Origins & Development
Synthletes were first developed by the now defunct Kentan Kambinae Cybernetics Institute around the beginning of the Inspired Epoch. Their purpose was entirely experimental, to prove that lifelike fully functional androids could be created. Their first prototypes, not available to the public, were the Generation 1 models.
These Synthletes were entirely electro-mechanical and looked fairly realistic until they moved or spoke. They were also prone to malfunctions and their intelligence was limited.
In developing the second generation of Synthletes, more emphasis was placed on their artificial intelligence and the proof of concept for the Simulated Intelligence Self-Generating Multiplicative Algorithms or SISGMA, later to be simply referred to as the Genesis System, was created but not used. These Synthletes were vast improvements over the first generation and while they could act fairly normal, their appearance was still not perfect.
Just after starting work on Generation 3, Kentan Kambinae Cybernetics Institute ran out of money and was forced to close, but sold all they had on the Synthlete project to the Chamlain Augmentation Guild. It was their genius that made Synthletes what they are today. Traditionally working on augmenting living tissue with cybernetic implants, the guild was quite adept at combining electro-mechanics with bio-chemical structures.
Thus, they chose to build the third generation of Synthletes out of primarily biosynthetic material, making them fully lifelike in appearance, voice, and movement. They also integrated an updated version of the Genesis System making them able to learn rapidly and constantly improve.
This generation was deamed so successful it was placed on the market for service and labor purposes as the Synthletes were faster, more coordinated, and stronger than any Daeghra, not to mention they had unlimited stamina.
While the third generation Synthletes were wildly popular, a few concerns and complaints were raised. The first concern was that there was no way to tell a Synthlete from a person and that made people wildly uncomfortable. The guild's solution was simple. From then on, all Synthletes would come in bright colors and have pure white and utterly blank eyes.
The main complaint, however, was that in many ways they were not enough like people. They still acted and thought like machines. Intelligent machines, yes, but machines all the same. Every thought followed a certain logic and people found this irritating. The guild's response, after hiring the much acclaimed Grandmaster Hytzal, a developmental psychologist and neuroscientist, was to create a way of realistically simulating emotions and personality traits. This was known as the Newchild System and was directly integrated into the Genesis System making the final generation of Synthletes as lifelike, as much like any Daeghra and intelligent as possible.
Then, seeing an opportunity, the guild began to sell off their schematics to other guilds and corporations who in turn began making their own slightly altered models. Finally, the guild also began producing specialty models.
Over the course of a Synthlete's life, they are able to edit, improve upon, and add to their own programming, meaning they are always improving. Thus, measuring the intelligence of all Synthletes has thus far been impossible. A brand new one is said to have the intelligence of an adolescent, but the maturity of an adult. Models just a year old generally seem to have the intelligence of someone between the ages of 20 and 30. What that says about the much older Synthletes many find unsettling.
Synthletes are equipped with a number of highly useful features. For one, they are faster, stronger, more agile, and perfectly coordinated compared to your average Daeghra. They are also programmed to speak every known language fluently with an appropriate accent.
Their senses are highly attuned, with the exception that they have no sense of smell or taste. They can see across the entire EM spectrum and detect slight vibrations.
In addition, by opening a small flap on the underside of their left forearm and removing a small cable, they can directly interface with any modern technology.
Finally, their eyes are also crude holoprojectors and they can act as a mobile relay.
While an element of it has existed since Synthletes were first announced, it has only been within the last hundred years that the controversy over Synthlete rights has become a major topic of discussion. The vast majority of people see them as simple servile machines, but a minority claims that they are sentient, sapient, and deserve to be treated as equals.
This minority view does seem to be supported somewhat by the ever growing number of reports of Synthletes escaping and seeking freedom.
An underground and secretive faction known as the Mission is believed to be helping these escaped Synthletes, but all attempts to find or contact them have failed and they have been condemned as terrorists.
Though rare, there are certain specialized types of Synthletes, although they are usually of a more primitive intelligence.
Loaders are large and bulky with massive flat feet and long arms designed for moving crates and other heavy objects.
Couriers appear like normal Synthletes save that they are roughly the size of a Bekmyn. Their main functions are speed, accurate navigation, biospore tracking, and have more elaborate holoprojectors built into their chests.
Surveyors appear as just a floating head and are equipped with top of the line scanning and recon technology so they can quickly survey an area for resources, fugitives, or just about anything. Of all the non-standard Synthletes, these are the most intelligent.