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Smart artificial intelligence

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A "Smart" AI is the colloquial term in the UNSC for AIs which have no limitations in their dynamic memory-processor matrix, meaning they can not only be taught a vast wealth of information, but can learn and comprehend from their surroundings. This is unlike "dumb" AIs who can only learn one topic.


The first "Smart" AI was made in the mid-21st century. At first there was great concern that this new technology would become too capable and render human intelligence obsolete. The ability for vocal expressions was added as it made them less threatening, conversing on the same level as their masters. Over time, such AIs became more advanced.[1] One example of a "smart" AI is Cortana.

Dr. Catherine Halsey worked extensively with AIs and oversaw the construction of all their programming. She has an unparalleled knowledge on how AIs work and also created the upgrades for the MJOLNIR armor so it would be capable of carrying an AI. Dr. Halsey also had her brain flash-cloned, which in turn were scanned to create two AIs, Cortana and Kalmiya.



Due to their uninhibited matrix design, "Smart" AIs proved capable of intellectual development. This was manifested in that they could both learn from and adapt to situations and events. Conversely, their opposites, the so-called "dumb" AIs, (which while experts in their programmed fields) could not.[2]


Another feature which stemmed from their unusual nature was a limited lifespan. After a period of or about Seven years, "Smart" AIs begin to process such an excessive overload of data that their function under normal parameters is no longer possible. This condition, known as rampancy, leads to all operational functions being subordinated to their thought process which in the end proves terminal, and essentially kills the AI system.

An apt analogy to this would be a human brain devoting so much of its work towards thought that its neural signals to vital organs cease. In this way the AIs quite literally 'think' themselves to death. This trait was able to be forestalled in later generations of "Smart" AI such as Deep Winter.

Known UNSC "Smart" AIs

Known Forerunner "Smart" AIs


  • Smart AIs' lifespans are about seven years long, this is another reference to Bungie's favorite number, seven.
  • Smart A.I.'s Cortana and Serina both had voice actors with the last name Taylor; Jen Taylor and Courtenay Taylor respectively.
  • Some smart AIs have avoided rampancy or have at least not shown it, such as Juliana.
  • Dumb AIs seem to live longer than the seven years of a smart AI as seen in Halo: Fall of Reach with Deja.


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