Intelligence Augmentation (IA)
Artificial means of increasing or altering the intelligence of a sophont; most notably via direct neural interface with exoself programs or the physical reengineering of neural substrate. Typical uses of IA are to improve memory, pattern recognition, and mental control (allowing deliberately induced altered states of consciousness, such as enhanced concentration or lucidity). In addition to general improvements, the field of augmentics has given rise to thousands of minor modifications that grant specific (sometimes esoteric) alterations to a sophont's toposophic landscape. Those wishing to seriously augment themselves for intelligence are advised to consult a professional and use a mindstate-monitor to check for augment conflicts.
The availability and legality of IA varies throughout the galaxy. In many places access to IA is considered a key sophont right; a few polities go so far as to make it mandatory lest other rights be forfeit. In more relaxed societies, IA adoption follows a normal distribution as many sophonts abstain from anything more than minor IA in favour of letting vot servants to the "heavy thinking".
In the major empires, it is rare to find an individual who has not received some form of IA; whether it be a general boost or the acquisition of a specific skill to help with a hobby or vocation (e.g. >3D visualisation). Indeed, given the long-lived nature of most sophonts it is common for individuals to culture unique, often eclectic, collections of intelligence augments. The most advanced IA technology is sought after by those wishing to ascend; such augments offer the greatest advancements at the cost of radical toposophic change.
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Updated by Ryan_B
Initially published on 10 November 2001.