Artificial intelligence or A.I. was developed by the UNSC in cooperation with ONI. The process of creating an AI is different than most people realize. Instead of simply "programming" an AI, the AI matrix is actually created by sending electric bursts through the neural pathways of a human brain which are then replicated in a superconducting nano-assemblage. This destroys the original brain tissue however, and so the brain being used could only be obtained after the host had died. However, in some instances, as in the case of Cortana, the candidate brain was flash-cloned and had it's memories transferred to the receptacle organs so that the host, Dr. Catherine Halsey, could remain alive.
Forerunner installations also possess A.I. structures which are far superior to either of the other races, but the surviving specimens display stages of Rampancy because they are over 100,000 years old.
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