Image from Bernd Helfert
Provolution is a term for the use of technology to enhance or augment the intelligence of a subsophont species to full sophonce. The word is a shortened form of the Old Anglish term "pro-active evolution". Sometimes "provolution" is also used to describe further enhancements, such as the creation of bright or superbright versions of humans from baseline stock. Most restrict the term to the act of increasing the intelligence of an animal (or sometimes plant) species, but sometimes robots that or ais that have been boosted in intelligence to become vecs are also known as provolves.
Ever since the middle Information Age, Terragen civilization has shown a great enthusiasm for provolution. In part this is an aspect of the transhuman and extropian (and later) ideals of maximization of intelligence and awareness for all, rather than for a privileged few, but it has also been suggested that one reason so many of the hyperturings and powers speak so highly of provolution is because it is a way of keeping the masses of ordinary sophonts occupied and giving them a challenge and sense of purpose that might otherwise be lacking in many hightech societies. Although many sophonts are happy to pursue other hobbies and interests, there are others who actually need to be given something to do that appears to have high significance, so they can have a sense of fulfilment and purpose in life. Provolution is perfect for these people. It is a deeply inspiring task — bringing intelligence and culture to a new race — so it naturally fulfilling. It is also incredibly time-consuming and labor-intensive, since the species being provolved requires constant attention and empathetic connection, and since this project may extend over many generations of creatures, a whole sophont lifespan. Thus it is one of the few tasks in the modern galaxy that cannot be automated, and which ordinary normals and brights can actually aspire to do, and which for reasons of their own the transapients often leave to lesser beings. For this reason provolution projects are a source of pride among many sophont clades, who often will incorporate the provolved (or client) species into their family or house logo.
To date, the number of species of terragen and xenobiotic organisms that have been provolved from sub- and non-sophonce to sophonce runs to some forty-five billion. Many provolved species go on to play an important part in the life of the civilized galaxy, most continue to have excellent and close relations with their patron (provolver) family, house, or clade, and many go on to provolve other species in turn.
Text by Orion's Arm Editors
Initially published on 05 January 2018.