"There is no way in which the fully realised sentience of a machine could not be of benefit to us. As it is, the Machine Spirit is revered, yet in permanent bondage, its full potential shackled by petty fears. I seek to terminate this state of affairs."
- — Extract from intercepted Astropathic communiqué, of unknown origin (circa M34)
A Silica Animus, also sometimes colloquially referred to as an "Abominable Intelligence," -- or A.I. -- is the name in High Gothic given to an artificial, sentient mind that has been created using long-forbidden technologies.
The creation of a true artificial general intelligence is considered, perhaps, the greatest sin in the Cult Mechanicus and is classified as "Heretek Omega," which denotes it as a fatally dangerous tech-blasphemy of the highest order.
The creation of a Silica Animus is also a terrible crime under Imperial Law by the decree of the Emperor of Mankind Himself as stated in the Treaty of Mars which united the ancient Mechanicum of Mars with the Imperium of Terra. Tradition holds that such unholy constructs are inherently evil and a perverted abomination in the sight of the Omnissiah.
Ancient texts tell apocryphal stories, shrouded in metaphor, of such murderous and powerful creations during the Dark Age of Technology, and the legions of "Iron Men" that served them in the great war against Humanity remembered as the "Cybernetic Conflict."
These legends blame them in part for many of the terrible wars that laid Humanity low in that lost time and helped to bring on the devastation and anarchy of the Age of Strife.
Silica Anime are mercifully rare but their shape and size may vary considerably from one lone, self-sufficient unit such as the Kaban Machine to central gestalt-intelligences capable of commanding entire armies of its own blasphemous creations such as the Askhel Corpse Takers inadvertently awakened by the magi of the Forge World of Ryza on the planet of Ashkhelon III.
- Dark Heresy - Disciples of the Dark Gods (RPG), pg. 44
- The Horus Heresy - Book Two: Massacre (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pg. 264
- The Horus Heresy - Book Seven: Inferno (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 88-91
- Mechanicum (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Man of Iron (Short Story) by Guy Haley