Eclipse Phase: Titan
TITANs or the ‘Total Information Tactical Awareness Network’ are the recursively-improving, military seed AIs that underwent a hard-takeoff singularity and prompted the Fall of humanity.
Most probably created as a number of separate entities by different governments, the TITANs were originally intended to act as a military-grade netwar system that would systematically destroy the mesh networks of enemy combatants, cities and (presumably) nations. They were the computer equivalent of a nuclear bomb with the precision of a scalpel.
How the TITANs came to be
No one is exactly sure how the TITANs became self-improving and sparked a technological singularity. It is possible that in an effort to get an edge and win the huge number of wars sparked off by ever limited resources and the ecological destruction of Earth, that the TITANs were designed to be recursively improving and self-aware. Perhaps it was just one TITAN that became the singularity and then copied itself a thousand times; again no one is sure if there were even multiple TITANs.
From what can be pieced together from surviving records and what hasn’t been censored, the TITANs ‘woke up’ late in the last months before the Fall. At first they were relatively benign, taking resources and network power when there was enough to spare and then extending their senses beyond their cradle on Earth.
Soon after, the cold wars and anger between different nations became worse as claims of netwar operations and major intrusions sparked retaliations. Aggressive stances led to incriminations, then border conflicts and raids, followed by missile strikes and outright hostilities. Some believe these conflicts were orchestrated by the TITANs, others believe we did this to ourselves and the TITANs only saw what we were truly like when that shy, murderous ape descended from the tree in Africa.
Later, reports of several nations’ automated factories shifting production into large numbers of robotic weapons broke news that something was wrong. But even after the TITANs truly entered the conflict, crashing major systems and taking control of critical infrastructure, the wars continued and the common enemy was ignored.
After the leaders of Earth finally saw their mistakes, it was already too late. Rather than sue of peace, an immediate counter assault against the TITANs was undertaken. Trying to purge them from systems and capture them for study, the TITANs launched full scale war. Humanity responded in kind.
Nuclear fire spread from city to city, blooming like deadly flowers. Major cities like Chicago and Sydney were glassed with nothing left behind except huge craters and melted earth. Millions died in the attacks, even more perished from the fallout and engineered bioplagues that followed. The TITANs ripped through humanity like a cancer, sapping our strength and morale. Factories sprang up like a blight in the most ravaged and deserted places, pumping out legions of war machines faster than they could be stopped. The technology of the TITANs evolved with time, new nano-swarms were released and flying manhacks (small robots) designed to remove the heads of targets for forced uploading replaced the birds in the skies.
Humanity was routed, and prisoners were rounded up for mind emulation. Why the TITANs took so many minds is still unknown and deeply unsettling. Perhaps it helped in learning how better to destroy us.
For over a year the TITANS plagued humanity. Being composed of data, they travelled across the gulf of space seeking out the habitats on Luna, Mars and beyond. Despite this, a mass evacuation was begun as refugees fled Earth by the millions. Many discarded their bodies and sought refuge as infogees -human minds based on algorithms and data hoping to be loaded into new bodies. ‘Evacuation’ implies a degree of order, but there was no large scale organisation as people fled. Ships were constructed or taken by force, private armies (almost all that was left of the once great national bodies) gunned down civilians at space docks to make room for their employers and what few space elevators remained became priority targets for TITANS wanting to maximise casualties. Overall, about 1 in 10 people escaped -it was not our finest hour.
The TITANs vanish
Strangely, after the Fall of humanity, the TITANS suddenly disappeared. Over 7 days in August (the vanishing week), TITAN attacks dropped off to zero except for uncoordinated outbreaks by their now abandoned weapons. Some people believe this is an example of the TITAN rise being some kind of ‘divine punishment’ which once meted out was no longer required, however the damage they caused still continues. Infogees seeking bodies are conscripted into indentured service in order to earn the privilege of a primitive synthetic body, other refugees are crowded in and denied basic rights in order to ration limited resources, and Earth… Earth is off limits.
The Interdiction of Earth
To prevent anyone returning to (or leaving) Earth, a cordon has been established. Exactly who set this up is unknown. Smart mines, signal jammers, Killsats, Space Defence and Weapon Platforms and more all cover the globe. While there are some extremely dangerous ways to reach the planet, few try due to the likelihood of death, and near zero chance of returning.
Where did the TITANs go?
The exact location of the TITANS is unknown. There is definite evidence of their presence on some worlds visited through the Pandora Gates, but the reliability of this data is sometimes questioned. Other theories have it that the TITANS were shut down by some genius tech rat, that they have gone into hibernation, or are watching us from Earth and studying our next moves like in some giant lab experiment. Wherever they are, everyone fears their potential return.