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sebold
02-10-2010, 14:19
So is there really one? all the mechanus and even normal people and marines talk about it when it somes to equipment and machines, Ranking Admechs are supposedly even able to "talk" to the machines spirit like in space ships and the like, so is there really a machines spirit? or does it just show how backward the Imperium is, to the point that believing a malfunction is an angry machine spirit instead of it being dirty or something else:(

your thoughts?

marv335
02-10-2010, 15:43
Yes there is.
Spend some time as a working engineer and you'll definitely believe.

Deadly Cornbread
02-10-2010, 15:46
Yes there is indeed a machine spirit. Suspend disbelief, and yes the imperium is backwards with technology, but let's look at 2 examples.

The land raider and storm raven come to mind. Their machine spirit firing weapons by no interaction by the crew. Yes this is in game terms, but it makes the most sense to describe it in that way.

So I agree there is a machine spirit, but the techmarines and others that work on these machines have no clue of the operation of them.

I think there is a book describing a spacecraft or something burning up, and an Eldar laughing at a techmarine because he is trying to bless the damaged engine with oil.


*EDIT* I agree with Marv, I'm an aircraft mechanic and believe in machine spirits as well.

Inquisitor_Tolheim
02-10-2010, 15:57
So is there really one? all the mechanus and even normal people and marines talk about it when it somes to equipment and machines, Ranking Admechs are supposedly even able to "talk" to the machines spirit like in space ships and the like, so is there really a machines spirit? or does it just show how backward the Imperium is, to the point that believing a malfunction is an angry machine spirit instead of it being dirty or something else:(

your thoughts?

My random speculation:

Machine spirits are extremely simple AI units designed to monitor technical systems in the Imperium's vehicles. When a techmarine is ritually praying to the machine spirit, he or she is activating redundancy systems that monitor the AI for errors. Most of these are activated by simple voice commands and were designed to run diagnostics on demand, but since the techmarines don't understand the programming it's all just ritual at this point with all the diagnostics pre loaded before a battle.

Furthermore, machine spirits are seen as finicky because the AI might not be properly calibrated for the weapons systems or fuel sources being used at the time. How many tanks in the imperium are frankenstines cobbled together with valuable weapons from other tanks' wrecks?

the1stpip
02-10-2010, 16:05
I agree, they are computers or diagnostic machines.

t-tauri
02-10-2010, 16:18
your thoughts?

Start posting in the correct area.

Moved to background.

AndrewGPaul
02-10-2010, 16:27
My random speculation:

Machine spirits are extremely simple AI units designed to monitor technical systems in the Imperium's vehicles. When a techmarine is ritually praying to the machine spirit, he or she is activating redundancy systems that monitor the AI for errors. Most of these are activated by simple voice commands and were designed to run diagnostics on demand, but since the techmarines don't understand the programming it's all just ritual at this point with all the diagnostics pre loaded before a battle.

Furthermore, machine spirits are seen as finicky because the AI might not be properly calibrated for the weapons systems or fuel sources being used at the time. How many tanks in the imperium are frankenstines cobbled together with valuable weapons from other tanks' wrecks?

As I put it in this post (http://www.warseer.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5008955&postcount=7),
"The term Machine Spirit seems to be used variously to describe three entirely different concepts; there is the machine spirit which is the "soul" of any mechanical device - this is what must be appeased by the proper maintenance rituals, unguents and chants. There is the Machine Spirit which is the computer systems controlling the more autonomous machines - Land Raiders, Servitors, Titan MIUs and the like. This is often conflated with the "soul" Machine Spirit in the minds of the general population; I'm not sure if the higher up members of the Mechanicus appreciate the distinction. Then there's the Machine Spirit as the presence of the Omnissiah/Machine God, either the sum total of all the individual Machine Spirits, or alternatively His power flows from Him into all His holy devices to form their individual Machine Spirits. I imagine the discussion of the latter two opinions forms a large part of Mechanicus theology."

It's also reminiscent of the Christian trinity, although I'm not sure if that's deliberate.

N0-1_H3r3
02-10-2010, 17:26
As I put it in this post (http://www.warseer.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5008955&postcount=7),
"The term Machine Spirit seems to be used variously to describe three entirely different concepts; there is the machine spirit which is the "soul" of any mechanical device - this is what must be appeased by the proper maintenance rituals, unguents and chants. There is the Machine Spirit which is the computer systems controlling the more autonomous machines - Land Raiders, Servitors, Titan MIUs and the like. This is often conflated with the "soul" Machine Spirit in the minds of the general population; I'm not sure if the higher up members of the Mechanicus appreciate the distinction. Then there's the Machine Spirit as the presence of the Omnissiah/Machine God, either the sum total of all the individual Machine Spirits, or alternatively His power flows from Him into all His holy devices to form their individual Machine Spirits. I imagine the discussion of the latter two opinions forms a large part of Mechanicus theology."

It's also reminiscent of the Christian trinity, although I'm not sure if that's deliberate.

In various sources, the Machine Spirit is: the name for an AI of varying complexity;
To elaborate further on this idea, which I broadly agree with:

Machine Spirit is an extremely broad term that covers literally everything from superstitious anthropomorphising of the operation of machinery (something not too far removed from the contemporary inclination to shout at/plead with cars and computers that aren't working quite as we'd like), to sophisticated "smart" systems (targeting systems in electronic gunsights, for example), to rudimentary, almost animalistic 'intellects' in titans, starships and the most sophisticated of Astartes vehicles.

The lines between the different types of Machine Spirit are vague and indistinct at best, and some objects may even be believed to have many machine spirits that all do different things, some of which may be references to actual systems, while others just refer to that superstitious beliefs that come from ignorance about the machines' true function.

As for the Mechanicus... well, odds are, they've got terms that distinguish between the varying types of Machine Spirit more clearly, which become more and more precise the higher within the heirarchy a given Tech-Priest ascends... but those terms don't translate easily into Gothic from the varied binary dialects of the Mechanicus, nor does the Priesthood of Mars particularly wish to enlighten the uninitiated about the distinction.

TyphoonBoon
03-10-2010, 08:44
The machine spirit can be seen as one of two things, either it is a representational form of the part of the emperor that has dominion over imperial technology

or it can be seen as the work of the enslaved Ctan god the void dragon which is trapped within mars, it is rumoured that this god can control technology telepathically =)

FlashGordon
03-10-2010, 09:01
The machine spirit can be seen as one of two things, either it is a representational form of the part of the emperor that has dominion over imperial technology

or it can be seen as the work of the enslaved Ctan god the void dragon which is trapped within mars, it is rumoured that this god can control technology telepathically =)

You are refering to the "Machine god" not "machine spirits"(limited AI and S(imulated)I).

AndrewGPaul
03-10-2010, 09:46
The two may not be entirely separate.

FlashGordon
03-10-2010, 10:06
Elaborate.

AndrewGPaul
03-10-2010, 12:42
I already have, in post # 7. While it's admittedly somewhat speculative, I don't recall any material which explicitly denies any possible connection.

Yresk
03-10-2010, 14:18
the machine spirit is often only encountered by the higher upp technology from primitive targeting AI and upp to the Titans damage control and MUI. that is where the machine spirit accualy takes place and is used.

however. the imperium is a backwards place and technology is not always known and even respeced in their own way. but you will see the normal guardsmen praying that his gun will work and appease its spirit. there is a prayer: machine spirit accept my gift. swallow the light and spit out death.

and there are several other things like the litany of the lasgun the litany of unjaming and the list goes on. the machine spirit alive because humans belive it to be alive and therefore it is.

Lord Damocles
03-10-2010, 18:34
or it can be seen as the work of the enslaved Ctan god the void dragon which is trapped within mars, it is rumoured that this god can control technology telepathically =)
Rumoured by people who just made it up...

:eyebrows:

Askil the Undecided
03-10-2010, 21:11
Dredge, dredge, dredge... Oh yes my answer to another thread in the procession that endlessly repeats this question.


A machine spirit in the technological sense is an organic consciousness (within a brain) synthetically grown or otherwise that runs some or all of a machine's functions and little else due to extensive modification and programming (it's also in the religious gobbledygook sense the thing that makes things stay shiny, a combat knife stay sharp or a breastplate repel a hit) they are supposedly pleased by regular maintainence, incense and rituals. They are at a basic level "jacked in" human brains on life support systems and must be artificially sustained because they cannot do so themselves.

AI on the other hand is an inorganic conciousness and has no reason to not turn on it's creators it can decide to do anything it wants to. It exists only as data so it can copy itself exponentially and cannot die, it is capable of being self-sustaining and enduring indefinately without maintainence.

Also Titans absorb psychic residue from their crews especially the princeps over the millenia it forms a subconscious gestalt personality but it is not an intellegence merely a pale reflection of the many minds that have touched it. Titans don't think or feel for themselves they simply reflect all the reactions and thoughts of all the neuro-linked crew members since their contruction.

As such AI's are banned on pain of a terribly, terribly slow and nasty death when they eventually unhook you from the excruciation engines and let you die. Titans are sacred warmachines and Machine spirits are not artificial and in certain cases not real.


I have found a little fluff backup.

"Power of the machine spirit is what some refer to as a vehicle's automatic systems. The advanced system consists of a combination of organic and mechanical components within the vehicle, and is able to logically control the vehicle's movement and fire its weapons at enemies. Not all vehicles are equipped with such systems; a vehicle that is, could with some success operate entirely on its own without a crew"

4th ed codex space marines.

"however Titans eventually form their own minds from centuries of experience."

Adeptus Titanicus. (I may be wrong on this.)

The Imperium is tolerant of nothing it has outlawed it's just that just about nobody understands the technology well enough to detect and prosecute breaches of the ancient laws.

FlashGordon
04-10-2010, 09:24
Dredge, dredge, dredge... Oh yes my answer to another thread in the procession that endlessly repeats this question.

Halleluja. :chrome:

Sai-Lauren
04-10-2010, 12:15
The current day 40k Machine Spirit is the RT-era Auto-Aim, Auto-Drive and Auto-Facilities run together - it's effectively an expert system that can operate the vehicle.

What all the ritual and superstition covers is millenia of activity without understanding - we know how, say, a car engine works, but to someone in the 40k universe (even in the AM), that knowledge is either lost or obfuscated - to them it really is magic, and whilst they may have some of the theory, they don't have the understanding that even running them through the four-stroke cycle, how the ignition timing works and so on wouldn't help.

AndrewGPaul - I'm sure there's parts of the AM that believe Machine Spirits are a part of the Machine God, and others that believe that they're effectively "angels" of the Machine God, and so on, until all they need is a small spark and there's a holy war going on between the various factions. :)


Yes there is.
Spend some time as a working engineer and you'll definitely believe.

Agreed, although I call it Mechanical Personality.

Take a bolt in a car engine. At first glance, it may look identical to any other bolt in an engine, but now examine it more closely - the dimensions it was made to have tolerances (usually 100ths of a mm), so the bolt could be wider or shorter than another. Then think about the crystalline structure of the bolt, the densities of impurities and alloying elements in it and so on. Any one bolt is as unique as you or I.

Now multiply that individuality by the number of bolts in an engine, all the pistons, the gears, pushrods, the connrod, wheels, bearings and so on - every single car that rolls off an assembly line is subtly different.

By the time you're a few years down the line, doing different mileage, in different weathers and at different times, you could swap your car for another that came off the production line in the same hour of the same day, and it would behave differently enough that you'd be able to notice.

AndrewGPaul
04-10-2010, 15:19
AndrewGPaul - I'm sure there's parts of the AM that believe Machine Spirits are a part of the Machine God, and others that believe that they're effectively "angels" of the Machine God, and so on, until all they need is a small spark and there's a holy war going on between the various factions. :)


Yes, the Adeptus Mechanicus is just the sort of place to breed all sorts of competing theologies; is the Machine God the source of Machine Spirits? the gestalt total of Machine Spirits? a C'Tan? The Emperor as the personification of all human knowledge? something else?
Is the pinnacle of scientific study the invention of new machines, the improvement of existing designs or simply to catalogue and preserve the STC patterns? Should men use thechnology to preserve and rejuvenate the original flesh or is the way to enlightenment to move on from corruptible flesh to pure machines?

The beauty of a galaxy-spanning ancient secret society is that you can have all these competing, contradictory beliefs being held at once. It is really irrelevant which one, if any is "true" in the setting.

Sai-Lauren
04-10-2010, 15:42
Yes, the Adeptus Mechanicus is just the sort of place to breed all sorts of competing theologies; is the Machine God the source of Machine Spirits? the gestalt total of Machine Spirits? a C'Tan? The Emperor as the personification of all human knowledge? something else?
Is the pinnacle of scientific study the invention of new machines, the improvement of existing designs or simply to catalogue and preserve the STC patterns? Should men use thechnology to preserve and rejuvenate the original flesh or is the way to enlightenment to move on from corruptible flesh to pure machines?

The beauty of a galaxy-spanning ancient secret society is that you can have all these competing, contradictory beliefs being held at once. It is really irrelevant which one, if any is "true" in the setting.
Especially when you can then use them to kickstart or spin off into all the plot threads you could ever desire, and make "the truth" that which is held by the victors. :)

Aliarzathanil
08-10-2010, 07:16
I always wondered what they meant by "organic" components, especially in the more sophisticated machine spirits. Could the machine spirit of a titan incorporate parts of a great carnivores brain? That'd be kinda badass. Maybe wire up a badger brain in a Landraider...

Askil the Undecided
08-10-2010, 08:34
How did you manage to wonder what they meant by "organic" components? Almost every other machine has a version where the makers didn't bother to chop the rest of the servitor off.

Basically Imperial Organic computer components are living human brains in a box. htey do this partially because it's a quite efficient and powerful computer and partially because soulless machine intelligences are illegal and heretical.

Aliarzathanil
08-10-2010, 10:40
How do you know they're human? Seems a bit presumptuous. That's the part I "managed to wonder" about.

MajorWesJanson
08-10-2010, 12:16
I always wondered what they meant by "organic" components, especially in the more sophisticated machine spirits. Could the machine spirit of a titan incorporate parts of a great carnivores brain? That'd be kinda badass. Maybe wire up a badger brain in a Landraider...

I recall that Warhound titans were initially imprinted with the personality of a wolf, and Warlords with that of a bear, and over time the various princeps add to that personality as they link with it.

Sai-Lauren
08-10-2010, 13:20
Servitors can be made from humans (it's used as a form of capital punishment), but some are also bio-constructs, made from vat grown tissues.

Theoretically, they could use non-human material (titan control systems are based on carnivore brain patterns, and the easiest way to do that is implant the brain in a support system feeding it nutrients), although I wonder if religious doctrines would prevent that (humans are the ultimate pinnacle of evolution and whilst some are useful, all other species are inferior).

AndrewGPaul
08-10-2010, 16:56
It says carnivore brain patterns, not necessarily carnivore brains.

I'd also mention that "organic" =/= "biological", but I don't think the GW writers appreciated that fact. Still, using even biological components doesn't imply the use of whole harvested organs. Where does it actually state Imperial computers use brains as processors?

Askil the Undecided
09-10-2010, 03:35
It says carnivore brain patterns, not necessarily carnivore brains.

I'd also mention that "organic" =/= "biological", but I don't think the GW writers appreciated that fact. Still, using even biological components doesn't imply the use of whole harvested organs. Where does it actually state Imperial computers use brains as processors?

It doesn't, but seeing a some devices clearly do, like servitor turrets and that horrendous disembodied servitor head in Kal Jericho that is used as a living high secruity data stick it is heavily implied.

Also think of one useful biological component for a machine that exists for the purpose of housing a limited self aware cyberorganic intelligence that cannot by sacred law be an artificial construct,

In short a cyberorganic brain with an imprinted/programmed "personality" with organic components, sounds like a job for a brain to me, or at least bits of one.

Hellebore
09-10-2010, 07:42
In RT they refer to biochips. Basically talking about the control mechanisms of robots etc being constructed out of biological materials to create 'brains'.

Hellebore

adeptusphotographicus
09-10-2010, 09:39
I work in live sound, concerts and the like. Since in my field almost no one understands how any of the gear they use really works they view my abilty to use and fix things as mysterious. as such I speak of things as Tech Priest might.

Recently was able to rip off a great line.. The guitarist broke his amp since it fell in the truck. He asked what was wrong with it.. I replied " the machine spirit was offended by its rough treatment and refused to awaken. By supplicating it with offerings of these augries ( aka fuzes and tubes) I hope to appease its anger thus reawaken its spirit. "
He just nodded and said " tell it I am sorry"
So you see there is a machine spirit in almost every machine.

Dr. Darke
11-10-2010, 07:06
AdeptPhoto: That is so awesome, I lack words to descibe it.. :D

I recently worked on a steam turbine on a powerplant that went down, we dismantled it and put it pack together 3 times, with error-margins on measurements down to 1/1000 of a milimeter(on a turbine 12 meters long!) and still the thing wouldn't work... At that point I really considered the Machine Spirit of the thing had gone sour because of our fiddleling.

More on topic, I agree that most of the technoligy(spelling?) used by the imperium do not have a Machine-spirit as such, but the superstition of the users "believe" them to have one as the more advanced pieces of tech DO have it.
For example, Land-raider HAS a physical Machine-spirit unit, but no-one (except maybe tech-priests) really understands how it works other than it is responsive to prayers/litanies. So, in that belief system, a lasgun does not have a Machine-spirit, but how is to say it is not responsive to litanies/prayers.

Sai-Lauren
11-10-2010, 10:31
Where does it actually state Imperial computers use brains as processors?

The RT-era robots had cortex's, which were neural tissue.

Plus there are things like titan gun-servitors, which are hardwired into the titan and seem mostly to be a way of getting around the no-AI restriction, without needing additional crew. All they really need is the mental abilities to "run" the targetting and weapon control "programs", nutrients could be supplied via IVs, or even just pumped into a support fluid surrounding the hard-wired brain (and thus eliminating the rest of the body, minimising the amount of nutrients they need to store for each servitor (as there's less wetware to maintain) and saving some space).

It's also nice and gothic in feel :) (I can easily imagine a worker in an AM factory showing some skill with a cutting torch, and being taken off by a magos for servitorisation, just so that the factory has that skill for centuries, rather than the normal lifespan of the worker) and whilst I'd normally come down against "the grimdark", in this case, there's other reasons that stop it from just being grimdark for grimdark's sake.

AndrewGPaul
11-10-2010, 12:21
I'll need to go back and check that about the robots. IIRC, according to the RT book the Imperium used many kinds of computers - biological systems were one kind, but not the only ones used.

It's not so much the fact that living tissue is used; I question the claim that it's the only system used.

And agin, what is the source of the "ban on AI"? I don't recall it being in the rulebooks or in Mechanicum. There is the self-aware robot mention in the Horus Heresy: Collected Visions book which turned up in Mechanicum, but I'll need to go and read that again - was it AI in general or just that specific machine that was prohibited?

Sai-Lauren
11-10-2010, 12:48
Depends on whether you mean there's no electronics, or whether "thinking machines" only have biological tissues.

I'd personally say that lower end processing systems that don't border on AI territory would be electronic, but where something more advanced is required, the main part of a high end processing system is biological, with electronic systems as required to aid the processing (whether that's a hard drive for storage, or an automatic stimulant injector to "overclock" it if necessary).

The AI ban is from multiple different sources throughout 40ks history - mostly it's from the information about the war with the Iron Men, and it's aftermath.

AndrewGPaul
11-10-2010, 19:51
That's what I thought - a lot of reading between the lines and "things we don't do" rather than an absolute ban - nothing concrete like the Orange Catholic Bible's "Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind." Plenty of room for differences of opinion, competing ideologies and accusations of heretek. :)