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  • Future Shock

    In aberrant, the actions of novas have a huge impact in the world, whether they like or not. Such is the blessing, and the curse, of their power. However, very few of their actions have as much of an impact as their technological developments. There's no denying that their contributions have helped solve many of humanity's problems, but as the future shock section indicates, quick solutions to complex problems always bring unintended consequences.
    As such, my intention with this topic is to create examples of futuristic technologies developed by novas and what impact, both good and bad, will have in the world. I'll start with one example.

    U.N.A. (Universal nanobot assembler):

    The nature of factories and production assembling lines were already going through a revolution with the rise of automatization and 3D printers, many saw these technologies as a promise to free humanity from mindless labor and so people could pursue their hobbies full time. However, the reality proved to be quite different and that glorious future just kept moving back further and further away, and some had enough about that. One young nova, freshly erupted with superintellect and a firm believer in that dream as a long-time Star Trek fan, decided to take matters into their own hands.
    It started small at first, focusing mainly on improving the already existing technologies and pushing them to the limit to practice, but they soon found it lacking. It was time to take a huge step forward and make the shining future of Star Trek a reality, one way or another.
    That's how one day in a small tech fair they revealed their greatest creation, the U.N.A. A small portable factory with and advanced AI that used nanobots to disassemble and reassemble matter into almost anything that one desired. It wasn't the same as the replicator in Star Trek but it was a good enough first step in its direction. Many powerful parties saw the opportunities, and dangers, that such a device could create and moved quickly to take control of it, but it was too late. Moved by a mix of idealism and naivete the young nova had uploaded the blueprints and underlying tech to the net.
    This technology will not have much of an impact in the short term but once it gets momentum it will change the world in the same way as hyperfusion did if not more. Millions of people would lose their jobs as factories would all over the got substituted by smaller automated versions capable of producing at twice the speed and half the cost. The industries that provide the raw materials necessary for manufacturing would also suffer as the U.N.A. efficiency means it needs fewer resources, and it can even gain them via recycling a lot of its waste or just regular trash.
    From a social point of view, the onslaught of material wealth that it would produce would significantly lower the importance that people would give to things. The concept of value would slowly switch and favor less material things like knowledge and social reputation. Those who used to be rich would find themselves with piles and piles of things that can be easily copied and owned by a lot more people, taking away the main source of their power (and in many cases self-esteem).
    Whether this technology ultimately becomes a miracle or a disaster for humanity depends in large part of how the powers that be react. In any case, a short period of chaos is almost inevitable. Despite the noble efforts of the young Nova, their device could prove more harmful than beneficial. An abundance of material wealth is useless if you don't have money to buy anything, even if the new factories significantly lower the costs of the products, and many captains of the industry will not react well at having their businesses crushed down. In fact, this creation could be used to fuel anti-nova sentiment as its detractors accuse the Nova of leaving people without any means of earning a living. On the other hand, this technology could finally push governments to change to new economic models that can guarantee the basic needs of everyone, effectively eliminating poverty and creating a society where the pursuit of knowledge and cooperation triumph over greed and competition.

    However, this is just an example. It's up to you to decide what path this tech takes. Feel free to tell me what you think and share what other technologies you think the Nova may develop and how they will impact the world. Thank you for your time.

  • #2
    Check Aeon page 33, Work in 2123 side box. It’s basically the result of incorporation of this kind of technology in long term.

    I have my opinion about it, the automation of all the production is the end of the Capitalism as we have today. The first thing that happen is the difference between riches and poors rises a lot, because the riches will be the ones that would take advantage of the system (they own the factories in the end), but once the number of unemployed people reach a certain level, the total demand will fall as a reduced number of people will be able to buy, reducing even more the need of production and raising further the already high unemployment. The only way to stop this spiral is to create a minimum wage, as we see in Aeon, creating a large enough market to keep the things working.

    The end is nice, but the path to reach it is disastrous, as we know how people react to giving things to others for free...
    Last edited by Mateus Luz; 08-23-2019, 09:56 AM.

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    • #3
      First point: I want to avoid political controversy.

      Second point: Some Silicon Valley industrialists have proposed a Universal Basic Income. All U.S. citizens would get $1,000 per month whether they are working or not. So, this money could keep America a capitalist system, and quell a political revolt. The poor could move away from the expensive big cities. In Europe, there are laws that would tax the owners of the automated machines that destroy jobs. We call them socialist, but they could avoid the political chaos.

      Third point: "The Engines of Creation" by K. Eric Drexler posits that AI will be invented at the same time what you call U.N.A. It is like inventing a genie.This science book shows a credible optimistic science fiction scenario. Drexler hated the Limits to Growth scenario. I would want that U.N.A. to have limits. I do not want it to reproduce itself, to avoid the Grey Goo scenario, which could have been an overstated worry. It should be forbidden to create poisons or weapons. However, some clever psychopath may create poison pre-cursor ingredients or weapon components. It should be forbidden to create human clones.Clones of pets should be okay. What if Spot got run over by a car?

      Fourth point: "The Transparent Society" by David Brin posits a society that has destroyed privacy with ubiquitious video cameras. Brin writes it could be a good thing if we create a sousveillance society in which the common people could monitor the powerful. It would be impossible to conspire to perform a crime. Outlawing those cameras will not stop surveillance because it will only encourage government to make harder to detect cameras. Dictators, drug dealers, and terrorist would not be able to hide their money in a Swiss bank. I feel ambivalent about his idea but I can not find a better way to deal with that technological development.

      Fifth point: Perhaps we can develop AI in an artificial world first. To make sure it will be a helpful friend, not some genocidal monster in the Terminator movies or a world conqueror like the one in "Colossus: The Forbin Project".

      Sixth Point: We could create medical nanotech robots that can cure all disease. Aging could be one of those diseases. I am an old fart, so it would be nice for this to be invented in real life. The need for doctors would decline. Everyone could have perfect teeth for a nearly free price. The cost of Medicare should drop to zero. How about Social Security? Perhaps those who have de-aged will be disqualified from Social Security. Perhaps it could be privatized so that all will have a private account that could be invested in stocks, bonds, and money market accounts.
      Last edited by Doctor Zero; 08-24-2019, 03:36 AM.

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      • #4
        I liked you points, and I will go after your references, they look very interesting. I read many economical papers about it, and the end is unquestionable, different from the jobs that were given to machines before, that created positions related to the development and maintaining on a almost proportional rate, there will be not enough jobs for everyone, and people will have more enjoyable jobs (less repetitive and more creative) working with entertaining and technology development (other jobs will be there, but this 2 are the ones that will grow faster).

        My only complain about your post is your counting... you have 2 third points... but as you were talking about clones and multiple copies, maybe it was the intention...

        I don’t want to cause controversy, what I meant by Capitalism as we have today is the money only on exchange of work, and I am sure we can keep any system working as long people can live on it. For example, Aeon world is basically capitalist but the way they solved was by creating a minimum income in most of countries. Other options are many, for example instead of giving money you give free stuff that solve the basic needs of the people, and people work if want to have anything not basic.

        I honestly think that giving money is the best option, it works in Australia and Alaska, probably in other places too. Giving free stuff like school and healthcare is also great (don’t tell me you pay for that with taxes, because an American pay 2k for an ambulance).

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        • #5
          In some ways I think the best (in that its the least socially destructive) method for the implementation of new social techs is by building a new society completely separate from modern society. Be it in caverns underground, domes underwater, space habitats, other planets, or even in other solar systems. By establishing a society separate there isn't the worry of death and such.

          If that is not an option then there is no way for widespread social and technology change to NOT involve some sort of conflict or disruption. The thing is to try and mitigate that as much as possible by social programs that help those who lost out due to the new tech.

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          • #6
            LordHeru, I agree. "Engines of Creation" discusses how nanotechnology could be used to create ultra cheap space ships. Terraforming Mars is expensive and could take centuries. Turning an asteroid into an O' Neil cylinder is way cheaper and should take only a few years. Governments could hire people to be space explorers, or create space prisons for trouble makers.

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            • #7
              Mateus Luz, thanks for catching my mistake. Another possibility is social democracy. It allows private property and does not outlaw businesses, but it raises higher taxes for safety net programs. The US had such a system in the past, and called it the New Deal. What Americans call democratic socialism is a misnomer; it is actually social democracy. Through time, taxes were lowered (in the 1930's it was 90% for over US $100,000) and the safety net has been undermined. Social democracy is a compromise between capitalism and socialism that America has tried before, and could try again. Europe has that now.

              Back to the original topic. One possible consequence of the invention of nanotechnology is an invention of "utility fog". Dr. Josh Storrs Hall proposed a collection of tiny robots that could replicate any structure. In the future, passengers in cars do not need to use seat belts or air bags. If there is an accident, which should be very rare because of AI, the utility fog robots would extend their arms to connect to other robots forming a robot swarm to protect humans. The kinetic energy will be redistributed over the entire body to prevent injury than safety devices do today. As the sophistication grew, it could be used to create any structure, like the Green Lantern's power ring. I hope good, rational people are the only ones to have access to this technology.

              Prof. Hugo de Garis proposed something more radical than nanotechnology: femtotechnology. While nanotechnology manipulates atoms, femtotechnology manipulate the sub atomic quarks. How can people manipulate quarks? Perhaps a Nova could develop that power. Anyway, de Garis wrote that three quarks could be used to create a part of a computer which would be even more powerful and faster than a nanotech computer which is already horrifying enough. A nanotech computer the size of a sugar cube would have the computing power of all the people in the world combined. A brain implant like that could be implanted in a normal human. That cyborg could be smarter than Eddie Mora from the Limitless movie.

              With enough technology, anyone would become a god. Will Novas want to create that kind of technology? How powerful a technology would a Game Moderator want in game? I want U.N.A. to create free clean food, water, and medicine. I want a tricorder like device to diagnose and treat any disease. I want AI controlled vehicles to prevent accidents. I want cheap space travel and space stations. Basically, I want a Star Trek utopia; however, that would reduce the conflict necessary for interesting stories.

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              • #8
                You should play Sufficiently Advanced, it’s a game in a post singularity setting, where 2 AIs became self aware s and start communicating immediately with their future selves. The AIs are alone in the transtemporal existence so start help humanity to achieve this kind of consciousness. The name comes from Clarke reference “any sufficiently advanced science is not different form magic” (can’t remember the exact words).

                The technology rise to the point where you don’t describe your equipment, you describe just the 6 capabilities of it. A regular person has a value of 2, 3 is pick human condition and 1 is week, on a geometric scaling, a nuke is a Stringtech 5 (Damage capacity), you are fully aware of the internet and can interact with it thru youths on Cognitech 4 (mental capacity), you can see a baseball orbiting Earth from the superfície on Nanotechnology 7 (precision and detection capacity), and full immortality is reached on Biotech 10 (healing and resistance capacity).

                The interesting thing is not the system though, it’s the setting, and what people become once they have basically all technology that they may ever want. It’s awesome, worth reading. They released the second edition on DriveThruRPG last month or so, and I didn’t have the time to read it yet, but I have read the 1e, and it was a nice trip in the possibilities.

                Edit: correct writer
                Last edited by Mateus Luz; 08-25-2019, 12:32 PM.

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                • #9
                  First of all, thank you all for your responses. They are very insightful and have given me a lot to think about.
                  However, let me be more specific in my question. Picture it like this, Imagine a human being from 100 years in the future traveling to our present world and sharing all their future tech, what would happen then? What I'm interested in is in the consequences of sharing technology that, despite its benefits, humanity is not ready for. This is because they haven't reached the necessary cultural maturity level because they haven't had the time to. In this analogy, Novas are those time travelers, forcing progress on a civilization that may not be ready for it, at all.
                  Let's go back to my example, for me the U.N.A. is not science fiction at all. It's not a matter of if, but when we will create something similar. However, I'm working on the assumption that we will develop such technology in different stages over a long period of time, which will give our civilization time to adapt (in theory, I could be wrong). In the aberrant world, human civilization is not given that choice.
                  Imagine that in a short time, like the span of a few months, or even a few weeks, the market is flooded with increasingly cheap products and at the same time millions of people start losing their jobs. This is just the beginning of the impact of this technology, it will get worst. Human beings have an amazing ability to adapt to change, but every system has a limit and sometimes when you break that limit there's no going back. So, what would happen? Would society collapse? Would governments ban technology? and what about the nova that created the U.N.A.? Are they considered a hero, a villain, or both? How will people's opinion about novas change?
                  I hope my request is clearer now. Thanks.

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                  • #10
                    On second thought, the GM can allow very high technology and tell good stories because of the Iron Law of Unintended Consequences. It is impossible to predict all the consequences of your actions, how an invention will impact society. There will be very many stories to tell from any invention because the players because they are normal humans will not be able to forecast all the possible ways it could go wrong. Also, Mateus Luz, Arthur C. Clarke wrote, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

                    Another consequence of nanotechnology is that it could be used to resurrect people in cryonic suspension. Those smaller than body cells robots could reverse the damage from freezing and the injury that killed the people in the first place. Some people had only their heads preserved, so they would need a cloned body without a head. I am assuming that any brain damage can be reversed, and most long term memory has been preserved.

                    Those who have been raised from the dead could face severe future shock. I am an old fart, and the Internet has really changed my life. Also how will some of an earlier generation handle social changes like legalized marijuana, gay marriage, and allowing women to have checking accounts. I hope some family members have all been frozen, because it could be very lonely to live in a brave new world. However, if they shelled out the cash, they could have read a lot of science fiction, be more open minded, and be willing to make friends. There are now only about 350 of them, so for the resurrected probably will not cause significant social change to a future society. Perhaps someone could produce some reality shows featuring them. Also, how will they earn a living? In the country of Lichtenstein, it is possible for legally dead people to inherit money. Will any of their skills be useful in the future? Some older people may be angry that they did not spend the money to freeze their family and friends.

                    The inventor and business man Ray Kurzweil, haunted by the death of his father, collected all his father's notes, hair samples, and photographs and hopes to technologically raise his father from the dead. That sounds crazy to me, but with Novas could invent the technology to do it. This Clarketech could change the world. I want this technology in real life, but Christian and Muslim fundamentalists would call this blasphemous, and they could be inspired to perform acts of violence. The Nova who invents this could start a new religion. Perhaps many more people would become atheists. Why would people believe in God when humans have godlike power? Raising people from the dead could reduce the emotional impact of death in the game, but this could be an interesting conflict for a GM to explore.Perhaps Einstein could be resurrected, and he would finally create his Grand Unified Theory. Dictators could be resurrected too by their followers. Imagine immortal tyrannies. It would be so weird. Wold our punishment for murder change? For heinous criminals, would we increase the brutality of the execution, would we execute killers multiple times? Perhaps there would be fewer vengeance fueled vigilantes.

                    I hope to have raised some interesting questions.
                    Last edited by Doctor Zero; 08-24-2019, 04:14 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Firanai View Post
                      That's how one day in a small tech fair they revealed their greatest creation, the U.N.A. A small portable factory with and advanced AI that used nanobots to disassemble and reassemble matter into almost anything that one desired. It wasn't the same as the replicator in Star Trek but it was a good enough first step in its direction. Many powerful parties saw the opportunities, and dangers, that such a device could create and moved quickly to take control of it, but it was too late. Moved by a mix of idealism and naivete the young nova had uploaded the blueprints and underlying tech to the net.
                      Did he do the steps to go from Q-tech to nova tech and then core tech and reverse engineer it?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mateus Luz View Post
                        You should play Sufficiently Advanced, it’s a game in a post singularity setting, where 2 AIs became self aware s and start communicating immediately with their future selves. The AIs are alone in the transtemporal existence so start help humanity to achieve this kind of consciousness. The name comes from Isaac Isemov reference “any sufficiently advanced science is not different form magic” (can’t remember the exact words).
                        That's one of Clarke's Three Laws.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by muon View Post

                          Did he do the steps to go from Q-tech to nova tech and then core tech and reverse engineer it?
                          Yes, they did all the steps. The thing is they also have a functional star trek like replicator, but it's pure Q-tech right now and they are working day and night to make it core-tech. The problem is that taking it to "just" nova tech will take many years, even for a genius nova, and ten times that to the core tech. The U.N.A. is a "lesser" version of his replicator, they decided to launch it that way because the tech was easier to understand and replicate.
                          Last edited by Firanai; 08-25-2019, 11:07 AM.

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