Reverse Engineer, Transapientech

Reverse engineer
Image from Steve Bowers

A modosophont who studies the technologies of transapients and attempts to replicate or adapt them to the needs of ordinary sophonts. Transapient-derived technology makes a very valuable contribution to many core modosophont-level civilisations, and is generally classified as ultratech.

Not all technologies available to ordinary sophonts from transapients come with instructions. If it is a found object, or if the transapient creator is unavailable or indifferent or hostile, or even in some cases if the technology was provided by a friendly transapient but that being believes it would be beneficial for the technology to be learned through study and discovery rather than instruction, then a reverse engineer or more probably a whole team or institute of reverse engineers is required. This is challenging, frustrating and sometimes dangerous work but can occasionally provide spectacular rewards for those who invest the time and effort. Successful reverse engineers are often widely feted and admired, though even the best of them may spend years or decades of effort without achieving any tangible result.

As a general rule, only so-called 'low-ground transapient technology' can be successfully reverse engineered; this type of technology is often a logical development from technologies developed by modosophonts, and is the sort of tech that could conceivably have been developed by them if transapients had not achieved it first. Some reverse-engineered transapientech does not fall into this category, but is sufficiently simple to operate and/or replicate that it can be used with ease, once the reverse-engineer has facilitated this.

Note that it is impossible to in any way comprehend or reverse engineer technology of more than one toposophic level above oneself. These technologies do not exist at the lower toposophic levels because they require the cognitive abilities of the higher toposophic level in question to create or understand them. Some S:2 and above tech is available to modosophonts as gift tech or user-friendly clarketech - but no reverse-engineer can understand it well enough to use its principles or adapt it to new purposes.
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
revised by Stephen Inniss, Steve Bowers and Todd Drashner
Initially published on 22 December 2001.