Low Tech / Lotech

Low Tech Castle
Image from copyright Kevin Williams

Low Tech is a term for technologies equivalent to those that were common on Old Earth from the late Agricultural Age to the early Industrial Age. It differs from higher technology levels chiefly in the absence of active information technologies, and from lower tech levels in that it includes complex self-powered machinery and items created with knowledge of basic chemistry. Low tech permits a wider variety of societies than primtech.

Characteristic technologies of this level include simple buildings of wood, concrete, glass or steel, nonreactive textiles and furniture, manually controlled vehicles, machine printed text materials, non-interactive broadcast media, steam or internal combustion engines, guns and cannons, primitive batteries, electrical lights, aircraft, and basic assembly-line based factories.

Low Tech is, of course, often found as a component of higher tech societies. Contrary to popular belief, most Low Tech encountered today does not date back to pre-singularity Old Earth. Many Low Tech devices are designed and built by current craftsman and engineers, both sapient and transapient. Because of its low maintenance and resource requirements and its simplicity and ease of manufacture, lotech remains popular not only among Ludd and Prim clades and polities, but with many individuals in more advanced societies. Some may also maintain entire lotech regions as restful resorts or retreat areas.

Exclusively lotech societies are rather rare, though there are many ludd, lo tek, and prim-symbiont clades that live at this level scattered through the Civilized Galaxy. Lotech is very popular among Semperists, though typically they supplement it with higher tech.

  • Alloy  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A metallic element modified by the addition of one or more other elements ('dumb' alloy) or by the addition of nanotech devices ('smart' alloy).
  • Anachrotech  - Text by Matthew C. Johnson
    Obsolete, no longer common technologies or other objects that have been improved upon with modern materials and techniques, but retain the same fundamental properties.
  • Compatibility Doctrine, The  - Text by The Humbler
    Technological doctrine that makes backwards compatibility a priority.
  • Foucault Pendulum - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A simple pendulum that tracks the rotation of a planet (or moon or orbital). As the pendulum swings, the planet rotates under the pendulum, so the pendulum seems to rotate. It was first demonstrated by Jean Bernard Foucault, in 109 BT (1851 AD) at the Paris World's Fair, Europe, Old Earth.
  • Lo Tek  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Sophonts who choose a lower technology level but retain awareness of and the ability to use higher technologies.
  • Mega Factory  - Text by Rhea47
    Large scale, often deliberately anachronistic manufactory units which do not use nanofab technology
  • Retroism  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Retrotechnological movement during the Expansion Era, a counter-dependent reaction to Keterism.
  • Steampunk, Steampunker - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Baseline subculture popular in the the NoCoZo and MPA. Steampunkers try to cultivate elaborate steam-powered retro cultures, often using baroque and baseline-dangerous weaponry and machinery, and combining this with advanced uploading and biocloning technology to ensure their revival in the (likely) case of extreme injury or death.
  • Uberwatch  - Text by John B
    The UberWatch is a low-tech input device utilized by various semi-regressed clades throughout the known volumes. It is a bracelet or, much more commonly, a watch designed to read the positioning of a person's hand both in relation to their main body and, via neural pickups (usually non-intrusive, occasionally intrusive), the positioning of fingers, wrist, etc.
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Development Notes
Text by Stephen Inniss after the original by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 29 August 2008.

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