Knowledge Graft

5744, Daffy - Today, with much fanfare, Dr Gurumba Schmidd retires from public service, the last human teacher known to be actively practising in our system. Eir lack of replacement is blamed on the ever-growing distribution of knowledge grafts, which can transfer the best available comprehension from the most skillful minds in the business at any given toposophic level. Thus, the role of the instructor has degenerated to no more than a facilitator regulating the access of an untrained mind to the grafts needed and/or desired.

A procedure which allows for the full apprehension of one or more subject matter(s) with a single mnemonic overlay on the recipient's mind. A knowledge graft can transfer a donor's comprehensive understanding of a particular subject, or an associated skill set, or both. The memories and skills are obtained from a donor who has extensive knowledge, understanding or skill in a particular subject or range of subjects, or may be synthesised from the memories of a number of such individuals.

These mnemonic overlays require the use of a mosophont-level vot to be properly adapted to the recipient's mental concept map. Using an appropriate neural interface the vot will map out the sophonts concept map, along with other relevant pathways of the nervous system, and work to edit in the contents of the knowledge graft. Procedure length can vary depending on the resources available to the vot and the complexity of the graft, generally most can be completed within a standard day. The sophont undergoing the procedure is often put in a comatosed or otherwise suspended state for the duration. Done well this makes the overlay integration seamless and minimises side-effects, if the graft is not integrated properly the sophont can suffer anything from radical personality change to psychosis. Early forms of the technology often resulted in personality contamination leading to Polysophonce (a condition where two or more personalities inhabit the same body).

Even done right the former is a risk of undergoing a knowledge graft. All experiences have the potential for altering personality, larger grafts or grafts that contradict knowledge acting as the foundation for certain beliefs can result in a sophont exiting the experience quite different than before. This change can be discomforting, not only to peers but also the sophont themselves. Psychological health monitoring is common after an knowledge graft to watch out for any dangerous effects. A safer, more limited version of the graft is the skill module which sits between grafting and tachydidaxy. By slowly integrating with the host (but providing the skill from the outset) the negative consequences of radical personality change are inhibited, at the cost of a longer (and sometimes uncomfortable) learning period.

Various clades have been created that are more resilient to the dangers of knowledge grafts. Plenty of vecs, virtuals and neogens are cognitively designed with modular minds. This configuration ensures that their sense of identity is less strongly tied to their concept map. In addition their memory storage/retrieval methods minimise the effort and tools needed to implant a graft. Consequently these clades are capable of gaining skills and knowledge at a far higher rate than others and take the resulting change in beliefs, personality and identity in their stride. The downside is the inconsistency in personal identity which can make social and cultural relations with these clades difficult to more human sophonts.
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Development Notes
Text by John B, Steve Bowers, and Xaonon
Updated by Ryan_B 2016
Initially published on 04 December 2002.