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  • Real Technology vs the Technocracy/Traditions

    Is anyone else keeping up with some of the latest developments in technology?
    If not things are getting kinda crazy, google is making functioning quantum computers, CRISPR/CAS-9 research is opening up new advancements in gene editing that can manipulate living cells, Carbon nano-tubes/Bucky-paper are showing to be one of the strongest and most useful substance in the world, and germany is a close to making the breakthrough in true fusion power.

    It makes one wonder how the WOD and by extension the technocracy are reacting to/involved in said changes. What are the traditions going to do about technology coming reaching out and evolving in ways that could rival or even surpass the spheres. Also how do game mechanics hold up with simulating real life tech.

    Take a quantum computer for example, the entire idea behind it is for it to process every possible solution to it's algorithm all at once as opposed to a linear computers yes/no calculation. If a normal computer used wits 1-5 to simulate it's calc quality, a quantum computer is like having 300 computers with wits 1-5(based on quality) all calculating different solutions to a problem. A quantum computer could essentially role and re-role it's mental dice-pool on it's turn until it got the number of successes it wanted.

    Also how does one even begin to simulate the fact that there are technocrat devices that are even More advanced than that, that are also super-charged by mage magic into having physics bending powers?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Prometheas View Post
    Is anyone else keeping up with some of the latest developments in technology?
    If not things are getting kinda crazy, google is making functioning quantum computers, CRISPR/CAS-9 research is opening up new advancements in gene editing that can manipulate living cells, Carbon nano-tubes/Bucky-paper are showing to be one of the strongest and most useful substance in the world, and germany is a close to making the breakthrough in true fusion power.
    While the game does suffer from having been written (mostly) in the 90's , it could be worse.

    It makes one wonder how the WOD and by extension the technocracy are reacting to/involved in said changes.
    In general, advances are fostered by the Union (The Technocracy it's, or so they believe, winning the Ascension War. With the advent of more and more advanced AI, among those stuff you mentioned, ItX it's becoming the Consensus.), however, this empowering isn't allways following the Time Table - there's plenty of technology that doesn't quite follow their model of social control. This could be interpreted as Technocracy fighting within the technological arena against Etherites, VA, and other newcomers

    What are the traditions going to do about technology coming reaching out and evolving in ways that could rival or even surpass the spheres.
    Remember that technology IT'S (supposed to be) magick. And the Traditions react the same way they have been reacting since the invention of penicillin. Just look at real life mystics and religious people - they haven't reduced their numbers at all. Technomystics have as much reason to be happy about development as Technocrats

    Also how do game mechanics hold up with simulating real life tech.
    I think most of the system holds pretty well, or at least not worse than before

    Take a quantum computer for example, the entire idea behind it is for it to process every possible solution to it's algorithm all at once as opposed to a linear computers yes/no calculation. If a normal computer used wits 1-5 to simulate it's calc quality, a quantum computer is like having 300 computers with wits 1-5(based on quality) all calculating different solutions to a problem. A quantum computer could essentially role and re-role it's mental dice-pool on it's turn until it got the number of successes it wanted.
    I think you're taking the wrong angle:

    WoD simulates reality up to a point, but it's far from accurate. Just see the debates around falling damage and admire how WoD representation of phisics allows normal humans to survive falls from planes and skycrappers without needing to fall on something soft. You don't need to be too realist.

    Computers were always much better at solving certain problems than humans, you shouldn't use the same scale and systems. A NORMAL computer isn't going to roll and risk failing or succeeding each time you want to calculate the square root of phi, that's not realistic - unles very bizarre circumnstances happen (like a blackout) a computer it's going to calculate the value up to the point it was programmed to be able to do so. The difference with a Quantum Computer isn't going to be the "success chance" but rather the "amount": it should give the answer with a greater degree of accuracy, or faster.

    The easiest way to adjust the system it's the same that you use right now to check, in game, the chance of success of a calculator when a player imputs a calculation - you don't roll for the calculator - if anything, you roll for the character (to see if she understands the problem) with a bonus because she's using a calculator. Extrapolating to Quantum, just determine how much time a normal PC would take to solve the problem with the right imput, and then divide by 300. If rolls are necessary at all, just give the character a bonus (it doesn't need to be proportional with the difference between Digital and Quantum, because the factor of failure it's more the user imput than anything else).

    Also how does one even begin to simulate the fact that there are technocrat devices that are even More advanced than that, that are also super-charged by mage magic into having physics bending powers?
    See FTL travel. Then extrapolate to everything else.

    The only problem you may have it's ther rare instance when the system of the Spheres doesn't cooperate and makes a seemingly simple task hard. For instance, see how one needs Mind 5 to create the most basic AI - soon the world it's going to be filled with Mind Masters. But those instances are easy to fix with house rules and quite rare.
    Last edited by Aleph; 06-14-2018, 03:02 PM.

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    • #3
      Prometheas M20 addresses this in book of secrets, talking about the powers of quantum processors. For now, they're certainly an overpriced luxury which is utterly impractical; that is, they're exactly what binary computers were before they kicked off the information age. Perhaps in 15 years time we'll all have supercomputers in our pockets... then again the problem with such predictions is they're limited by the thought of our time. Look at predictions of future travel before motorization; some predictions included drawings of actual mechanical horses. When we imagine future tech, our default ideas tend to stem from "what we have now, but better".

      Within Mage terms, the "ascension" of technology to fulfill the roles of the spheres; computers which can accurately predict outcomes of complex interactions based on billions of data points, androids and advanced cyborgs, enhanced sharing of information and energy, new means of acquiring and storing information and energy... well these are symptoms a technomagickal victory. We're globally conditioned to expect that technology will get better, while those who believe in magick tend to think the older something is, the better. Ancient herbal customs, ancient body forms, ancient runes and words off of long-dead tongues. It's only natural that mysticism will fall into the background as technology succeeds. One has hat its heyday, one is still advancing.

      So imagine the Mage setting, in 2040. Technological applications of the Spheres are increasingly Coincidental. The Data Sphere is objectively superior to Correspondence, outside of tiny pockets of the inhabited world where there is no data connection. Without even using magick, any technomage has a huge advantage in that the tools they're using are embedded into the consensus as weapons and vehicles and data processors.

      Technocrats are likely delighted. The only possible opposition to them in such a scenario is that provided by other technomages; the Virtual Adepts, the Etherites, enlightened scientists, cyberpagans, urban/digital shamans, social media activists, rebel hypereconomists... As a result, the influence of the mystical traditions will likely decline. Of course Mages have spaces where reality is what they make of it, and within Chantries, the Umbra, Sanctums, deep wilderness and horizon realms, mystics will still hold sway. The Hermetics might even still pretend they're at the core of the Nine Traditions. But the key to victory against the Technocracy, or surviving their onslaught, will lie in technomagick.

      The numbers of mystical mages likely wouldn't decline, and many sleepers would believe in things in addition to accepted technology (ghosts, demons, homeopathy, tapping), but the key word is in addition. Mystical mages have to find their niche audience, the person who will accept and even amplify their art. Technocrats can make do with even the most technophobic mystic, since such people HAVE to accept technology works based on their day to day life. Most people would be shocked if a demon was sitting on their kitchen table, but they wouldn't react the same way to a small piece of glass and plastic which can contact anyone, anywhere in the world.

      So we're looking at more powerful techocrats doing more with less magick, as their tools become more awesome, and facing less paradox. And we're looking at mystics doing about the same, with similar vulgarity.

      Of course, this is assuming that mystics don't adapt! There's no reason that you can't sketch your rune on a digital tablet, cast your wicka curse through a tweet, or call down the host of hell through a 4chan /pol/ post. More and more mystics will start to blend technology into their mysticism, making it a practical vector, if not the core of their magick.
      Last edited by 11twiggins; 06-14-2018, 03:13 PM.

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      • #4
        The biggest failure Mage has always had is with incorporating changes to the Paradigm. A system for moving things into the the Mundane would be perhaps the single greatest mechanical thing the game needs.

        Also there's a difference between making a sapient AI which is what mind 5 is apparently requiring and a neural Net.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
          Technocrats are likely delighted. The only possible opposition to them in such a scenario is that provided by other technomages; the Virtual Adepts, the Etherites, enlightened scientists, cyberpagans, urban/digital shamans, social media activists, rebel hypereconomists... As a result, the influence of the mystical traditions will likely decline. Of course Mages have spaces where reality is what they make of it, and within Chantries, the Umbra, Sanctums, deep wilderness and horizon realms, mystics will still hold sway. The Hermetics might even still pretend they're at the core of the Nine Traditions. But the key to victory against the Technocracy, or surviving their onslaught, will lie in technomagick.

          The numbers of mystical mages likely wouldn't decline, and many sleepers would believe in things in addition to accepted technology (ghosts, demons, homeopathy, tapping), but the key word is in addition. Mystical mages have to find their niche audience, the person who will accept and even amplify their art. Technocrats can make do with even the most technophobic mystic, since such people HAVE to accept technology works based on their day to day life. Most people would be shocked if a demon was sitting on their kitchen table, but they wouldn't react the same way to a small piece of glass and plastic which can contact anyone, anywhere in the world.

          So we're looking at more powerful techocrats doing more with less magick, as their tools become more awesome, and facing less paradox. And we're looking at mystics doing about the same, with similar vulgarity.

          Of course, this is assuming that mystics don't adapt! There's no reason that you can't sketch your rune on a digital tablet, cast your wicka curse through a tweet, or call down the host of hell through a 4chan /pol/ post. More and more mystics will start to blend technology into their mysticism, making it a practical vector, if not the core of their magick.
          While all true, I don't think it's going to be ALL artificial sunshine and LED rainbows for the Technocracy.

          Sure, their stuff is more coincidental than ever. But, by that same token, it also widens the space of what is possible in people's minds. Which, in turn, makes it easier for even non-technomancer mystics to disguise their arcane powers.

          We have wrist-mounted flame throwers now. The more advanced ones are apparently even smaller than they were in 2014, when that whole meme got started. It's getting to the point where an average person might see a guy shoot fire from his hands, and assume the guy has a wrist-mounted flamethrower, even if they are "hiding it up their sleeves" or something. It doesn't matter if the wizard throwing fire doesn't have such a thing up their sleeves; the Hypothetical Average Observer can't see what's up their sleeves, any more than they could with stage magicians. It's a whole hell of a lot easier for a person to rationalize that, than to be shocked by how IMPOSSIBRU! it is, these days.

          Nor does it matter if the wizard just happens to be making arcane hand gestures or speaking dead tongues while he's doing his hand flames. Setting aside that this has never been an issue (regardless of what Brucato apparently thinks) - the "wizard" could always be a crazy person who coincidentally had things go his way - greater tech and the geek culture age have given us a ready excuse for this. Obviously, the person shooting fire from his hand (who "of course" has a hidden wrist-mounted flamethrower) is a nerd who is role-playing a wizard. Because that's just the kind of shit us nerds get up to these days.

          Which, yes, makes this a case of a wizard pretending to be a normal bloke pretending to be a wizard. Coincidental Magick by way of meta recursion.

          This is just one example. A mystic doesn't need to dabble into technomancy herself to reap the benefits of the high tech age. They totally CAN do that, and there are plenty of advantages to doing so. But for a "vanilla" mystic, a wrist-mounted flamethrower is little different from the lighters and cans of hair spray they relied on in the 90s. Except folks have become so jaded about technology, a mystic barely need affect the impression of having it.


          On a more serious note, the Technocracy is in trouble because of the steady erosion of the concept of Objective Truth. Photographs, videos, audio, arguably even human senses can be fabricated, altered, or fooled. People argue over basic facts - whether it's the actions of politicians or the roundness of the Earth - in a manner unheard of before. It often feels as though, despite the increasing interconnectedness of society, people seem to live in more and more disparate realities. The very idea of there being a "Truth" that can be known is under siege.

          This is not a good thing for the Technocracy. Their goals have, from the word go, revolved around creating a single, universal Consensus of what Reality is and what it is not. For the Order of Reason, it was their One World, One Church. For the modern Union, it's not different. They want a unified belief. More than ever, though, it seems like technology is making it harder to standardize people's impressions of Reality, rather than easier.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by Lian View Post
            The biggest failure Mage has always had is with incorporating changes to the Paradigm. A system for moving things into the the Mundane would be perhaps the single greatest mechanical thing the game needs.
            .
            Do you mean changes to the Consensus? I feel like that's such a huge, massive issue that giving it a simple system might not achieve what you'd hope... I mean my PC has 3 Permadox from his cybernetic enhancements. How do you mechanically represent the shift in the consensus's views on cybernetics? In 10 years will he have 2 points of Permadox? 1? None?

            And how do you mechanically represent attempts to push the consensus in one direction or another, on a larger scale? This feels like something you do over the course of a campaign, or with a Great Work as an Archmage, or a Mage with a huge source of tass and lots of helpers, or a huge audience.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post

              Do you mean changes to the Consensus? I feel like that's such a huge, massive issue that giving it a simple system might not achieve what you'd hope... I mean my PC has 3 Permadox from his cybernetic enhancements. How do you mechanically represent the shift in the consensus's views on cybernetics? In 10 years will he have 2 points of Permadox? 1? None?

              And how do you mechanically represent attempts to push the consensus in one direction or another, on a larger scale? This feels like something you do over the course of a campaign, or with a Great Work as an Archmage, or a Mage with a huge source of tass and lots of helpers, or a huge audience.

              Yes change in consensus, no I don't know how to cover it. I don't know how to make it so your IXers cyberware is now something that a mundane surgeon can work on. I don't know how to make it so hedge magic just becomes "Mundane" skills like the various sciences over time. I don't know how to represent superstitions and urban legends becoming more true as belief spreads.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                While all true, I don't think it's going to be ALL artificial sunshine and LED rainbows for the Technocracy.

                Sure, their stuff is more coincidental than ever. But, by that same token, it also widens the space of what is possible in people's minds. Which, in turn, makes it easier for even non-technomancer mystics to disguise their arcane powers.

                We have wrist-mounted flame throwers now. The more advanced ones are apparently even smaller than they were in 2014, when that whole meme got started. It's getting to the point where an average person might see a guy shoot fire from his hands, and assume the guy has a wrist-mounted flamethrower, even if they are "hiding it up their sleeves" or something. It doesn't matter if the wizard throwing fire doesn't have such a thing up their sleeves; the Hypothetical Average Observer can't see what's up their sleeves, any more than they could with stage magicians. It's a whole hell of a lot easier for a person to rationalize that, than to be shocked by how IMPOSSIBRU! it is, these days.

                Nor does it matter if the wizard just happens to be making arcane hand gestures or speaking dead tongues while he's doing his hand flames. Setting aside that this has never been an issue (regardless of what Brucato apparently thinks) - the "wizard" could always be a crazy person who coincidentally had things go his way - greater tech and the geek culture age have given us a ready excuse for this. Obviously, the person shooting fire from his hand (who "of course" has a hidden wrist-mounted flamethrower) is a nerd who is role-playing a wizard. Because that's just the kind of shit us nerds get up to these days.

                Which, yes, makes this a case of a wizard pretending to be a normal bloke pretending to be a wizard. Coincidental Magick by way of meta recursion.

                This is just one example. A mystic doesn't need to dabble into technomancy herself to reap the benefits of the high tech age. They totally CAN do that, and there are plenty of advantages to doing so. But for a "vanilla" mystic, a wrist-mounted flamethrower is little different from the lighters and cans of hair spray they relied on in the 90s. Except folks have become so jaded about technology, a mystic barely need affect the impression of having it.


                On a more serious note, the Technocracy is in trouble because of the steady erosion of the concept of Objective Truth. Photographs, videos, audio, arguably even human senses can be fabricated, altered, or fooled. People argue over basic facts - whether it's the actions of politicians or the roundness of the Earth - in a manner unheard of before. It often feels as though, despite the increasing interconnectedness of society, people seem to live in more and more disparate realities. The very idea of there being a "Truth" that can be known is under siege.

                This is not a good thing for the Technocracy. Their goals have, from the word go, revolved around creating a single, universal Consensus of what Reality is and what it is not. For the Order of Reason, it was their One World, One Church. For the modern Union, it's not different. They want a unified belief. More than ever, though, it seems like technology is making it harder to standardize people's impressions of Reality, rather than easier.
                Putting it this way, it's like the high tech age is slowly becoming the new mythic age.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                  While all true, I don't think it's going to be ALL artificial sunshine and LED rainbows for the Technocracy.

                  Sure, their stuff is more coincidental than ever. But, by that same token, it also widens the space of what is possible in people's minds. Which, in turn, makes it easier for even non-technomancer mystics to disguise their arcane powers.

                  We have wrist-mounted flame throwers now. The more advanced ones are apparently even smaller than they were in 2014, when that whole meme got started. It's getting to the point where an average person might see a guy shoot fire from his hands, and assume the guy has a wrist-mounted flamethrower, even if they are "hiding it up their sleeves" or something. It doesn't matter if the wizard throwing fire doesn't have such a thing up their sleeves; the Hypothetical Average Observer can't see what's up their sleeves, any more than they could with stage magicians. It's a whole hell of a lot easier for a person to rationalize that, than to be shocked by how IMPOSSIBRU! it is, these days.

                  Nor does it matter if the wizard just happens to be making arcane hand gestures or speaking dead tongues while he's doing his hand flames. Setting aside that this has never been an issue (regardless of what Brucato apparently thinks) - the "wizard" could always be a crazy person who coincidentally had things go his way - greater tech and the geek culture age have given us a ready excuse for this. Obviously, the person shooting fire from his hand (who "of course" has a hidden wrist-mounted flamethrower) is a nerd who is role-playing a wizard. Because that's just the kind of shit us nerds get up to these days.

                  Which, yes, makes this a case of a wizard pretending to be a normal bloke pretending to be a wizard. Coincidental Magick by way of meta recursion.

                  This is just one example. A mystic doesn't need to dabble into technomancy herself to reap the benefits of the high tech age. They totally CAN do that, and there are plenty of advantages to doing so. But for a "vanilla" mystic, a wrist-mounted flamethrower is little different from the lighters and cans of hair spray they relied on in the 90s. Except folks have become so jaded about technology, a mystic barely need affect the impression of having it.


                  On a more serious note, the Technocracy is in trouble because of the steady erosion of the concept of Objective Truth. Photographs, videos, audio, arguably even human senses can be fabricated, altered, or fooled. People argue over basic facts - whether it's the actions of politicians or the roundness of the Earth - in a manner unheard of before. It often feels as though, despite the increasing interconnectedness of society, people seem to live in more and more disparate realities. The very idea of there being a "Truth" that can be known is under siege.

                  This is not a good thing for the Technocracy. Their goals have, from the word go, revolved around creating a single, universal Consensus of what Reality is and what it is not. For the Order of Reason, it was their One World, One Church. For the modern Union, it's not different. They want a unified belief. More than ever, though, it seems like technology is making it harder to standardize people's impressions of Reality, rather than easier.
                  I was going to post something, but Bluecho expressed most of what I thought better than I would have. Nice. I'd add, though, that the Blatancy Ability would cover so, so much more than ever for mages that slip technology into their Magick in some way. Coincidental fireballs? Sure thing... For starters.


                  “Nobody is purely good or purely evil. Most of us are in-between. There are moths that explore the day and butterflies that play at night.”
                  - Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute The Sun
                  (She/Her)

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by stanlemon View Post
                    Putting it this way, it's like the high tech age is slowly becoming the new mythic age.
                    Imagine how crazy things could get if that happens. I mean, KRISPR/CAS-9 giving people the ability to change their genes by getting what amount to a shot is able to make most life effects coincidental or even mundane. Fusion power could, in a round about way, do the same with forces effects by making electricity so available and cheap that we can use it for everyone's crazy ideas.

                    I guess the virtual adepts were partially right, we're entering mythic age 2.0. Where Everyone and their dog has the power, not just the king's high wizard(though in modern day he'll still have More power unfortunately, money tends to do that).

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Prometheas View Post
                      Imagine how crazy things could get if that happens. I mean, KRISPR/CAS-9 giving people the ability to change their genes by getting what amount to a shot is able to make most life effects coincidental or even mundane.
                      It always depends on what the mage has to do to get the effect. Stuff like that is absolute GOLD for a Mage who does not need a tool anymore for the effect - just take a syringe with something harmless, stick it in, silently cast a Life effect.
                      But someone like a young Verbena who has to do some chants and dances to heal somebody is going to have a hard time hiding the fact.

                      But, yes, Mages who do not depend too much on ritualistic Magic are able to hide as much behind mundane technology as the Technocrats.
                      Last edited by Ambrosia; 06-15-2018, 05:10 PM.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by stanlemon View Post

                        Putting it this way, it's like the high tech age is slowly becoming the new mythic age.
                        When sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, it becomes impossible to prove that magic wasn't just tech, or vice versa.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                          When sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, it becomes impossible to prove that magic wasn't just tech, or vice versa.
                          Something that must constantly annoy the Technocracy

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by stanlemon View Post

                            Putting it this way, it's like the high tech age is slowly becoming the new mythic age.
                            That's a good point! I hadn't thought of any of this.

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                            • #15
                              We shouldn't just focus on tech here; the economy and social experience have transformed.

                              Cryptocurrency, a renaissance of ponzi/pyramid schemes, outrage culture online*... people will believe a LOT thanks to how the internet distorts perception of the world.

                              Getting rich in a few days through shady dark web investments? Is that really vulgar? Getting millions to attack an abuser, or abused person? Definitely coincidental. Tricking thousands of people into your scam? Entirely believable.

                              * I should point out that when I say "outrage culture", I'm being even-handed. Everything from "wow I can't believe this person said this mildly problematic thing in ignorance, let's put this person on trial" to "wow I'm deeply offended that they put a woman in a thing, better rouse the townsfolk and grab our pitchforks". It's not even a matter of people being furious over things they shouldn't be furious over. Being outraged doesn't make you right or wrong, after all; sometimes being outraged is the right response! But I think most observers can agree that creating a huge mob online and deconstructing a person's life, for good or ill, is coincidental thanks to the internet.
                              Last edited by 11twiggins; 06-15-2018, 05:53 PM.

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