Halo Alpha
Halo Alpha

A smart AI is a term in the UNSC for AIs that have no limitations in their dynamic memory-processor matrix, which means that 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 was scanned to create two AIs, Cortana and Kalmiya.


Due to their uninhibited matrix design, smart AIs are capable of intellectual development, allowing them to both learn from and adapt to situations and events. Other AIs—nicknamed "dumb AIs"—cannot.[2]

Another feature which stemmed from their unusual nature was a limited lifespan. After a period of 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 essentially kills the AI system. An analogy 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 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[]