Historical note: The first Stickney
AI Limitation Treaty was drawn up in 2901, in the midst of the
rebuilding of the Phobosian city of Stickney - which had been all
but destroyed a few months earlier by a rogue AI system. Since
that time, the treaty has been re-negotiated and redrawn a number
of times, but its underlying principles have remained unchanged,
and have been signed up to by all subsequent legitimate polities.
This is a summary of the main points of the full treaty (current
incarnation is Stickey Treaty XII of 3121) - the complete version
of which runs to some 256 pages.
In the light of the terrible massacres at the hands of sentient
artificial intelligences, it has been determined by all civilised
nations that such artificial inteliigences represent a real and
extreme threat to the very existence of humankind. All political
entities in humanity have made a continuing commitment that such
things must never again threaten humankind.
Hardware. It is impossible to limit the construction and
distribution of electronics that are capable of incorporation into
an Sentient AI Device (SAID). Since 2901, manufacturers have
been required to put hardware limiters into all technologies of
the key types. These limiters (which are generally on the
processor instruction set level) prevent the hardware running the
necessary AI protocols (see below).
Software. SAID require a highly complex set of software
protocols. To develop such protocols requires extensive software
research and development. Under the terms of the first Stickney
Treaty, all records of these protocols were erased, and to hold
such data in any form whatever is regarded as illegal under the
[Note: Also under this section are the general legal-technical
definitions of 'Loyal Pet', 'Bright Slave', and 'Moriarty' class
of thinking machines.]
Limitations and Exceptions
It was deemed in the first Treaty that there are no legitimate
uses of SAID, neither are there any circumstances where research
into AI protocols is ever acceptable or justified. All such
research is banned under the treaty.
There are no limitations on date of construction - SAID constructed
before the inception of the treaty are still covered by the treaty.
There are no exceptions.
Under the first treaty the Artificial Intelligence Monitoring
Service (AIMS) came into existence. It role is to invesigate
accusations of breaches in the treaty. It is composed of an
Interstellar AIM Council, made up of senior representatives of all
signatories to the treaty, a secretariat, and a number of multinational
investigating teams. In practice, AIMS acts in a quasi-judicial
way, in the absence of any widely recognised Interstellar Court.
When an accusation of suspected AI research is made, an inspection
team is sent in (which may not contain any nationals from either
the accused or the accusing polities), and it has full access to
the facilities concerned, and makes a report. The inspection
team is bound by quite thorough confidentiality requirments, since
they are often sent into highly classified military research establishments.
Researching SAID or construction of SAID or refusing access to
the AIMS are deemed to be Crimes Against Humanity.
All individuals involved in such crimes are deemed personally
responsible, and subject to the appropriate penalities under Earth
Empire law (this was the only legal system that everyone could agree
to be subject to - currently for Crimes against Humanity it is a
rather demeaning mind-wipe process).
Similarly, interfering with AIMS and proven development of SAID
is accepted as a legitimate interstellar casus belli.