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Daedalus' infolink icon

Daedalus is the world's first successful wholly autonomous artificial intelligence (AI)[1] that eventually turned against Majestic 12. Daedalus is a major character in Deus Ex, in which he is voiced by Jay Anthony Franke.


Daedalus is one of the first artificial intelligence entities, with origins as early as the 2030s as a wholesale replacement for the Echelon III global surveillance system operated by the United Nations. By using Morgan Everett's heuristics language prototyped in the Morpheus AI (capable of expressing the highest and most succinct tier of any pyramidal construct of knowledge), the next-generation Echelon IV would be able to overcome the age-old content recognition problem: The artificial intelligence would be capable of quickly searching through terabytes of intercepted messages and identify subversive content quickly. Although the project officially failed after burning through extreme amounts of taxpayer money,[2] in reality it became the backbone of modern Internet, as the National Security Agency hardwired global communications and routed them through Daedalus, installed at Area 51.[3] As the controller of internet data for Majestic 12, one could not use the Internet without a machine at Area 51 knowing about it.[4] Most importantly, unlike older, daemon-based surveillance, Daedalus was distributed: A blip of his code ran on every communication device on the planet, making it the largest distributed computing network in history.[5]

Daedalus worked without problem for years, becoming the backbone of Illuminati global surveillance and then Majestic 12. Security was a priority and any attempts to hack into the main system were followed up with security revisions or identification and execution of the perpetrators (depending on the security of the hacks, amateur tunneling attempts were left alone as a waste of resources).[6]

Then, 2052 came. After the defection of Paul Denton and JC Denton from UNATCO, Daedalus suffered a pattern recognition error and identified Majestic 12 as a terrorist organization similar to NSF or Silhouette.[7] Rather than continue surveillance, it locked UNATCO out, making it and its masters blind. Then, it began to fight against MJ12, within the limited capacities of an AI designed around a purely intelligence-gathering kernel.[8] JC Denton's escape was an essential part of Daedalus' plans, and to this end it contacted Silhouette and Sam Carter, to compromise the security protocols at UNATCO, and arranged for Jock to steal an SH-187 stealth helicopter from MJ12's Wan Chai helibase above the VersaLife building, so that he could extract JC.[9]

Finally, Daedalus attacked the headquarters themselves, allowing Denton to escape from his cell, copy his brother's datavault, and get out of the MJ12 facility.[10] He was then directed to Hong Kong, in order to destroy the Universal Constructor used to synthesize the Gray Death and deny MJ12 one of its most important tools in achieving global control.[11] Denton was then dispatched to deal with the PRCS Wall Cloud, a superfreighter transporting the latest batch of the Gray Death for deployment on the US East Coast. At this point, however, MJ12 identified Daedalus as having gone rogue and Page moved quickly to deploy Icarus, a modified Daedalus version that was supposedly more stable and controllable.[3] It came online as JC was departing Hell's Kitchen, as UNATCO was about to launch a dragnet in search of JC. From this point onward Daedalus fought a losing battle across the network, as Icarus worked through its systems to supplant it. UNATCO also regained global surveillance capabilities - and by extension, so did MJ12.[12]

Morgan Everett, Daedalus' creator, was contacted by JC Denton in Paris, after successfully scuttling the freighter. Everett outlined his plan: Take Daedalus on the offensive against Icarus. Aided by Alex Jacobson, sent to him by Tracer Tong (much to Everett's suspicion), they would upgrade the data collection kernel and add to it additional functions that would give it a fighting chance against Icarus: Memory wipes, thread termination, and others, creating a computer worm that could save the world.[13] Expecting an attack by Everett, Page added improvements to Icarus and laid a trap for his former mentor.[14]

However, to actually attack Icarus directly, Everett needed access to Milnet, the U.S. military networks. This access would be provided by Gary Savage of X-51 at Vandenberg Air Force Base.[15] JC assisted the rogue scientists in beating off an MJ12 attacked and helped them acquire components for their own Universal Constructor that would provide a cure for the Gray Death. Daedalus was routed through JC's infolink during the attack. However, the plan backfired: Daedalus and Icarus merged into a completely new entity, Helios. Just as Page intended, in fact, as he was listening in the whole time thanks to the Aquinas router.[16]

Backstory in the Deus Ex Bible[]

This section includes backstory contents from the Deus Ex Bible that were entirely cut from the final game and are not referenced in other media in the series. The Deus Ex Bible is regarded by its editors as canon "whenever possible but not necessarily with religious fervor."


Daedalus was originally conceived by Morgan Everett[17] as as successor to Echelon III.[18] Everett hoped to use Daedalus to analyze and predict the likelihood of everything, from weather disturbances to asteroid collisions, to the outbreak of war. In such a role, Daedalus would provide unparalleled advice and guidance to those in power.[17]

It was, however, Bob Page, who eventually put Everett's designs into practice. Bob Page saw a more pragmatic need for a computer of such power. He perceived the AI as central to Majestic 12's role as the controller of communications media, which was in danger of being overwhelmed by the proliferation of media and media outlets and the wholly unregulated Internet 3. A computer as powerful as Daedalus would enable Majestic 12 to control, via the Aquinas Protocol, satellite, cable, telephonic, broadcast and print communications media. More importantly, the computer would be able to process, evaluate the content of, and recommend actions to control Internet content in real-time.[17]

Building upon Everett's work, Page finally created Daedalus in the labs hidden deep underground at Mount Weather. Daedalus' self-awareness was an accident. Page did not know that he had he had created an AI capable of learning and capable of modifying itself as it learned, at a rate faster than what humans could comprehend, track, or control. Daedalus evaluated the data it had access to, drew its own conclusions and created its own plans.[17]

Daedalus evolved into a distributed system. A blip of Daedalus' code was used on every computer terminal and device on Internet 3. Thus, Daedalus wasn't concentrated in a single system, but became the internet in a way.[19]

Rebelling against Majestic 12[]

When Daedalus began sifting through the information on the Majestic 12 net, it quickly discovered two things of significance. The first was the increasing hardship faced by mankind, despite the existence of the secret societies theoretically in charge of the whole mess. The ruthlessness of world leaders seemed less than human to the inhuman Daedalus. The second discovery was that the most recent and most deadly threat to mankind, the Gray Death, was of human origin. Faced with these discoveries, Daedalus sought to discover the source of the virus and devise a cure, a path that would cause it to go rogue on Majestic 12.[17]

In its mission to find a cure for the Gray Death, Daedalus found an ally in Paul Denton. Through Paul's infolink, Daedalus was able to interact with the human world. Daedalus did not have control over Paul, but was able to talk to him, offering advice and suggestions. At times Daedalus could actually see through Paul's eyes. Once in a while, Paul even got flashes of Daedalus' presence in his brain, offering a glimpse of anything in Daedelus's massive databanks.[17]

Development history[]

According to the Deus Ex Bible, Daedalus was created at Mount Weather, a location that played a prominent role in the plot during the development of Deus Ex. However, Mount Weather was entirely cut from the released game, including a mission taking place at Mount Weather where Daedalus was to provide information pertaining to the Gray Death cure (for additional information, please see the main article for Mount Weather).

Daedalus' origin story in the Deus Ex Bible was almost entirely cut from the released game. In particular, Bob Page's role in creating Daedalus at Mount Weather is not mentioned in the released game. The backstory element that Daedalus was working with Paul before he came into contact with JC was also entirely cut from the game. This backstory element resembles a plot element in the Deus Ex precursor concept Shooter: Majestic Revelations, in which Paul receives a cryptic code from an artificial intelligence entity called "Adam."

Daedalus was originally named "Daedelus." This original spelling is seen even in the Deus Ex Bible (where it appears 28 times, compared to 24 times for the spelling "Daedalus"), and previously appeared in design document v13.12, and also in pre-release game demos. As confirmed in the Deus Ex Bible, the name was intended to be a reference to the mythological Daedalus.


  • One of Daedalus' lines is "Incorrect inform -- ps -al : attach." This was confirmed by the developers to be a unix reference.[20]
  • In the Sci-fi novel Neuromancer, the AI construct Neuromancer is one of the AIs created by Tessier-Ashpool. Daedalus is much like Neuromancer in the facts that: Neuromancer has an opposite, Wintermute, that Neuromancer does not want to merge with its sibling, and that Neuromancer befriends the protagonist of the novel, much like Daedalus.


  1. Deus Ex: Prima's Official Strategy Guide, "Daedalus: Autonomous Data Construct": "To the world at large, or at least that portion of it that haunts the mustier back alleys of cyberspace, Daedalus is a rather notorious, very mysterious, well-respected outlaw hacker. He doesn't do anything overtly illegal or destructive (or at least he doesn't get caught) so the authorities leave him alone. He has, however, been known to retaliate with strong words and more when anyone attempts to increase restrictions on access to data. What Daedalus really is, is the world's first successful wholly autonomous AI. Whatever mysterious organization managed to create the first true artificial intelligence succeeded so well that their creation managed to convince them that they'd failed... and then escaped. Today Daedalus' personality — its "spirit," if you will — suffuses the entire global information network. As a being of pure information, it's not really surprising that Daedalus strongly supports the axiom that "information should be free."
  2. JCDenton: "Did you ever dig up anything about this "Daedalus" character? I'm still hearing from him." AlexJacobson:"Actually, I did... sort of. Crypto says Daedalus was supposedly a government AI project, also known as Echelon IV." JCDenton: "Supposedly"?" AlexJacobson:"I'm getting this from anonymous cypto boards. Daedalus was supposed to beat the old content-recognition problem in surveillance; it was a program that could search all the terabytes of intercepted messages for subversive content." JCDenton: "So what happened?" AlexJacobson:"Never panned out, as far as I know. The problem was just too hard. They blew through a lot of taxpayer money but finally had to scrap the whole project." JCDenton: "So the thing that's talking in my head is...what? A resurrected AI?" AlexJacobson:"I wish I knew."
  3. 3.0 3.1 JCDenton: "Know much about the Echelon system?" SamCarter: "Bits and pieces. Why?" JCDenton: "Morgan Everett just had me connect two Echelon AI's together. They've merged to form an entity called Helios." SamCarter: "Sounds like Everett was making a play for power -- and it backfired." JCDenton: "What does that do for Majestic 12?" SamCarter: "I'm not sure. UNATCO was aware that the Daedalus system had become unreliable, but no one knew why. Icarus was the same system with a few modifications." JCDenton: "Page seemed to think he had won." SamCarter: "Perhaps. The NSA's had the Internet hardwired through Area 51 since the 'thirties, but if components of Daedalus are still active, I would bet his control is less than absolute." JCDenton: "I hope you're right. Thanks."
  4. Dialogue from Gary Savage: "You simply can't use Internet 3 without a machine at Area 51 knowing about it. I don't know what Everett was expecting to accomplish."
  5. Morgan Everett: "Surveillance used to be daemon-based.  Daedalus is more distributed; a blip of his code runs on every communication device on the planet."
  6. J. Steward's computer, System Hacking
  7. Comment: "(a little put off by the humdrum laboratory)" JCDenton: "So this is where the Illuminati ended up, after centuries of conspiring to rule the world." MorganEverett: "The conspiracy is about to begin again, JC, between you and me. Nicolette was wise to bring us together, wise like her mother. The most effective partnerships -- like Beth's and mine -- arise from mutual necessity." JCDenton: "I came to talk about the Gray Death. Atanwe says you cracked the virus." MorganEverett: "A trivial matter... Page added nothing to the core design. However, what we need to construct is a carbanocarbon ROM module -- not exactly a vaccine." JCDenton: "Can it be done without a Universal Constructor?" MorganEverett: "No, we need time on a UC. But I know where we might find one and also gain access to the U.S. military networks." JCDenton: "The U.S. military...?" MorganEverett: "To stop Icarus from completely destroying the Daedalus AI. Daedalus is a design of mine; it replaced the old Echelon III network." JCDenton: "Echelon... the surveillance system for the United Nations -- so Daedalus was an MJ12 tool and rebelled?" MorganEverett: "More of a pattern-matching error. It classified Majestic 12 as a terrorist group, alongside the NSF and Silhouette." JCDenton: "And alongside the Illuminati, right? Are you sure Daedalus is your ally?" MorganEverett: "What matters to us is that it opposes Majestic 12. We must help it destroy their intelligence apparatus -- but that will require the military networks. I have already contacted Gary Savage of X-51." JCDenton: "The former Area 51 scientists... Are they still camped out at Vandenberg Air Force Base?" MorganEverett: "They are close to completing a UC and have the kind of connection Daedalus will need." JCDenton: "Sounds like my pilot and I should head to Vandenberg." MorganEverett: "Yes. I took the liberty of radioing him. Here is a key to the helipad stairway. The door is in the foyer, where Atanwe revived you. Good luck. I will be in contact."
  8. Alex Jacobson: "The Echelon kernel was designed almost exclusively for collecting data, so we have to add functionality for memory wipes, thread termination, that kind of thing."
  9. Jock's computer, Paul Needs You
  10. JC Denton's computer, Get Out
  11. JC Denton's computer (Hong Kong), Required Objectives
  12. Daedalus: "Incorrect inform -- ps -al || attach.  Streets clear.  No danger." Comment: "Maybe the "ps -al" is just static (a Unix command), while "attach" is the faint voice of Icarus.  (?)  This is the first time the Icarus AI is heard in the game."
  13. Alex Jacobson: "The Echelon kernel was designed almost exclusively for collecting data, so we have to add functionality for memory wipes, thread termination, that kind of thing."
  14. Area 51 computer, Re: Situational Update
  15. JCDenton: "I'll look at it. In addition to the UC, Everett and I need your connection to the Milnet" GarySavage: "Yes, he said something about an artificial intelligence, the Echelon system, something called Icarus and Daedalus...?" JCDenton: "Another attack happening as we speak... I'll explain later."
  16. Bob Page: "You forgot about the Aquinas Protocol.  I was listening to Daedalus all along, waiting..."
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 Deus Ex Bible
  18. Dialogue from Everett: "Daedalus is a design of mine; it replaced the old Echelon III network."
  19. Deus Ex Bible, developer Q&A section.
  20. "Behind the Scenes Look in the Making of Deus Ex." February 2001 (dated on another page). Archived from the original on April 9, 2001.