Let's Put the Future Behind Us
Virtual intelligences (VIs) are common in the late 23rd century. Due to an international concordat against the creation of true artificial intelligences, all protocols gifted with the power of reason have external limitations placed on their computational capacity.
Ubiquitous in cyberspace, VIs serve a great many functions, from the public to the very private. As there is no official census of the number of VIs in existence, nor any restriction on their creation as long as they adhere to the Turing Codes, it is impossible to estimate the extent of their application.
Public VIs often serve as interfacing agents with c-space, in effect acting as tour guides within their given jurisdiction, whereas research VIs are dedicated to assembling and collating vast amounts of data. However, private VIs often serve a more malign purpose; rumours abound in jockey bars of Black ICE VIs that are capable of wounding and even killing intruders if it is deemed necessary or appropriate.