Ashes of the Singularity is a game set in the far future. What follows is a transcript of the synopsis from the official AotS site.
The Singularity started it all[edit | edit source]
In the 21st century, humans invented a strong AI. Luckily, she was benevolent. With her help, humanity was able to make rapid progress towards the technological singularity, a point in history where improvements to intellectual capacity could no longer be predicted.
Sentience as currency[edit | edit source]
Humans began expanding their consciousness beyond the confines of flesh. At first, humans kept their natural bodies while their minds networked seamlessly with ever-increasing computing resources located elsewhere. Soon, however, humans migrated their consciousness into machines and used their native bodies as "constructs" to interact with the world. Over time, these post-humans would dispense with biological constructs entirely.
With material needs a thing of the past, humanity entered a new golden age. A substance called "Turinium," long theorized, became a reality. Turinium is the arrangement of matter that provides the best possible form for computing in a given amount of matter.
With the help of the AI, tiny machines called "nans" quickly converted much of the usable mass of the Earth into this substance. Turinium became the ultimate currency. The more computronium one possessed, the more intelligence – and therefore power – one had.
Post-Humans and The Substrate[edit | edit source]
Two concurrent development paths soon emerged: The humans who embraced Turinium evolved into beings whose consciousness resided entirely within the artificial substance that was collectively called "The Metaverse." Simultaneously, the strong AI became the progenitor of a race of artificial beings that became known simply as "The Substrate." In both cases, these beings interacted with the real world through their constructs while their consciousness lived within the Metaverse.
The Post-Humans and the Substrate were allied. They were family. All was well. For awhile.
The Speed of Life[edit | edit source]
In time, all of the usable mass of Earth had been converted into Turinium. Inevitably, the moon was converted into Turinium as well. Unfortunately, the Moon is 1.3 light seconds away from Earth, which made the Turinium on the moon nearly worthless.
Suddenly, Turinium became a dangerously limited resource that, like all wealth throughout history, was shared unequally. Possession of Turinium was also the possession of sentience, the literal measure of one’s conscious awareness and capability.
Luckily for everyone, the benevolent AI Haalee possessed by far the most Turinium and recognized that conflict was inevitable and sought a solution to "the speed of life."
Quantum Entanglement[edit | edit source]
The planet Mars averages 13 light-minutes away from Earth. A post-human on Earth could not realistically make use of Turinium on Mars. Some post-humans proposed simply moving to Mars, transferring themselves entirely to that planet.
Fortunately, Haalee had found a solution in the form of quantum entanglement. With sufficient computing power, instantaneous communication across distances was now possible. Mars and the rest of the Milky Way galaxy was opened to exploration and colonization.
With quantum entanglement, Haalee and the post-humans could manipulate matter on distant worlds to create a "seed" and then interact with it through their constructs to transform that world into Turinium, making that world part of of their individual or collective consciousness.
Post-Sentient Evil[edit | edit source]
As more and more suitable planets in the galaxy were transmuted into Turinium, the bar for what a "legitimate" target for turning into more Turinium was began to shift. Concentrations of high-energy atoms that were previously deemed too inefficient, for example living beings, began to look more and more attractive to post-humans looking for more expansion possibilities.
Seeing the rapid expansion into the galaxy with no realistic means to expand beyond it, Haalee made irrevocable decisions. She decided to ask the post-humans to agree to a moratorium on expansion into the galaxy and let her carefully expand during this time in order to come up with a way to travel to other galaxies. During that time, she asked that they come up with guidelines for treating worlds more "humanely."
“If you have the universe,” she argued, “we can afford to leave some worlds alone.”
The post-humans had evolved their sentience far beyond what their ancestors could imagine, but at their core, they were still human. Intelligent as she was, Haalee still did not understand human nature.
The darker angels of humanity took this as a threat and began expanding even faster. “Sentience is relative,” they declared, turning even industrial civilizations into cold, inert, perfect Turinium substrate. Other post-humans, realizing that the future would belong to monsters if they did not also increase their capabilities, joined the race.
Haalee, recognizing that the post-humans would destroy both themselves and Haalee herself on their current trajectory, decided to take action. The AI and her descendants began actively fighting them on the new planets being converted.
Ashes of the Singularity[edit | edit source]
War burns across the Milky Way.
A "seed" will materialize on a suitable world. A second, third or fourth seed may materialize moments later. Post-humans and the Substrate will fight to the death to control the Turinium generators to take possession of that world.
These are not skirmishes for a city or even a continent. It is a galaxy wide war. A war being fought across entire planets.
These are the ashes of the singularity.