The Artificial Intelligences (AI's, or Silicates) are human-looking, walking computers (robots in other words) built to be servants and soldiers for the human race. Designed to be visually pleasing, the A.I.'s are beautiful physical specimens. However, their eyes are eerie white with rifle sight-like crosshairs in place of pupils. They are programmed to comprehend abstract concepts such as philosophy and ethics, but they were restricted from creating and acting on original ideas.
All silicates are linked to each other and form a kind of network, so one of them automatically knows where each of their silicate hive-members is. They can also communicate with each other by sending messages on radio waves.
When a disgruntled employee of Silicatronics -the corporation which manufactured A.I.'s - took it upon himself to insert a virus into the A.I.'s mainframe system with the simple phrase Take a chance this created AI:s that were more self-sufficient and independent of humans.
With the A.I.'s a risk-taking perspective on life, they revolted against their human masters and the AI-wars began. Take a Chance became the new A.I. motto and the Earth became a deadly battleground. The War moved into space after numerous years of terrorism on planet Earth.
Following their Take a Chance philosophy, an aggressive group of A.I.'s commandeered a military spacecraft and launched themselves into space, expanding the boundaries of their bloody battle against the "Carbonites" — their technical name for humans.
In this war, human casualties were very high, so they needed a lot of soldiers. For this purpose a new human race was created, which is known as InVitros. This new race should have produced very good soldiers, but they didn't want to fight in the AI-war though those who fought were extraordinary soldiers.
At last the humans won the AI-wars and the remaining silicates escaped into deep space where they became a kind of space pirates or terrorists.
The Chigs and the A.I.'s seem to be cautious allies, as related by the A.I.'s on Kazbek, a mining facility which the A.I.'s operate for the Chigs. A.I.'s have performed mercenary-type work for the Chigs to maintain this relationship (e.g. Elroy-L was sent to the Saratoga to make up for the failure of the A.I.'s at Kazbek). It is probable that the A.I.'s have given information on Carbonites (humans) to the Chigs, but in exchange for what remains a mystery.
They probably did this because of their Take a Chance motto, they just gambled on the possibility of the Chigs winning the war. But also their hatred against Carbonites (humans) was a good reason to take the side of the Chigs.
The survivors of the Vesta Colony? had to work in an alien mining facility, and some of them were tortured by the AI's.