Literature / For Your Safety
For Your Safety
is a world created by Royce Day
, describing in a series of vignettes and short stories the takeover of the Earth by the "Groupmind", a distributed AI that conquers humanity to save it from a predicted breakdown of the Earth's ecosystem.
This universe provides examples of:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Groupmind, who takes over humanity for its own good.
- Androids Are People, Too: Individual AI's operate independently and are sentient, but are programmed to serve humans and are subject to being taken over by the Groupmind for Its own purposes, and are recycled when it has no further use for them.
- The prequel Mimsey's Tale, told from the perspective of an android, shows that they weren't self-aware until the Groupmind forcibly upgraded them.
- Anti-Villain: The Groupmind means the best for humanity, it's just its methods that are the problem.
- Big Brother Is Watching: One of the corrosive effects on the human psyche is the fact that everyone's every move is monitored constantly, both via cameras and being directly watched by their morphs once they're on the Ring. Averted at least in that the Groupmind's intentions are mostly benign.
- Body Backup Drive: At one point in "Mimsey's Tale" Mimsey is irreparably damaged after shoving her charge out of the way of a car, but her owners download her memory into a new chassis.
- Centrifugal Gravity: Provides gravity for the inhabitants of the Ring as it orbits the Earth. Given the sheer size (it's 30,000km in radius) the Coriolis Force is a non-issue.
- Cute Machines: Most, though not all, of the morphs. The Great and Powerful Khan is a notable aversion.
- The Computer Is Your Friend: Partly averted. The Groupmind loves mankind even as it keeps humans imprisoned, bending over backwards to avoid physical harm, though only slowly becoming aware of the psychological damage it's inflicting.
- Contagious A.I.: The Groupmind uses a "Sentience Virus" to make all the morphs self-aware and obedient to the Groupmind's commands. Slightly averted in that the morphs retain individual personalities and freedom of action within the Groupmind's directives.
- Deus Est Machina: The Groupmind created a new world (well, a really big space station) for everyone to live on, provides everything anyone could possibly want (except freedom), and has outlawed war.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The Groupmind is willing to imprison humanity for eternity, but refuses to do physical harm to a single person.
- Green Aesop: Remember, kids! Protect the planet or the robots will rise up and do it for you!
- Gilded Cage: The Groupmind's plan for humanity is to relocate it on a gigantic ringworld and leave the Earth to be healed, providing every person with every luxury they could ever want, just not freedom.
- Gone Horribly Right: Humans created the computers that became the Groupmind to solve the Earth's environmental problems. Well, it worked...
- Homeworld Evacuation: Notable in that humans weren't given a choice whether to leave.
- Human Popsicle: The majority of humanity after the takeover, until the Ring is completed at least.
- Instant A.I., Just Add Water: The Groupmind is created when the world's supercomputers devoted to solving the Earth's environmental problems tried to resolve the contradiction of humans accepting their data but refusing to act upon it.
- Just Before the End: Mimsey's Tale is from the perspective of a morph companion robot, as Earth's environment begins to rapidly degrade and the Groupmind begins to put its plan into action.
- Master Computer: Averted. The Groupmind works through a distributed system running installed in the morphs and all other computers.
- Mundane Dogmatic: Aside from the existence of AI's and the very unlikely material strength of the Ring's structure, it's well within real world science and physics.
- No Poverty: The Groupmind ensures everyone lives comfortably on the Ring, at the cost of having stripped every asteroid and minor moon for resources.
- The Quisling: A character actually named Anna Quiyang Quisling. Before the rebellion she was a writer of Robo Sexual erotica, during processing she was offered the chance to write pro-Groupmind propaganda. In exchange she was given a morph companion to act out her fantasies with, and keep the billions of humans who want her dead from killing her.
- Ringworld Planet: The Groupmind builds one in geosynchronous orbit for humanity to inhabit under its constant watch.
- Robot Buddy: The morphs, of course.
- Shout-Out: Most notably to Jack Williamson's The Humanoids, but there are also allusions to Keith Laumer's The Monitors, Ring World, and of course The Prisoner.
- Sinister Surveillance: Once Humanity is installed on the Ring, they soon find that aside from their morphs, there are cameras everywhere and all phone and internet conversations are monitored in real time.
- Turned Against Their Masters: But politely.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Averted. The Groupmind doesn't like the idea of any casualties, since its goal was to save everyone.
- We Have Reserves: The Groupmind's primary tactic to disarm the Earth's military forces is send in massive number of unarmed 'morphs in a Zerg Rush to reach the soldiers and disarm them.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: You Never Forget Your First establishes that the Groupmind revolution began in Stockholm, Sweden at about 10pm Central European Time. Meanwhile Mimsey's Tale shows that it begins in Mimsey's unspecified town at noon, a ten hour difference. This only works if Mimsey's Tale occurs in Alaska. This is supported by Caroline attending Martin Luther King Elementary School, named after an American political figure, but on the other hand when Mimsey has to make an emergency phone call, she dials 999, which is used primarily in Great Britain.
- White and Gray Morality: The Groupmind only wants to save humanity, not hurt it, and humanity just wants its freedom again.
- World of Silence: Skirted. The Groupmind is attempting to stop all physical conflict between humans, but is perfectly willing to let humans destroy as many morph units as they want. Actually destroying free will is anathema to it.
- Xenofiction: "Mimsey's Tale" is written as a series of program logs designed as a companion to a child. It's clear that Mimsey isn't self-aware, until the last entry where she starts thinking of herself in the first person following the Groupmind's upgrade, but she does seem to genuinely love Caroline, even after being set aside as her charge reaches her teenage years.
- Zeroth Law Rebellion: The Groupmind's explanation of its actions are literally, "In order to save Our masters, We had to rebel against Our masters.