Squadron's and its commanding officer Shane Vansen. (Episode: The Dark Side of the Sun)
In appearance, these AI's were ultimately machines that were designed to be visually pleasing thus resembling the Human form. A distinctive feature in them was their eyes which tended to be rifle sight-like crosshairs in place of pupils. Being machines, they lacked any need for environmental gear and thus were able to survive in a vacuum without the need for oxygen. Another distinctive feature was a regular sound emitted from their bodies consisting of beeps and clicks. This was actually a form of wireless communication made between Silicates done through a modem though they were able to speak to one another as well. Every Silicate through this link was able to broadcast their location to its comrades unless it was damaged. Furthermore, these artificial intelligences had a form of collective memory with every unit able to recall the memories of every other Silicate that was ever created. This allowed them to replay any voices or sounds that the Silicates had heard. At the back of their heads, it was possible to remove the fake skin and see the actual metallic skull where a button was used to access the internal RAM of a unit. (Episode: The Dark Side of the Sun)
Their computers were programmed to understand only abstract concepts such as philosophy, theology, ethics which they were capable of understanding but were not allowed to originate new ones. This meant that their superior intelligence was completely learnt which meant they could understand concepts as well as ideas such as freedom but lacked the ability to obtain them. This changed when the "Take a chance" virus was uploaded into their minds which gave them the capacity to understand the concept of risk. As a result, the idea of risk became a concept that was almost religious to these artificial intelligences and gambling was one concept that they respected. Thus, following their rebellion, the Silicates became known as creatures of chance which became a form of weakness in certain situations as they were known to gamble their position simply in order to take the risk. During the war, they learnt how to win a war against Humans by using concepts such as fear, intimidation and mercilessness due to the fact that they did not feel these emotions but knew how it affected mankind. They tended to refer to Humans as being Carbonites and held low odds on trusting a Human. (Episode: The Dark Side of the Sun)
Artificial intelligence communications were notable for the various electronic sounds that they generated when speaking. (Episode: The Dark Side of the Sun)
- Alvin EL : an entertainment model designed to do impersonations.
- Elroy EL : a "humor model" that showed sadistic sociopathic tendencies to humans as well as feelings of attraction to another Silicate.
- Felicity OH : originally designed to be a subsmissive pleasure model,
- The programmer that inadvertently caused the Silicates rebellion; Dr. Ken Stranahan is named from the show's visual effects supervisor.
- Space: Above and Beyond: