I was discussing this idea with some people in-game yesterday, and the idea was well-received. I've had this thought pretty much every time I've heard someone brag about AFK-missioning. The main reason I never did an actual proposal before is because I really believe this is a change CCP is planning to implement at some point in the future anyway.
Edit: Please go to this link. Someone had already posted a similar proposal, so let's support that one.
If you have feelings either way, feel free to post in the thread. In a nutshell, I am proposing that CCP implement Sleeper AI in all NPC's "rats" in the game.
From the first moment you logged into this game and started trying to figure out what the hell to do, it should have been obvious to you that CCP never intended this game to be easy. EVE is challenging, and we like it that way, thank you very much. Why do people always try to make it easier? (rhetorical question) Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying EVE shouldn't be user-friendly. I'm saying it shouldn't be easy. (Upgrades to the UI are something I heartily support) I LOVE the fact that there are no add-ons in EVE (thank you CCP). But I digress.
As I stated above, I think this is going to happen sooner or later anyway. Yes, I'm sure that CCP intended Sleepers to be a bit tougher than you common, everyday highsec rat. But I think the Sleeper AI is more a product of improvements they've come up with for their (unfortunately sad) NPC AI. The Sleepers were a great way to roll out their new AI and see how the players react to it.
I foresee two problems with this proposal of mine.
1) What about the Sleepers? Sleepers should be more challenging, so if CCP gives all rats Sleeper AI, how are they going to buff up the Sleepers? I'm sure CCP can (and will) come up with some creative solutions for this. I have an idea. Sleeper AI was developed with an eye toward the tactics actual players were using. The new Sleeper AI could include tactics players have come up with to combat the original Sleeper AI.
2) The missioners will hate it. Okay, not all of them, but some of them will. Especially the ones that launch drones in a mission and then go surf the internet until it's time to pick up the loot. Some of this will be no more than people's usual resistance to change. The missioners who hate it will probably (predictably) be the vocal majority (minority?). That said, I do think there will be a lot of missioners that would be for this idea after giving it some thought. I've done missions myself, and so I know that after a while, they become BORING AS HELL! If missions actually became more of a challenge, with an AI that made more sense, I might actually do some again (and not just when I'm "stuck in high sec").
Oh, and for the record, I don't really believe this is an "original" idea. For all I know, it's been proposed on the assembly hall before. If so, I'm sure people will tell me. But I do think it's a good idea, and would make EVE a lot more fun in high sec.