Youth and Education

Image from Bernd Helfert

A day in the life of an itinerant student:

Money - Transferable Debt Obligations - Market - Capitalism - Social Contract - Individualism - Financial Responsibility - Employment - Labour...

Brief summaries flooded into Sama's mind. Images, text, cultural concepts, all danced fleetingly through her thoughts. Those she dwelt on embedded more deeply, spawning dozens of related topics of their own. Presently they scattered like a shoal of fish as Sama's attention returned to the bench beneath her. Her body clock (re-calibrated only the evening before) reported that barely twenty seconds had passed but it seemed enough to irritate the park furniture.

"No sorry, I've not got any money" Sama said, hastily reviewing what she'd just learnt. The bench made a theatrical "tsking" sound. "In that case" it droned in a patronising voice, "I must inform you that your reputation metric with the Happy Oak Field Society has dropped to CC-Minus. Furthermore if you do not get off me in the next ten seconds it will drop again and I will be forced to adopt a less comfortable configuration"

Needless to say Sama stood. "Sorry" she said again, "I didn't realise sitting down required payment". Her attention wavered as new summaries ran through her mind; Reputation - Confidence - Social trust - Benefits - Penalties - Restrictions.

"That's your own stupid fault" huffed the bench. "Next time make sure you accept the local ARnet feed." With that it sauntered off, presumably to find some other admirer of the view that could pay. Chastised Sama checked through her DNI requests. Sure enough there was an invite to the park's ARnet, ironically ignored due to how stunning the view was. The Happy Oak Field Society had built their garden on the end-cap hill of the hab cylinder, directly below the spaceport's arrival plaza. Aside from its picturesque features and flora it granted an unobstructed view of the entire hab that was simply breathtaking.

With a sigh Sama accepted the request. The park became a kaleidoscope of icons, borders and shaded areas. The maddeningly complex pattern of information threatened to overwhelm her (not to mention ruin the view) before her Slearner implants kicked in. Restricted access - Favoured routes - High cost area - Flora identity...

Not wanting to be caught out again Sama stood for some time absorbing a tree of related concepts into her long term memory. Despite being a mild human tweak this wasn't a challenge. Having chosen the role of itinerant student for her rumspringer (a hundred year period of travelling beyond her home culture) Sama's brain was heavily engineered for rapid learning. Even so absorbing so much of a single topic in one session was unusual, she typically took a more mercurial approach to study. But clearly this society was more risky than she had expected. Better to bore herself with a disquisition than end up in trouble.

The sunline had dimmed by the time she'd absorbed the strange culture's laws (suffrage proportional to voluntary taxation!) but as she returned to the present Sama acknowledged it was a little foolhardy of her not to do this prior to arrival. Any longer on the bench and she may have become an indentured servant. Not put off though she smiled, even through the ugly ARnet the view was still quite something. Lightly humming to herself she wandered to the park exit, content to fleetingly absorb facts of botany. As she passed through the low-credit gate Sama whispered a prayer to Ludon, transap of knowledge and learning. Risky as this new culture was she sensed it would be a very worthwhile trip.

Employment - Advancement - Corporation - Expansion - Wealth - Influence - Power...

Very worthwhile indeed.

Prim and traditionalist baseline humans and other bionts often have natural birth and childhood phases, sometimes with relatively low-tech assistance. In some higher tech societies nearbaseline children are raised in crèche type conditions in the belief that there's no place safer and more beneficial for them than in the Corp/Angelnet/Transapient Powers care. Many are allowed to learn social and technical skills at a natural pace; there is after all no hurry given the extraordinarily long lifespan of a typical modern sophont. Many children, however raised, have accelerated learning treatment (tachydidaxy) at an early age, which often will have a break for an extended period coinciding with physical childhood/young adulthood to allow for character development.

In some societies the later period of "further tachydidaxy" is voluntary, and many young adults drop out, some joining the various countercultures such as the "Andromeda Kids". Also some variants exist where the kids are left to struggle to grow up basically on their own, and when more tech workers are needed the physically mature ones are selected by remotes, and are subjected to specialised mnemonic treatment for specific circumstances. This method is often employed in NoCoZo tier III societies.

Some societies, especially near the Periphery, opt for partial uploaded mnemonic overlays involving competent people transferring some of their knowledge, skill or personality to the student, but in others, especially Inner Sphere and Middle Regions cultures, omniuploads may be preferred. Omniuploads allow for much more rapid maturity and integrated mental and physical skill acquisition, and in the most advanced versions personality modification is an optional effect.

Many augmented or transapient entities have hybrid biological/aioid bodies, and may have extended childhoods lasting hundreds of standard years to allow character development. This childhood may be in real life, or as a simulation.

Real life extended childhood may be spent in a childhood reserve, like Tir Na Nog in Dabih Major (Keter Dominion) where the children maintain a society similar to a 3rd century (Interplanetary Age) Earth nation/syndicate. These children and young adults may maintain this level of development for several decades or longer before ascending at adulthood. Simulated childhoods are favoured in the Cyberian Network, and many other entities have their childhood in virtual simulations and are later engenerated into new bodies. The most advanced bioengenerators are extremely high fidelity devices which can construct a living version of a virtual entity in less than an hour, complete with continuity of identity.

Aioid entities can be developed with operating system, memory and programs intact, fully cognisant, with the individual knowing everything e needed to know from the nanosecond e was activated, or may be required to develop an entirely new character and set of experiences from scratch, with a formative period of the equivalent of 2000 years in a hyper-accelerated virch sim university. These entities can sometimes be designed in advance by high or very high singularity Archailects.

Of course, engeneration technology being what it is, once the big thinker in question comes up with a usefully trained SI:3 worker ey can simply use that mind as a template and spin off as many copies as ey wants, more efficiently than training each one separately from the start. Multiple physical copies of ready trained experts are produced extensively in Metasoft polities, for instance.

  • Aesopica Fantastica  - Text by Mark Ryherd
    A collection of virches used as a didactic tool for the express purpose of teaching and reinforcing morals. Other common names for the series are Xin Daodejing and Virches of Virtue.
  • AI Growth, Education, and Employment  - Text by Todd Drashner, with comments by Steve Bowers
    While some minds are built for a particular task from the start, very often AIs are produced much like humans and other bionts with no set task or future in mind.
  • Eternal Disciples, Eternal Apprentices - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Variously, a lifestyle choice or form of psychological dependence, whereby disciples, students, or devotees refuse to graduate and strike out on their own, preferring to sit forever at the feet of a chosen master or Tutor.
  • Inline University - Text by Max M. Rasmussen, in Anders Sandberg's Transhuman Terminology
    Nanocomputer or general computronium implant or implants serving to increase intelligence and education of their owners, essentially turning them into a walking university. Especially common on Ken Ferjik, Alexandria, and other university worlds and megastructures.
  • Knowledge Graft  - Text by John B, Steve Bowers, and Xaonon
    An educational procedure which allows for the full apprehension of one or more subject matter(s) with a single mnemonic overlay on the recipient's mind.
  • Knowledge Manipulation  - Text by Tony Jones
    Techniques allowing knowledge within the sophont brain to be rewritten at will, once the detailed structure of a given sophont brain had been mapped to a sufficient level of detail.
  • Poozer  - Text by John B
    Famous First Federation Age virch character - an intelligent canine stuck in a world with doorknobs, thumb-print sensors, silverware, and other inconveniences. Poozer was an edutainment series, with disembodied children attempting to assist Poozer with advice.
  • Tachydidaxy  - Text by Steve Bowers and John B
    Educational methods used in the Orion's Arm Civilisation.
Related Topics
Development Notes
Text by John B, Steve Bowers, and Xaonon

Initially published on 16 February 2004.

Itinerant student Snapshot by Rynn b, 2018
Additional Information