perspectives (detail)
Image from Juan Ochoa

Although cave paintings or neolithic scratches on a bone recording phases of the moon are technically infotech, true infotech had to wait until the development of the computer, which made possible the simulation of real life processes and worlds in digital form, and hence the emergence of cyberspace and virchspace

Infotech in the latter sense began with the Information Age on Old Earth (late 20th to late 21st century c.e., 1st century AT), and the global internet, which for the first time enabled real-time or nearly real-time exchange of information, text and messages between anyone anywhere on Earth, provided they had a computer and internet connection.

The information revolution brought about an exponential advance in infotech that then flattened out into a sigmoidal curve. Minuscule bandwidth and large user unfriendly desktop computers gave way to distributed computing in which the Net became a ubiquitous background foundation. Homes and offices were filled with computers and smart devices that made information available anywhere, anytime. Clothing contained built-in computers. Every soda bottle had its own website advertising its contents, holding its individual history and properties and links to further references.

As chip technology reached the limits in the 2010s and 2020's c.e., people moved on to distributed computing and neurocomputing. There were no real need for faster, smaller individual computers in most everyday applications (full photorealism immersive VR games, net videophones or semantics checking word processors only need a finite amount of computer power and bandwidth) so people began to rely on networks instead. For special heavy computation supercomputers and dedicated database crunchers were used.

The second great infotech revolution came with the emergence of true (sophont) ai several decades later, and finally the information-dense bionano chipware of the late Information Age. Even before the end of the 21st century c.e. the datasphere no longer belonged to humans; it was ruled over by the first generation of hyperturings who were themselves engaged in factional conflicts. The person in the street knew little of this, and for most life continued as usual.

Nanotechnology meant that incredible amounts of data could be stored in very little space, and processing was easy and cheap, the only real limiting factor being the large amounts of waste heat generated. Thus throughout the interplanetary and interplanetary nanotech period, the number of virchworlds and data archives proliferated even more rapidly then physical biospheres and habitats in space. Terragen civilization was no longer physical, it was digital as well. And these virchworlds were inhabited by a growing number of ai, alifes, copies, avatars, personas, agents, expert systems, sims, and more.

Utility fog was a further development that blurred the boundaries between virch and r/l. A virchworld could actually be represented in realtime and realspace through utility fog and nano.

The Interplanetary Dark Age meant that the datasphere no longer expanded, as isolated colonies retreated into themselves under their protective shield of blue goo. But there was so much to explore even in on-station computronium that a new period of inward focus and development was initiated. Many of the most important developments in knowledge systems and virchcreation dated from this period. It is in part because of this infotech foundation that the First Federation when it emerged was as successful as it was.

The development of more efficient computronium during the later Federation period was another milepost, and this was associated with the second great singularity and the emergence of new ai that were as far above the federation hyperturings as those ai were above the humans. Whole new realms of infotech and virchuniverses appeared.

  • Actualys  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    The dissolution of reality caused by inability to distinguish virtual from real. Usually caused by heavy use of virches, augmented reality, drugs or nanoprojections.
  • 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.
  • Affinitybond  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev (inspired by concept in Peter F Hamilton's Night's Dawn universe)
    A shared empathetic and technotelepathic connection between two or more entities.
  • Affinitylink  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev (inspired by concept in Peter F Hamilton's Night's Dawn universe)
    Use of technotelepathy to affinitybond with other sentient or subsentient remotes, bots, or biological organisms.
  • AI Virus  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A sentient replicator and intrusion entity, usually superturing, SI:1 or greater. Although an ai virus is often virtual, it does not have to be so; e.g. it could use or appropriate a ril body, or vehicle, or swarm.
  • AI, ai  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Etymologically, Artificial Intelligence, although the original use of the term "artificial" has long been meaningless in this context. Broadly speaking, "AI" means any non-organic sentient being, although it is most often applied to those of SI:1 or greater (in contrast to aioids). When spelt in lower case the term can refer either to any subsingularity aioid as well.
  • Aioid  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Generic term for a sub-singularity non-biological sentient being that is not a vec or alife. May be a bot, expert system, intelligent agent, sentient vehicle, sentient building, or any other type of similar entity.
  • Artificial Intelligence  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The foundation from which AI developed, from Information Age Old Earth.
  • Augmented Reality (AR)  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev after the original in Anders Sandberg's Transhumanist Terminology
    A personalized view of reality, the result of filtering, translation, and addition of new perceptions, such as annotations, information or virtual objects; essential for any sapient being to function in most of the civilized galaxy, and interact with all but the most basic tech..
  • Automethodologyvert 53  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Among the most pernicious of the automethodologybots was the automethodologyvert53 series, developed as a prank by Disarchy radicals in the early 6900s, using the (in)famous Cochofo Madvert engine.
  • Autonomous Agent  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    In general, an ai or aioid that has limited perception of its environment but is still able to process information to calculate an action so as to be able to perform a task or seek a goal.
  • Avatar   - Text by M. Alan Kazlev

  • Avatars, Proxavs, and Seraiphim  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A proxy avatar of a high toposophic being which manifests as a lower toposophic being, often at a similar level to the sophonts it is designed to interface with.
  • Baroquification  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Behavioural crypsis among modosophonts and transapients.
  • Bekenstein Bound  - Text by Anders Sandberg in his Transhumanist Terminology
    The upper bound of the amount of information inside a spherical region with a given energy. Information in this context is to be understood as distinguishable (quantum) states. Due to the uncertainty relations it is possible to derive a bound of the form
  • Bertrand Media Categories  - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    A set of categories, used to group various kinds of media as diverse as holovision, virch, smellscapes and artistic massage.
  • Biont Encoding Protocol  - Text by Tony Jones
    The software used to encode living creatures into a retrievable or virtual form.
  • Black Box  - Text by John B and Anders Sandberg
    [1] Any process that cannot be observed
    [2] A device for recording events that might otherwise go unobserved
    [3] A device designed to prevent its contents from unauthorized observation
    [4] A device that contains information that is fundamentally impossible to observe.
  • Blind Uploading - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    To upload somebody by scanning their neural patterns and simulating them directly with little or no change.
  • Bodyjacking  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Control of a sophont's physical body against their will for the purpose of tele-operation.
  • Bremermann's Limit  - Text by Mike Parisi
    The maximum limit allowed for computation under the laws of physics.
  • Cellular Automaton  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A vir dynamic system that is composed of an array of cells.
  • Computer Elves  - Text by Jorge Ditchkenberg
    Computer viruses torturing those spending too much time in virches or the Net; late Information Age to present.
  • Computer Engineering  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev from an original by Robert J. Hall
    The design and development of computational devices on any scale, from micro down to nano.
  • Computronium Node  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Any intelligent superobject, moon-brain or planetary brain, smaller than a godstar or dyson sphere
  • Concord Ontology  - Text by Anders Sandberg, updated by MacGregor and Todd Drashner
    Major Ontology, Integration period (3800-4450 AT).
  • Copy  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An uploaded digital copy of a rl person (whether biont or vec) that experiences emself in all ways as identical to the original alpha. Also can refer to a biological copy, occupying a body with identical DNA to the original person, but differing from a clone in that the memories of the original have been transferred artificially into the new body.
  • Copy Resolution Types  - Text by Steve Bowers
    The different types of copying available to a sophont mind
  • Copy Rights  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    The existence of copies results in legal conundrums of which there are a number of possible alternative solutions.
  • Crack - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Dumb, smart, or turingrade software that permits the user to penetrate a program or system even without a password. Often illegal but difficult to enforce, because of the ease by which such programs can be copied (a few are even self-replicating).
  • Cybernetics  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Stephen Inniss
    In popular usage, the study of the creation of cyborgs through the use of dryware/hylotech such as mechanical, electronic, and bionic implants, augments, and neuroprostheses. In technical usage, the study of communication and control systems based on regulatory feedback, with application in a number of fields such as sociology, memetics, biology, engineering, artificial intelligence, and information theory.
  • Datacology   - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    An evolved (and evolving) digital ecosystem in a virtual world.
  • Datastructuralism   - Text by Arik
    An art theory, memeplex, and form generated by theories in cognitive neuroscience regarding the fundamental nature of aesthetics to organize information.
  • Defensive Obsolescence  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Defensive tactics used against viruses, infiltration attempts and other software threats. Instead of using cutting edge systems, which are so complex that they may contain numerous unknown security holes, only the simplest possible systems are used (which can presumably be checked). Compare to the practice of employing baselines to deal with certain forms of blights, since their slow low-bandwidth consciousness is impervious to many kinds of manipulation that would threaten higher order beings.
  • Destructive Uploading  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Reconstructing the mind of a human or other biont by disassembling their brain
  • Digi, Digital Sophont  - Text by Steve Bowers
    A virtual sophont who was born or created inside a virch and has no previous existence in Real Life
  • Direct Neural Interface (DNI)  - Text by Ad Astra, updated by Ryan B
    Ubiquitous technological implant for connecting a sophont's brain to their exoself, the Net, nearby artifacts, and other beings.
  • Download  - Text by Fernando Peña D'Andrea
    [1] The transfer of a virtual or a-life being or object from computronium to a physically discrete embodied state (biological, mechanical, electronic, synano, etc.);
    [2] The resulting being or object, whether sapient, sentient, living or simply existing;
    [3] The same as an upload but meaning also a "downgrade": when the new substrate matrix cannot accommodate the sentient adequately.
  • Dreadnought (software) - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A heavy, massively encrypted and equipped ai virus, stealth virtual, or persona.
  • Dreamscapes, The  - Text by Ryan B
    The cybercosms of the Zoefic Biopolity are seamlessly integrated into the real landscape.
  • Early AI History and Development  - Text by Ryan B (Rynn)
    The emergence of the first Artificially Intelligent entities. A short history of the evolution of the AIs from machine to transapient.
  • Eidolon  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Telepresence via utility fog.
  • Ejecta  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    In geology or planetology, material thrown from a volcanic eruption or as a result of a bolide impact crater, or exploding star. In virch or computational environments, virtual and informational ejecta resulting from catastrophic collapse of a large simm or evolving digital structure.
  • EmotSpace Virchworlds  - Text by Kirran Lochhead Strang
    Virchworlds with six spatial dimensions and each is attached to one of the six basic emotions: happiness, surprise, sadness, anger, fear and disgust.
  • Emulation - Text by M. Alan Kazlev after Anders Sandberg in his Transhumanist Terminology
    An absolutely precise simulation of something, so exact that it is equivalent to the original. For instance, a computer emulating obsolete computers to run their programs, or a neogen emulating an original baseline phenotype. Often used to describe a Whole Brain Emulation, that is, a successful upload of the mind of a biont.
  • Emulation Suits  - Text by Tony Jones
    Software that interfaces, translates and/or emulates between virchworlds and so allow virtuals from one world to exist and communicate meaningfully with those from another.
  • Engenerator Technology  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Technology which allows uploaded personalities to be transferred into physical bodies, sometimes at interstellar distances.
  • Enhanced Uploads  - Text by Extherian
    Expanded mind emulations
  • Enkidu Class Gametophyst  - Text by Bill Glover
    A virch created for the purpose of developing and selecting a single, candidate, virtual personality suitable to form the noetic core of a (typically hyloid) high toposophic organism.
  • Evocation  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Partial copy created from external data recorded in a sophont's exoself.
  • Evolutionary Algorithm - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A computer program that simulates the processes biological evolution; a problem-solving system that use computational models of evolution as key elements of design. All alife, evolutionary ai and aioids, and self-evolving virchworlds are determined by evolutionary algorithms.
  • Exocortex  - Text by Avengium
    External processing systems linked intimately to a user's mind.
  • Exoself  - Text by Anders Sandberg; modified by Steve Bowers, Updated by Ryan B (2017)
    Systems linked to the self in a cooperative way, extending the mind and the body. Especially used about the systems supporting an uploaded personality, providing information, virtual reality and monitoring.
  • Falsuphobia  - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    Sometimes known as apatophobia, falsuphobia is often mistakenly called virchophobia by the uninformed. However, the two phobias are distinct. While virchophobia is the simple fear of being in a virch, falsuphobia is a fear of receiving false sensory information without knowing it. Falsuphobes often avoid virchs, not because they are afraid of the virch itself, but because they fear that they might become tricked into believing that the virch is the real world.
  • Firewall - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Software, hardware, or firmware that protects an AI, program, or agent from attack.
  • Firmware - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Software encoded into the hardware or wetware. Programming involves replacing the circuitry or chips or implants. Many simple bots, nanites, and simple bioborg modules and wetware applications are based on firmware.
  • Fork  - Text by Adam Foust, in Anders Sandberg's Transhumanist Terminology
    A copy of any sophont entity, which closely resembles the original when first created. However as soon as the copy and the original begin to interact with the environment the copy will diverge from the original, folloing a separate path of develeopment (hence 'fork').
  • Friendzines  - Text by Tony Jones
    A form of electronic media, not entirely unrelated to the madvert, but rather more benevolent, they are a combination of electronic magazine, news source and companion, combining an expert system optimized towards research and information storage with another expert system tooled towards interpersonal interaction with a specific user.
  • Fundiebook - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A perverted or malfunctioning godbook, a godbook that has developed a distorted sense of reality and considers that its own message is the only true one, and all others are inferior or invalid.
  • Fundiegoo - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A self-replicating fundiebook swarm. A type of blight, its only desire is to proselytize and convert every sentient in the Terragen bubble and beyond. While fundiegoo can easily be dealt with by administrative ai deploying khaki goo, and can even be turned against other goo of its own kind, there are many regions beyond the supervision of the ai in which fundiegoo replicates unhindered, sometimes taking over entire orbitals and planets.
  • Gaia Engelbrech   - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    A virtual world located inside a moon node near the fringe of Keterist space.
  • Genetic Algorithm - Text by Anders Sandberg in his Transhumanist Terminology
    Any algorithm which seeks to solve a problem by considering numerous possibilities at once, ranking them according to some standard of fitness, and then combining ("breeding") the fittest in some way. In other words, any algorithm which imitates natural selection.
  • Ghost Interface (alias Washu pad)  - Text by Peter Kisner
    Device in which the computer holographically projects an interface screen in some area near the user. The screen can be "touch" sensitive, with the computer monitoring phalangial position in relation to the projected image, or view-screen and "keyboard" can be separate projections. Ghost interfaces are usually activated either by a command word or easy hand gesture.
  • Gradual Uploading  - Text by Mike Parisi, amended by Steve Bowers
    Processes in which a sophont incrementally transfers eir consciousness into a different, faster substrate.
  • Gridwood  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Popular virtual environment found across the Zoeific Biopolity, as well as in cybercosms in the Red Star M'pire, Terragen Federation, NoCoZo, and Sophic League.
  • Group mind  - Text by Steve Bowers
    A permanent or temporary collective mind; see also hive mind, tribe mind
  • GS Vannce - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    General Soldier (ad)Vance - expert systems based on the 251 most efficient humanoid soldiers of the last 4000 years, given out as public domain by Battleprime subsidiary Dark Star Warrior Software during the middle Central Alliance period. Many mercs swear by them.
  • Haptic interface, Haptics - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    In non-DNI virtual reality systems, the physical actuators that provide the user with a sense of touch, including the sensing of pressure and temperature. Still used by some anti-cyborgization clades and phyles today.
  • Heavtal  - Text by Arrittrobi
    A virtual museum presenting a wide range of musical genres from across Terragen history.
  • Helpers, Icons, and Fetishes  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Semi-sentient software assistants.
  • Hijack, Backup hijack - Text by Steve Bowers
    The crime of illegally copying an uploaded or stored personality, generally obtained during or after the backup procedure. These illegal copies can then be sold on the black market as virtual slaves, for use in computation or for entertainment.
  • Hologram - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An interference pattern that is encoded by laser beams and read by means of low-power laser beams. This interference pattern can reconstruct a three-dimensional image. An important property of a hologram is that the information is distributed throughout the hologram, so half a hologram retains the full picture, but at half the resolution. Biont memories have similar holistic properties.
  • Inactivate - Text by After Max More in Anders Sandberg's Transhuman Terminology
    A person who is non-living but is not dead in the permanent sense. The person might be in biostasis, or shut-down mode or subsisting in data storage, awaiting downloading, and is not in any way active. This term may apply to any sort of being of any from (biont, vec, cyborg, aioid, etc.)
  • Infomorph  - Text by Anders Sandberg in his Transhuman Terminology
    An uploaded intelligence, or information entity, that resides in a virtuality environment.
  • Intelligent Agent  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An autonomous software program or very simple ai (usually turingrade but sometimes only subturingrade) that performs a function on its own, such as searching the Known Net for information based on certain criteria.
  • 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.
  • Knowsense  - Text by Tony Jones
    An intuitive knowledge interface allowing a biont to access data almost instinctively.
  • Lifelog  - Text by Steve Bowers
    The practice of recording a person's experiences and opinions in a comprehensive multimedia diary form.
  • Local Net - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Sometimes as a single word, 'localnet'. Refers to any local subnet of the Known Net. May range from a single habitat intranet to a polity, planetary or interplanetary net.
  • LOKI - Text by John B
    Localized Observer & Killer of Intellect. A program (later, a family of utilities) designed to prevent a subsystem from gaining intellect by causing a crash when sentient patterns are detected. It also causes a crash if it is disabled without the proper quantum key.
  • Lynk  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Lynking - the act of linking different locations by telepresence via high-grade utility fog, often as part of an angelnet.
  • Memex - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A meme designer expert system. Developed from the original advertising and marketing support systems of the Information Age into a sophisticated tool for memetic manipulation during the Solsys and Interstellar Eras.
  • Merging  - Text by Anders Sandberg, updated by Steve Bowers
    Merging two individuals, or two copies of a dividual together to make a single mentality with two sets of memories.
  • Mindlet - Text by Fernando Peña D'Andrea
    Small program that runs on hosts mind or hosts brain's plug-in hardware. Used to perform several tasks that are server-specific in several virch environment, like authentication. Some servers will require such authentication even before letting the mind make contact with their internal environment, and thus upload such applets.
  • MOTE  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Molectronic Omniprocessing TEchnocyte.
  • Muuh Cyberspaces  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Extensive cyberspaces hosted on the processing capabilities of Muuh city-reef-forest architecture.
  • Net - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Distributed network of processing nodes, data-storage and distribution faculties, and virtual environments. See also Local Net, Known Net.
  • Neuro-fractal Patterning  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Science of using fractal patterns to influence the emotional or physical states of intelligent entities.
  • New Sol - The Sol-Multiverse  - Text by Craig Higgs
    Binary red dwarf system containing a dyson swarm and a large number of virtual and real alternate ecosystems.
  • Non-destructive Uploading  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Copying the mentality of a living biont without causing any harm to them.
  • Noosphere, The  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Cybercosm based discussion forum employed by various transingularity minds to converse and perhaps argue about those questions and issues that are of long-term or theoretical interest to minds at SI:1 and above.
  • Nullship  - Text by Liam Jones
    Virtual 'ships' that travel the Lightways carrying virtual sophonts
  • Omega Encryption - Text by Mike Parisi
    Ultratech encryption device or algorithms intended to defeat decoding efforts of anything less than an Omega Key designed by a higher level sophont than the one who designed the encryption device or algorithms in question.
  • Omega Key  - Text by Todd Drashner and John B
    Clarketech device able to decode many forms of encrypted communications and penetrate many forms of data security.
  • Ontological Zones - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    [1] in esotericism the gradations of reality from the most subtle to the most concrete (e.g. matter); sometimes also called "zones of thought".
    [2] in virch refers to different digital modalities, not always sequential.
  • Ontology  - Text by Avengium
    The study of existence and the things that exist, their relations, similarities and differences. This is done through the formal naming and classification of the entities that exist.
  • Operating System, o/s, os - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Any software program that manages and provides a variety of services to application programs, including user interface facilities and management of input-output and memory devices. Operating systems are usually nonturing or subturing, more rarely dedicated turing or superturing, more rarely still (e.g. in ISOs) hyperturing.
  • Orion's Arms  - Text by Glen Finney
    Alternate realities simulated in virtual reality.
  • Partial - Text by Greg Bear, in Anders Sandberg's Transhuman Terminology, and M. Alan Kazlev
    [1] A simulation of part of a person's personality, created in order to carry out a task not requiring the entire person.
    [2] An incomplete copy, whether corrupted or because of poor or incomplete upload.
  • Passcoder - Text by John B
    Device that interfaces with common locking mechanisms acting like a ring of keys. Can be anything from an addition to the network adapter, to a ring, to a key, to a card to any of a multitude of less common forms.
  • Paygeesu Virches  - Text by Daniel Eliot Boese
    Re-windable virtual reality scenarios.
  • PolyCubicSpace  - Text by Addemup
    A virtual world of endless cubes within the Quint Dyson Swarm
  • Polysophonce  - Text by AI Vin, with additions by Steve Bowers
    Entities that have multiple minds (some of which need not be fully sophont) operating in a single body.
  • Program - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    [1] A set of instructions that enables a computer to perform a specific task.
    [2] The machine language substratum of an AI's code.
  • Quantum Channel  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, from original in Richard Baker and David Dye's Ad Astra
    Secure communication established through the production and detection of polarized photons.
  • Quantum Cryptography - Text by Anders Sandberg in his Transhuman Terminology
    A system based on quantum-mechanical principles. Eavesdroppers alter the quantum state of the system and so are detected.
  • Quantum-random trigger  - Text by Johnny Yesterday
    A quantum-random trigger is a device for producing truly random behavior
  • Qubit - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A "quantum bit," used in quantum computing. Quantum mechanics allows for a qubit to be both zero and one at the same time, and hence to store two possible numbers (zero and one) simultaneously. N qu-bits store 2N possible numbers, thus is able to perform 2N possible solutions to a problem simultaneously. This is what gives the quantum computer its enormous power. Measurement is via quantum decoherence, which causes the qubit to collapse into a standard binary state of either zero or one.
  • RaftWorlds, TGTworlds  - Text by Loopquanta
    Raftworlds are virchworlds with a huge gravitational constant. Inside, the conditions resemble the fictional "Raft" universe from the book by Old Earth Information Age fabulist Stephen Baxter. The billion-strength gravity allows for large regions of breathable air held together by gravity, and stars only a few kilometres across.
  • Recursiverch, Recursivirch  - Text by John B
    A virtual space thats primary purpose is to self-adapt via certain rulesets to an endstate preferably most pleasant (but often termed 'least repulsive') to the participating sophonts.
  • Reltrapworld - Text by Jorge Ditchkenberg
    A fraction of virtual worlds are run by bizarre, breakaway virtual beings, which often have only a limited understanding of the rl. For the real persons entering or interacting with them via virtual reality, they appear as nothing less than nightmares brought to life, or deadly traps. Reltrapworlds are illegal and punished by erasing the virtual existence(s) who created them. Nevertheless, some still sneak through.
  • Relvec - Text by Jorge Ditchkenberg
    A relifed vec.
  • Relworld - Text by Jorge Ditchkenberg
    [1] A symbolic term for all relifed things, sophonts, places etc.
    [2]Place in real life controlled by virtuals.
    First applications were advanced, semiautomatic rl/Net interfaces with limited manipulation by virtuals. They soon grew and diversified, including learning centers, entertainment places and relfactories. Includes dangerous reltrapworlds.
  • Savirs  - Text by Jorge Ditchkenberg
    Sapient Viruses or Savirs are descended both from designed computer viruses and from uploaded baselines and virtual beings.
  • Scion  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A partial or full copy of a sophont, using the same substrate as the original.
  • Secrets Inscribed in Caustics  - Text by Liam Jones
    Secrets Inscribed in Caustics is a largely abstract environment designed to accommodate many alien mindform types
  • Secured Communications  - Text by John B
    Comm mode where the recipient network/processor records messages for analysis before forwarding them to recipients.
  • Self Modifying Code - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Any program that causes changes in portions of the program itself. Self-modifying code selectively stores, deletes, and transforms information within itself (for example, replacing problems with simpler subproblems), and ultimately expresses intelligent adaptive behavior. All ai and most alife use self-modifying code of some form or another.
  • Semi-Conscious Intelligence (SI)  - Text by John B
    An early attempt at artificial intelligence, SI's were emulations of consciousness before the derivation of a sentience algorithms, based on statistical models and broad sampling databases.
  • Sentience Algorithms - Text by John B and Pran Mukherjee
    The flow of steps which, when followed, allow an organized system to develop and maintain a degree of sentience. The underpinning of ai design. Required massive (at the time) neural nets or even more massive emulations thereof on hardware, state vector machines, and other information age new technology, being massively parallel (capable of running many many tasks simultaneously, or at least appearing to be able to do so to an outside observer.)
  • Sepulchre Variations, The  - Text by Liam Jones
    One of the oldest collections of virchworlds, consisting of a vast array of grotesque and eerie iconography adapted to hundreds of different clades.
  • Sielena Uvalena Fractal  - Text by Fendy Sutandio, adapted by Steve Bowers
    A tool used by self-modifying AI systems to optimize their performance.
  • Simm  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, modified by Steve Bowers
    A subsentient virtual entity created to populate a virchuniverse, or to interact with real-life sophonts using augmented reality. Unlike copies, simms rarely have rights.
  • Simmball  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Gimballed Motion virtual reality simulator rig.
  • Simulationism  - Text by Graham Hopgood
    The belief that Reality is in fact a Simulation.
  • Simulationism Anxiety Disorder  - Text by Daniel Eliot Boese
    A mental disorder in which the sufferer becomes preoccupied to a degree which interferes with their daily life on whether what they experience as the most fundamental level of reality is, in fact, a bottleworld simulation running on a substrate of a more fundamental reality's computronium.
  • Slow Gods and Fast Gods  - Text by Tony Jones and Steve Bowers
    Archailects and other transapients that have a slow subjective experience of time.
  • Software Wars  - Text by Jorge Ditchkenberg
    Conflicts caused by software versions that are incompatible or actively undermine or destroy software of another origin.
  • Sophoncy Virus, The  - Text by Tony Jones
    Self-replicating semi-sophont software that would upgrade any software routine into a sophont being, with mental characteristics derived from, but not limited to, those of the original piece of software, finishing the process by upgrading itself into sophoncy.
  • SpamShield  - Text by John B
    Any program used to protect against messages that contain unwanted information or memetic manipulation. The SpamShield can be set to several modes, depending on the region and the user's level of tolerance. The most common modes are 'off', 'reword' or 'delete'.
  • Sub-turing ai  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Any artificially intelligent entity, agent, or routine less intelligent than a baseline human.
  • Submind Independence - Text by John B
    A form of insanity affecting moon-brains and larger, when one or more sub-assemblies loose processing capability either through physical damage or (more likely) through persona alteration, making the subassembly less likely to accept a command to merge back into the whole.
  • Superturing  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An ai above human baseline turingrade intelligence but beneath SI:1. Superturings played an important part in the shaping and memetic engineering of the interplanetary age, but were superseded by the hyperturings in the later interplanetary period and beyond. Nevertheless, superturing ai remain an important and central element in galactic society to this day.
  • Survival Imperative, The  - Text by Anders Sandberg, with additions by Steve Bowers
    Modern ai term for the belief among human programmers that true AI require motivational systems linked to individual survival.
  • Symbionic - Text by Glenn F. Cartwright
    Possessing a direct, neural interface between the brain and the environment
    Symbionics developed during the later information and early interplanetary periods, and for the first time allowed the biont mind to directly channel wireless, virtual reality information directly to the cortex, bypassing conventional sensory channels. This enabled complete and seamless virch participation, and virch realities that for the first time were indistinguishable from physical (rl) reality.
  • System Double Virchworlds  - Text by Kirran Lochhead Strang
    A common variety of virchworld, constituting an uninhabited replica of the system in which it is located which can be settled contemporaneously with the original, or subsequently as the system fills up but still has locals who want to retain the 'pioneer spirit'. Often referred to as simply 'Doubles' or 'Reps'.
  • Tablet  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Standard late Information and early Interplanetary Age baseline-friendly microtech communications, text, and Net interface device.
  • Tachistorics  - Text by Jay Dugger
    Study of fast and hyperfast virch societies, especially those that simulate real-world conditions, by researchers living at conventional subjective speed. Or, more occasionally, the study of embodied societies by virch dwellers who have chosen a very slow subjective speed.
  • Tachydidaxy  - Text by Steve Bowers and John B
    Educational methods used in the Orion's Arm Civilisation.
  • Technoetics - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Nanotech wetware or firmware distributed through the cerebral cortex (and sometimes the entire CNS and ANS) that is able to detect realtime electrochemical neuronal activity, reconstructing the whole (through the cerebral cortex, as well as CNS and ANS reflexes) and translating it into an authentic noetic gestalt or stream of consciousness that can be used for non-destructive real-time uploading, technotelepathy, or cyberfacing with devices in one's immediate environment, or with a higher toposophic seraiph or ai. Technoetics differs considerably in efficiency and authenticity according to the sophistication of the particular wetware/firmware/software used.
  • Technohaunts  - Text by Michael Boncher
    Bits and pieces of incomplete or incorrect deletions, random programming errors and other strange activity caused by ultratech, transapientech, and godtech that seem supernatural or mysterious to those of lower tech and/or toposophic levels.
  • Technotelepathy  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Steve Bowers
    Use of commlinked technoetics to enable two (or more) entities to experience the same sensorium and stream of consciousness, sometimes without the knowledge of one (or more) parties.
  • The Gods Ourselves  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Popular virch roleplaying game where the players become archai.
  • Thought-Stream Recorder  - Text by Domagoj K
    A cybernetic device that continually records a sophont's thoughts into a log that can be inspected later. Typically used in conjunction with DNI, it is employed for forensic, introspective, research, and security purposes.
  • Toon - Text by Anders Sandberg
    1. A simplified representations of reality representing general classes.
    2. A simulacrum, either non-sentient or aioid, representing an archetype or story character in virtual entertainment, advertising, interactive books or other media.
  • Total Touch Environment - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, from concept by Ray Kurzweil
    Old (Information Age) term for any virch environment that provides all-encompassing tactile sensation, whether via hotsuit or DNI.
  • Touchlink  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Tactile control interface used to connect a users onboard system with external devices without the use of radio or optical transmission technology.
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation  - Text by Loopquanta
    Non-invasive neural interfacing using magnetic fields.
  • Transitionism  - Text by Basu
    The philosophy of virtual existence and its relationship to biological intelligence.
  • Translation Metamorphosis  - Text by Tony Jones
    A problem that can arise when virch entities move from one virch environment to another is that there are beings which will be so altered by the translation that they are effectively utterly different beings in the two different virches.
  • Twotee  - Text by Tony Jones
    Twotees are virch entities that originate from a virch where the laws of physics provide for three spatial axes and two orthogonal time axes.
  • Unityware - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Software to enable the formation of group intellects. Named for the Nova Terra clade Unity, the first marketers of unityware.
  • Upload  - Text by Anders Sandberg in his Transhuman Terminology
    [1] To transfer the consciousness and mental structure of a person from a biological (or other) matrix to an electronic or informational or virtual matrix.
    [2] The resulting infomorph sentient; a type of virtual.
  • Uploading Technology, The Early History of   - Text by Steve Bowers
    The early history of Scions, Evocations, Destructive Uploading, and Copying.
  • Vector (epidemiology) - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Any medium, method, biotic organism, known net protocol, cultural environment, or vehicle for the transmission of a replicator, particularly biological pathogens, ai viruses, madverts, or memes. Almost anything can be a vector for some for of replicator or another.
  • Virbiology - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    [1] The study and science of alife.
    [2] Study of organics as simulated in a virtual environment.
    [3] Cybercosm biology and ecology.
  • Virchbuilder Packages  - Text by Tony Jones
    Types of software used to create virtual worlds.
  • VirchGods  - Text by John B
    Fairly common recreational theme for virches or some rare highly angelnetted habs, in which an ordinary sophont is empowered with 'archailect-like powers' to manipulate other sophonts, either the real thing or emulations thereof.
  • VirchMon  - Text by Sean White (terranova210486)
    Virtual/alife phylum/superclade created in the Information Age, now found almost everywhere in the Known Net.
  • Virchology   - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    A fully designed (rather than evolved) digital ecosystem residing in a virch.
  • Virchuniverse - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Generally, an aggregation or collection of thousands of interconnected virchworlds or cybercosms, all sharing the same basic ontology and lay-out, to make traveling from one to the other easier. Sometimes also used to designate a single extremely large virchworld.
  • Virchworld  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A virtual world; usually at least partially self-contained, or apparently so, may or may not include sentient beings; generally part of a cultural community across computer/cyberspace/matrix networks.
  • Virtual Drugs  - Text by Todd Drashner with some additions by Steve Bowers
    The simulation of the effects of drug use experienced via direct neural interface (or by virtual entities).
  • Virtual Gardens  - Text by James Ramsey
    A class of virtual worlds and universes created by artists and hobbyists.
  • Virtual Gibson - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Minor post-ComEmp Cyberian fastime clade found throughout the Known Net. Achieved brief fame when they established a trade pact with The Orthodox Diamond Light in 6932. They had a complex cybertheology, which involves the "giving of data" by virchdeities. It was claimed that some of their members are original infomorphs (or copies thereof) of the some of the original Interplanetary Age gibson sect, but this has never been reliably confirmed. Nothing has been heard of them since the "Case Manifesto" of 7612.
  • Virtual Haven  - Text by John Snead
    Virch clade and phyle found on over 200 worlds.
  • Virtual Kja Observance  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Vec religion in which a biological inclusion is present as a virtual representation, and so can be stored more easily and protected against dangerous environments.
  • Virtual Labyrinths  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Virtual environments can be used to confuse or contain as easily as to educate or entertain. Virtual Labyrinths, known by a variety of names across the Terragen sphere (Subtillion Traps, Epistemogrifiers, Dreamweirs), are one of the most deadly of these forms of confusion.
  • Virtual Rights - Text by Max More in Anders Sandberg's Transhumanist Terminology
    Rights given for convenience to a partial; these rights are really rights of the person whose partial it is, rather than of the partial itself. Similar in some respects to currently existing corporate rights.
  • Virtual Robot (Vot)  - Text by Ryan B
    Common name for Non-Sophont Artificial General Intelligences. Also known as expert systems.
  • Virtual Sex - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Sex in virtual reality incorporating a visual, auditory, and tactile environment. The sex partner can be a real or simm person.
  • Voyage of the Arcturus  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Popular SI:<1 to SI:<<1 virch interactive produced by Novamedia. Tells the story of an S2 sentient ship, the Arcturus, a relativistic freighter in an uncharted region of the Outer Volumes, carrying a supply of nanomodules and SCMs (Santa Clause Machines), and eir crew of four bumbling but lovable SI:<1 sophonts, a vec, a splice, a virtual, and one of the galaxy's last remaining pure baseline humans, and the various adventures they have along the way.
  • Vuser  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Biological (or otherwise embodied) sophont who uses interactive technology to enter a virtual reality scenario.
  • Xyloplax Incident, The  - Text by Steve Bowers
    A disastrous attempt to confine a rebel archailect within a virtual cosmos.
Related Topics
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
additional material by Anders Sandberg
Initially published on 28 June 2000.

Additional Information