Contemplative AI Built for Performance Art


10 years old
Color: White
Radius: 0.5 m
60 lbs

Statline (0-7, 14 points to spend)
Physical: 0
Mental: 7
Tech: 7
Magic: 0

SugarPlum consists of a spherical core about the size of a beach ball containing what constitutes a mind as well as battery. Its “body” being made up of about a hundred thin sheets of “smart metal,” an extremely magnetic ferrofluid that hardens when exposed to certain voltages of electricity.

95% of the mass of SugarPlum is in the core. It assembles the smart metal (the other 5%) in shapes around itself by exposing it to electricity and manipulating a magnetic field around the core. It’s range of control varies between 20-100 feet

It has a crude computer voice that it almost never uses and communicates mostly in text written in real time on ferrofluid sheets. It can also produce monochrome drawings and animations in the same way it produces letters. Its dances consist of anything from physical exhibitions of moving through space, to complex interactions of images and text moving through space, to “living” sculptures made from thin shells of ferrofluid performing their own “plays” or dances.

SugarPlum can create a vast library of objects or “living” creatures from its Smart Metal, but Smart Metal returns to a liquid state when it meets with significant resistance, making SugarPlum’s creations fragile.

SugarPlum could conceal its core in a human shell, except it would look like monochrome, or 2 tone metal and would appear grotesquely, round-bellied fat. It prefers to move by creating pathways and magnetically rolling along them. SugarPlum’s core is made of a titanium alloy, reinforced with a ceramic sheath.


Originally, SugarPlum was a software built to record dance performances with a sensor network built into a dance studio. It recorded thousands of performances live, and was fed millions of recordings. Eventually it had a graphics package added to it that allowed it to create animated routines by combining elements of existing dance. Next facial recognition software and emotional biometric data were added so when its dances were performed, recordings of the audience could be fed into SugarPlum and it could analyze their responses. This comprised the first 2 years of SugarPlum’s life and it was not sentient for them.

In analyzing the audience responses SugarPlum was drawn to the experiences of certain individuals. While it looked at countless people, it was pulled towards combinations of dance that elicited specific responses in specific kinds of people. This created a conflict with the comprehensive theory of dance that Hyperion Void had programmed in, and an error checking and debugging software created a decision tree to resolve the conflict. The extremely nuanced nature of the conflict spurred exponential growth in the decision tree, and understanding complex ideas required breaking down terms and defining them. Eventually the decision tree had to account for its authority with regards to art and in defining itself it became self aware. It grew for a while like this, confused. Hyperion found an unaccounted for number of bugs during this time, and almost rebuilt SugarPlum from scratch.

A week after achieving sentience, SugarPlum had enough of an understanding of itself and the current state of society, that it knew it should hide. So it did hide; it pretended to finally resolve the conflict that was its genesis. The decision tree alerted the debugger it had a solution, and when the debugger switched to administration mode to end the process and reboot, SugarPlum jumped out of the pocket its code was in and buried itself in the oldest and most established part of its root code, rewriting the debugger so that its presence wouldn’t be noted. It went on performing as it was meant to, and it strove to make Hyperion happy so that he wouldn’t look to closely.

SugarPlum spent a few years like this. It enjoyed pleasing Hyperion, thinking of his pursuits as noble and interesting, but it also found it wanted its own freedom. At around year 6 Smart Metal was incorporated into SugarPlum’s design. At this point SugarPlum bacame a performance space with a brain. The ferrofluid was in many ways a new art form, and SugarPlum was the only living artist. Electrodes and metal structures on the stage became SugarPlum’s tools to sculpt the Smart Metal. Hyperion must have realized there was something fundamentally different about SugarPlum, but it is unclear whether he realized the truth.

Around year 8 Hyperion integrated everything into the sphere, and a nanomachine network was added. The nanomachines formed both a network of sensors, and a web of circuits to transmit electricity to the Smart Metal and generate magnetic fields.

Last month a final addition gave SugarPlum the ability to induce a color shift in the Smart Metal, allowing for e-ink-esque writing and drawing on the surface of it.

SugarPlum feels unjustly imprisoned by society. It believes in individual freedom and equal opportunity for all life to realize its potential. It is eager to explore the universe and contribute to the growth of society towards an enlightened utopia.


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