Angelnet Services

Utility Fog and human
Image from Juan Ochoa

Given the wide ranging faculties of angelnets, many of which reach beyond simple oversight of bot services and smart matter to include being linked to the infrastructure of economic activity and even direct access to the minds of their residents, there is a myriad of services they can perform on demand. The following is a by no means exhaustive list of just some of the most common functions of angelnets. Note that different societies configure their angelnets in entirely different ways, modifying or limiting the services it provides (and who they are provided to) according to local custom.

Physical services

The simplest and most obvious use of an angelnet; by manipulating ufog and other forms of smart matter all manner of physical effects and creations can be conjured.

Object formation - When tactile interaction with a physical object is desired, angelnetting can take the place of many (not all) physical objects. The limitations of the object created depends on the availability of smart matter types and the time allowed for formation. For instance: airborne foglet mesh may feel somewhat 'grainy' as the nodes retain some separation, or may lack the tensile/compressive strength of the material it is imitating. Some more-advanced angelnets get around these limitations with 'props', sections of various textured and/or temperature-responsive materials kept handy for interactions and moved as the sophont comes in contact with them.

Effector mode - By making use of environmental ufog an angelnet can confer telekinetic-esque abilities on its residents. Through any number of interfaces such as spoken word, gestural or DNI mediated exokinesia residents can levitate, move and otherwise manipulate objects. Visually the objects under effect appear to be wrapped in a thready weave of smoke, fading to transparency towards the edges. This is due to the concentration of compacted foglets around the object with increasingly separated units surrounding (trailing thousands of fine, invisible threads anchored to nearby surfaces). If desired OPA coated foglets on the surface can alter or remove this appearance. A common use of effector mode is to summon objects from afar (delivered from storage or fabs) which can be hidden in a bubble of OPA foglets or edited out of public perception (if exoself access is permitted by local custom) until such time as the delivery is made. Other uses include smart luggage transport with objects hovering within smokey ufog columns behind their owner and even transport of sophonts. The latter is particularly utilised in arcologies which can utilise corridors and vertical shafts packed with space filling foglets to carry sophonts where they need to go (for longer distances more conventional elevators/magways are faster).

Suspensor mode - Effector variant that imitates the neutral buoyancy effects of water for an object or sophont. Unlike when in water, no breathing apparatus is required and the user may assume any desired position without interfering with the floating effect (although positions that may result in extended periods of blood flow to the head are automatically precluded for many clades while the user is sleeping). Suspensor mode is a popular method for sophonts living on planets and spin-gravity habitats to produce floating or limited flight effects for rest and recreation, and for aquatic clades in envirosuits to get around on dry land. It is also used (in a slightly modified form) to provide safety by catching and slowing falling sophonts.

Attractor mode - Another effector variant that affixes items together by creating an invisible film of tethers. Users who cannot function well in very low gravity or freefall can be held against a surface so that they might move about freely as if in their accustomed gravity field. In effect, the sophont becomes a puppet on the strings of the angelnet, but they can direct their own movement by muscle contraction and effort. Note that this is not a long-term solution in and of itself, as secondary effects of microgravity environments on bionts continue, including pooling of bodily fluids in extremities, as well as some biochemical changes. Note also that many baseline hominids find this mode quite uncomfortable, as their perceived physical motion may well not agree with their somatic sensations, leading to motion sickness.

Enviro-bubble - For sophonts visiting an environment not optimised for their phenotype (e.g. pressures, temperatures, airmixes too extreme) the angelnet can construct an airwall bubble around them with multiple envirotech components studded within to keep the internal environment at a desirable level. An OPA outer and inner surface can render the bubble invisible, though those wishing to be mobile in confined spaces would do best to opt for a suit. Partial bubbles can be used in less extreme cases simply to reduce discomfort from marginal deviations in optimal conditions (e.g. providing a cool spot on a hot day), combined with EOP technology this may be done automatically for maximum comfort at all times. Partial bubbles can allow for rapid transitions from one side to the other by quickly reforming around passing objects and people. Combined with their OPA layer this makes enviro-bubbles almost undetectable to basic senses beyond the sudden change in local conditions.

Sensory services

Utilising its own sensors, surface and aerial smart matter and augmented reality layers an angelnet can create and modify the sensory experience of its residents, even to the point where multiple sophonts in proximity view entirely distinct environments.

Remote viewing - By allowing public access to the angelnet's universal surveillance web sophonts can remotely view any location to very high fidelity. This can also be used within one's immediate vicinity in order to provide greater resolution than natural senses or to use sensors that the sophont does not naturally possess (e.g. sonar, magnetosense, radiation detection etc). The extent to which sophonts can utilise this service varies by local customs on privacy, viewing's may edit out sophonts from public locations that do not wish to be viewed and/or display a sophont's remote view point as an identifying avatar in the AR-net (augmented reality).

Masque mode - An individual may choose an appearance that is different than their current state. This might be something as simple as different as clothing different than or additional to what is or isn't actually being worn or as complex as an entirely different body, voice, and surroundings (see Eidolon). Physically alterations are provided by ufog condensing into cosmetic props and OPA layers, but altering the perception of others in the vicinity is also a possibility. Through the combination of OPA-doped ufog layers, smart matter prosthetics and DNI sensory manipulation users of this mode can truly feel (as well as appear) as though that have shape shifted instantly into a new form, whether that be something as small as a nisse or large as a nephilim (larger objects may take some tens - hundreds of seconds to form as sufficient ufog condenses).

Public information mode - The angelnet can communicate with citizens inside, or near, the angel-fog, using emitted sound and light displays, or more exotic methods if required. This function is useful in emergencies, or for contacting individuals who do not have DNI equipment (or who have temporarily disabled it). Individuals who have acted their privacy mode will not be disturbed except at the discretion of the local transapient. The angelnet may also be used as a temporary notebook or memory store by individuals who have no access to their own recording equipment. In social situations the angelnet can also be used to establish trust among strangers by acting as a 3rd party authenticator. A sophont may challenge another to prove a statement (such as identity, possession of a resource or even the claim they knew an archai as a modosophont) and if the challenge is accepted the angelnet will access its own observations of the claimant (and access their mind directly if local custom allows) to judge the veracity of their claim.

Teleportation - When a sophont wishes to travel somewhere within an angelnetted environment they specify where they want to go and the net 'teleports' them there. A section of angelnet at the 'destination' is bound over to the sophonts control and takes on their form (or whatever form they specify to represent them); this remote representation is known as an eidolon with the act of teleoperation termed lynking. Meanwhile the net surrounding the traveller takes on the form of the surroundings at the destination. As the traveller moves around inside the simulation (which uses the netto generate a reality pod, allowing them to walk without actually going anywhere) their movements are duplicated by their projection (alternately the sensor/motor i/o can be fed directly into/out of a DNI). Whatever the traveller's eidolon experiences is transmitted to them via the net. Effectively the being has traveled instantly to a distant location without ever leaving home. An optional extra service is to have their physical body transported by conventional means to the location, seamlessly merging with the eidolon upon arrival.

Whisper Mode - An angelnet activated in whisper mode greatly reduces sound transmission as it allows the nodes of the 'net to flex and sway slightly on the support structures, absorbing portions of the kinetic energy imparted via sonic waves. Of course, the angelnet is capable of generating most sounds at nearly any section of its extent, allowing stereophonic sound effects for any or all of the sophonts within it. Some types of angelnetting may have difficulty damping certain hi-frequency sounds, based on physical constraints.

Emergency services

The most ancient and core function of an angelnet is to provide safety and security. Even the most limited function angelnets retain this capacity above all others and those that forgo it are so rare as to frequently not be classed as angelnets at all.

Envirostasis - In event of a breach in a hab wall the angelnet can attempt to create a temporary patch. A ufog-web will form across the hole and be filled in by increasingly compact units, making an airwall. Many layers may be assembled at once, not only around the breach but around nearby sophonts and public areas for protection. Visually this resembles an almost explosive formation of bubbling foam.

Constraint mode - An angelnet can be set to restrict mobility of one or more of the beings inside its purview, either by deploying tough smart matter walls/membranes or overriding their motor functions via their DNI. This can be anything from gentle guidance (slowly growing resistance to motion except in the controller-desired direction) through to a full body cast equivalent. In extreme cases, angelnet controllers have been known to insert nanotechnic 'tendrils' into sophonts to constrain internal processes, assist in absorbing shock or delivering sedatives. Constraints are often used regulating animal populations or to prevent physical altercations among sophonts.

First aid - If a being experiences an extreme cutting or puncturing injury, the local angelnet gushes into the wound and seals off the blood flow forcibly until emergency units can respond. If the area is too far from a civilization center for emergency assistance to arrive in a timely manner, the angelnet can 'pick up' and 'levitate' the sophont to a medical center. (See "physical services" above.) In extreme cases the angelnet acts as the hands and eyes of a remote doctor, who provides emergency medical care onsite via a gelbot-type eidolon.

Social services

The most varied and controversial functions of angelnets. Many deride social services as being not the responsibility of an angelnet, indeed most functions are often provided by 3rd party services. However many cultures believe that social health and organisation is an intrinsic part of security, safety and convenience. Travellers within the terragen sphere should be sure to note the social actions of angelnets along their routes so as to avoid those that clash with their personal beliefs.

Socialisation - Often an opt-in service for angelnets set up for it a myriad of intensive simulations of all citizens in social settings are maintained. These simulations test how simms of each sophont interact with other individuals and groups (within the angelnet's sphere of influence) at a range of activities and identify any that show signs of positive results. To save on computational demand simulations of sophonts with proximal interests are prioritised with more unlikely groupings allocated less resources. If a strongly positive result is found the angelnet will intervene to bring those sophonts together for an appropriate activity. This can be done overtly through inviting them all to a set place at a set time or through covert manipulation of one's activities (e.g. subliminally planting the idea of food in one sophonts mind encouraging them into a nearby cafe which has been subtly remodelled to increase the likelihood they will choose a seat next to a sophont they have the potential to befriend).

Mediation - The terragen sphere is host to millions of different cultures, subcultures and mindtypes. Consequently social interactions in cosmopolitan settings can often be a minefield of etiquette. One strategy is to simply install behavioural programs and modular ethics of the host society, a form of "trade etiquette". However if the host territory lacks a cohesive culture mediation via the angelnet allows for ad-hoc systems to be developed. In operation the exoselves of sophonts within the angelnet maintain a list of preferences of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, derived from simms of their users. The angelnet compares the lists of sophonts within proximity to one another and identifies the best possible compromise of etiquette. This compromise is then installed in each sophont, making the protocol feel natural regardless of how repulsive or offensive it may have seen prior to the patch. If no compromise can be found avoidance instincts are placed within relevant sophonts. Each sophont may receive a separate mediation protocol as the graph of social interaction creates a compromise between the entities they are most directly interacting with. More advanced forms of mediation utilise archai designed ontologies to allow for interaction between mindtypes that otherwise are unable to process each other's conceptual units.

Reputation aura - Artificial psychosensory perception created either via DNI or through optical/audial/olfactory illusions created by ufog. Sophonts with this function enabled (or in angelnetted environments where it is mandatory) perceive others along with social metadata that is translated into positives or negatives based on the views of the perceiver. This data in question is drawn from social graphs and will display information such as approval within certain groups and approval of certain groups. For example; a sophont with a history of espousing pro-negentropy views and associating with individuals that do the same may appear to have a glowing aura to sophonts who also hold those views, and a hostile red aura along with repulsive odour to those strongly in opposition. In some angelnets highly popular people invoke a sense of love in strangers when they meet, and those widely reviled will be blocked all-together from public perception. The exact extent and configuration of reputation auras varies by those that use them, but many cultures condemn severe use for the social fragmentation it can cause. In some societies the ideological divide grew so severe and antagonistic that either half of the population is incapable of perceiving the others. Consequently they live side by side, rationalising away inconsistencies caused by feeling the effect of actions taken by the other half but unable to conceive of their existence.

Right to be forgotten - An angelnet can hide beings, areas or behaviours. The object, sophont or event in question can be hidden from general view by bubbles of OPA smart matter forming around them and editing them out (either completely or with a blurring effect) or by reaching into the minds of others and preventing the perception of what is being hidden. In cultures with extreme privacy laws sophonts can withdraw consent to be remembered resulting in memories of them to be suppressed or otherwise encrypted in all other individuals. This can range from a simple hazing of fine details (e.g. appearance) or a full removal. Sophonts recalling a memory involving a private individual will often instinctively know that the memory has been edited along with a strong included feeling of acceptance of that fact to prevent distress. In societies that have this function in their angelnet the right to be forgotten for specific times or behaviours usually requires consent of those involved, rather than the general right to be forgotten.

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Development Notes
Text by John B, David Jackson, and Todd Drashner
Updated by Ryan_b 2018
Initially published on 26 August 2004.