High Tech Societies

City wide shot 2 ::
Image from Juan Ochoa

This is the highest stable level of society that can be maintained without assistance from transapients. For that reason, many High Tech Civilizations are very popular among nostalgic groups and baseline supremacists. However, "pure" High Tech societies with no transapient elements or contacts are relatively rare. This is because friendly contacts with transapients tend to reduce the likelihood of major economic collapse, devastating wars, or events like Solsys' Technocalypse, and also because completely independent High Tech societies are more vulnerable to predatory transapients if they lack transapient allies/members/masters. Some High Tech societies receive direct assistance and advice from Transapientech societies, while others are otherwise independent but are isolated subcultures sheltered within transapient-regulated regions. Others yet again rely on isolation over relativistic distances, and take their chances.

With the exception of specialized societums that may be bound to a single hab or planet as part of their design, High Tech societies usually have some interplanetary capability, and some interstellar spacefaring capacity, though for the latter they may rely on second-hand transapientech. Likewise High Tech societies may construct their own habs but depend on transapientech for extremely large projects like a Banks orbital.

High Tech societies may have almost any kind of government, from autocratic and xenophobic to open and democratic or cyberdemocratic. Economics may be capitalist-scarcity based supply and demand (whether internal or involving trade with the outside galaxy), centralist command societies, or post-scarcity autotopias. Some exclusively High Tech polities and civilizations are partially or entirely dependent on tourism, although in time unrestricted tourism usually results in the degradation of the indigenous culture.

Complexity management is a serious problem with High Tech societies. The overall techno-social structures are so fantastically complicated that it requires high grade AIs to manage them effectively — and these high level AI may have agendas of their own and may be or become transapient.

High Tech societies constitute the majority of polities and societies inhabited by free sophonts in the more developed regions — especially the Inner Sphere and the hinterworlds of the main provincial centres. Many are affiliated with the major Sephirotic powers, but this is not necessarily the case. Most modosophonts, or ordinary sophonts, live in a predominantly High Tech society, even if the society itself relies in part on transapientech.

Ultratech Tank
Image from Kentsuku CG World (copyright)

  • Ad-Drugs  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Pharmaceutical advertising; a class of tailored drugs which are either supplied as part of a promotion for a particular product or stimulate a desire to purchase or obtain that product.
  • Angelnet Fog - Text by John B
    One side effect of angelnets making use of pervasive utility fog (or other space filling smart matter) in a terran-standard atmosphere has come to be called 'Angelnet Fog'. Effectively, each microbot in the three dimensional mesh acts as the seed for a raindrop, with water coalescing out of the atmosphere onto its surface. This tends (in poorly regulated angelnets) to lead to high degrees of mist and fog at ground level. It can be an interesting phenomenon to fly into a heavily angelnetted city from above the angelnetting, seeing large, odd-shaped 'columns' of fog, only later to realize that what you're seeing is the angelnet fog surrounding various buildings.
  • Angelnet Services  - Text by John B, David Jackson, and Todd Drashner
    Angelnets, particularly those employing utility fog, have a variety of different services that they may offer to sophonts living within them.
  • Animadvert  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Any of a number of corporate organic life forms, mostly subsapient, which have slogans, logos, and even freebies and consumer liteware incorporated into their genetic structure, and hence expressed in their phenotype and/or secreted or excreted.
  • Arcology  - Text by Anders Sandberg, Trent Shipley, and M. Alan Kazlev
    A planned, building/ neighborhood/ city that is integrated into the landscape and enables the inhabitants to live holistic lives, integrating work and play. Arcology designs are fully 3-dimensional, mega-structure cities which can in theory achieve much greater efficiencies, and promote more social interaction than 2-dimensional cities, while using far less land and consuming fewer resources.
  • Astrogation, Astronavigation  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Plotting a course for a ship through interplanetary and interstellar space.
  • Astrography  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Interstellar cartography, determining one's position in space, naming of interplanetary and interstellar bodies and regions, the science of interplanetary and interstellar map-making.
  • 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..
  • Autotopia  - Text by Ryan B
    Hightech and above class of post-scarcity infrastructure and socioeconomic system, controlled by non-sophont AI.
  • Bailout Device  - Text by David Jackson
    Backup device intended to actively preserve itself in an emergency, if necessary by finding a new host.
  • Biomimetics, Biomimesis  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Originally, designs or technology that were inspired by or based on living organisms.
  • Biomodvert, Biomadvert  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A biomodified life form hybridised with a madvert.
  • Biosphere  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Any autonomous self-supporting, self-containing, homeostatic ecosystem.
  • Blind Uploading - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    To upload somebody by scanning their neural patterns and simulating them directly with little or no change.
  • Botworld  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A large area that is dominated by, or consists entirely of, self-replicating and self-repairing forms which are of mechanical origin.
  • Clarke Habitats, Clarke Rings  - Text by AI Vin with additions by Steve Bowers
    Space habitats built in stationary orbits around planets, often linked loosely together to form a Clarke Ring. Also variously known as Clarke bands or Clarke orbital bands.
  • Cognitive Diuretic  - Text by John B
    A 'rebranding' of so-called 'truth' drugs such as sodium pentathol.
  • Common Tools  - Text by Sethbord
    A short list of some common items.
  • Compuform - Text by M. Alan Kazlev after Charlie Stross, in Anders Sandberg's Transhuman Terminology
    To turn matter into computronium. An old blue chip industry that has never gone out of demand.
  • Cooling, bioborg  - Text by Brian McKinley, John B, and M. Alan Kazlev
    Technologies for maintaining comfortable body temperature for bioborgs whose augments produce significant waste heat.
  • CPNC Civilization Ships, The  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A massive ship holding vast amounts of data; originally designed as a protection against the collapse of civilisation.
  • Data Filters  - Text by Michael Boncher
    An implant that literally tunes the mind in and out of potentially dangerous information and memes. It cuts out clutter and information overload without interfering with relevant data.
  • Data Siphons  - Text by Michael Boncher
    An implant or wearable device that helps the mind of the user find relevant data out of the chaos and noise of daily life.
  • Datacology   - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    A digital ecosystem in a virtual world.
  • DevNull  - Text by David Jackson
    Specialized memetic AI, designed to analyze patterns of sophont expression and respond in socially optimal ways.
  • Far Edge Party   - Text by Steve Bowers
    Many explorers who exist in multiple copies arrange to meet at distant locations to exchange information and memories. These meetings are traditionally called 'Far Edge Parties', as they are supposed to occur at the 'far edge of the galaxy', although to date no exploration ships have reached that far.
  • Gradual Uploading  - Text by Mike Parisi, amended by Steve Bowers
    Processes in which a sophont incrementally transfers eir consciousness into a different, faster substrate.
  • Helpers, Icons, and Fetishes  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Semi-sentient software assistants.
  • Herders  - Text by Steve Bowers and Juan Ochoa
    Small or ultrasmall automated ships which accompany mass streams of neumanns and other valuable commodities through space to their destination.
  • Industrial Ecology  - Text by Chris Shaeffer
    The study and implementation of efficient industrial systems coexisting with the natural environments within which they operate.
  • Infomorph  - Text by Anders Sandberg in his Transhuman Terminology
    An uploaded intelligence, or information entity, that resides in a virtuality environment.
  • 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.
  • Knowsense  - Text by Tony Jones
    An intuitive knowledge interface allowing a biont to access data almost instinctively.
  • Life Extension  - Text by Anders Sandberg, Ryan_B
    The science and practice of extending the lifespans of biological organisms.
  • Memory Storage, Long-Term - Text by Steve Bowers
    Memory storage for posthumans thousands of years old is often a problem. One popular (but clumsy) solution among some clades is to employ computronium implants, or even a small drone floating about for all the very-long-term memory storage. More elegant solutions involve a nanosome in each posthuman cell writing memory directly to redundant or specially set aside nuclear DNA.
  • Microcosm (physical) - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A cosmos in miniature. Any self-contained world or universe. It may be real or virtual. Many sophonts and powers enjoy creating microcosms.
  • Minimal Surface City  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A city designed according to strict geometrical principles, so as to ensure minimal surfaces without compromising functionalism or aesthetic design.
  • Moodomorphic  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Clothing, bionano or hylonano augments that alter themselves, or even the appearance of the wearer/user, according to the mood of that individual. Some individuals and clades regularly morph their entire bodies in this way. Hence, moodomorpher, moodomorphist, etc.
  • Multiurban Society - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A planetary society concentrated into a few major arcologies or metroplexes, in order to keep most of the planetary surface pristine.
  • Musical Eugenic - Text by Jay Dugger and John B
    Any individual or clade geneered for musical talent or traits.
  • Nano-ecology, Nanecology - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A distributed system of nanodevices and the structures constructed by them that self-organizes in a bottom-up manner without any central control; analogous to an ecology. Sometimes used to denote the entire nanosphere of a world, even when parts of it are under top-down control.
  • Nanofab/Nanofac Models  - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    Notable/historic fabricator models
  • Nanoindustrialization - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Optimization of a polity, asteroid, moon, planet, star system, or empire, for nanodesign and nanofacture on a large scale. Most (but not all) of the old core capitals and inner sphere and regional power centers are heavily nanoindustrialized.
  • Nanomedicine  - Text by Ryan B
    The use of nanites to repair damage and boost the biont immune system.
  • Nanosphere - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Generally, the part of a — usually nanoindustrialised or nanodeveloped — world (or more rarely habitat) that is pervaded or saturated by nanodevices — the realm of nano-interaction. Typical angelnets for example constitute a nanosphere.
  • Nanotechnology Side-effects  - Text by John B
    Sometimes as a result of conflict or combat, sometimes as a result of malfunctions or carelessness, even a nanotechnology filled environment can become uncomfortable for the sophonts living within it.
  • Neural Implant, Neural Interface, DNI  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Generic term for any brain implant that enhances a biont's sensory ability, memory, or intelligence.
  • Noise  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    [1] Any random sequence of data.
    [2] Term used to describe unwanted electronic signals, sometimes random and sometimes systematic, which contaminate the weak signal one is trying to detect.
  • Oort Vault - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Data storage systems on the edge of a solar system, holding inactive data in storage for future use. A common repository for inactive virch entities, planetary archives and long range statistics.
  • Pangender, Pangenderic - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A biont that incorporates at the same time the whole range of genders and sexual modes - male, female, herm, ferm, etc.
  • Parasite Processing [B-Life Model]  - Text by AI Vin
    Artificial parasites which exploit another's resources for the purpose of data processing.
  • 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.
  • Planai - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A planetary ai controller. Also used to denote other high-level governing ai systems such as system-wide logistics entities.
  • Quicksilvers - Text by James Ramsey
    Devices designed to record the goings on of hyperfast civilizations as a subset of Mercurial Studies. Also refers to various beings who devote eir lives to Mercurial Studies.
  • Reaction Time Enhancement  - Text by John B
    Common augmentation that reduces the latency between perception and physical action.
  • Regulon  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Autonomous device for attacking wild replicators such as nanoswarms.
  • Sentient Engineering Code Breaking  - Text by John B (inspired by Dr William Sims Bainbridge's work on 'personality capture')
    It is considered 'possible' (if impractical) for a being to give enough information about itself over a period of time that its thought processes can be modeled solely from its external actions.
  • Service AI - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An ai, whether slaved or voluntary, that maintains the mechosystems, or in any other way keeps the infrastructure running.
  • Ship Mind, Shipmind - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The ai (or in some cases an uploaded biont or postbiont) that controls a ship. Shipminds require special training, programming, and customization. Often the Mind that runs the drive is the most expensive component in any ship, more so than the drive and its components.
  • Ship Mind, Transplanting - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Transferring a ship mind from one ship to another. Just as with advanced drives and other components, minds are typically designed to be fairly interchangeable, and may be moved from ship to ship, especially if e is agreeable and feels comfortable in the new vessel. Care must be taken however, because while the majority of transplants (especially of more adaptable ship minds) go well, there have been instances where a transplanted ship mind has had a mental breakdown (anything from mild somatic disjunction to full-blown catatonia).
  • Slaved AI  - Text by Peter Kisner, M. Alan Kazlev and Ryan_B
    Generic term for AI or Vec constrained to obey sophont or transapient commands (often with certain restrictions on obedience).
  • Slow Worlds  - Text by Tony Jones
    In places where the availability of computing resources is linked to financial or other physical-world resources, poor virch worlds may find themselves shrinking in size, having to lower their Resolution and/or run more slowly.
  • SNARE (Siris Nanocyborg Ascension RegimEn)  - Text by Tapio Erola, additions by the AI Vin
    A device specifically designed to convert a modosophont into a lower level transapient, developed by a transapient patron of the Siris Habitat. It is relatively simple to replicate and very easy to use, though there are arguments that the process is more often a forced transcension with the resulting entities uniformly carrying the Siris mindset.
  • Solid State Civilization - Text by M. Alan Kazlev after Anders Sandberg
    Any civilization (usually but not necessarily transingularitan) where the beings have no physical bodies and exist as information inside computronium banks.
  • Spacer - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    [1] A crewmember of a ship, who spend eir entire existence in space, and usually suffers from agoraphobia or other chronic anxieties at the thought of being on a planetary surface or even in a large habitat.
    [2] Any species or clade of tweaks especially adapted for a microgravity, and partially or even totally for a vacuum, environment.
  • Stellar Engineering - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Modifying or customizing a star in any manner. Could be for the purposes of stellar husbandry, or for more exotic purposes.
  • Stellar Husbandry - Text by Dave Criswell, in Anders Sandberg's Transhuman Terminology
    A type of stellar engineering which involves controlling the evolution and properties of stars, especially to stabilize them, prolong their lifetimes, manipulate the stellar wind, lift off useful material or create new stars. Typical methods include star lifting or mixing the stellar core with envelope material to make hydrogen burning last longer.
  • Subrelativistic - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Pertains to any interstellar ship, fleet, cargo pellet, or other object travelling at a reasonably slow rate (say 0.01 to 0.1 c) so that time-dilation and other relativistic effects do not become evident. Subrelativistic vessels may take centuries to bridge the gap between even nearby stars.
  • Swarm (nanotech or biology)  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Massive numbers of nanobots acting in concert for different purposes, or a mass of interplanetary-capable nanite goo, or a biological organism or alive in which millions of individuals move and act as one.
  • Template - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Although nano in itself is very cheap (all that is needed is a single replicator and raw materials), good templates (or instructions) for the assembler may be less accessible. While there is an a huge selection available on public domain, some of the best templates may be at the bottom of a 6000 year old archive at the Fomalhaut ISObanks, or only available in the Alexandria or Aleph Absolute Computronium nodes.
  • Ubiquitous Computing - Text by Anders Sandberg in his Transhuman Terminology
    Also known as "embodied virtuality". Information and early Interplanetary Age Old Earth. Computers that are an integral, invisible part of people's lives. In some ways the opposite of virtual reality, in which the user is absorbed into the computational world. With ubiquitous computing, computers take into account the human world rather than requiring humans to enter into the computer's methods of working. Ubiquitous computing evolved into the micro-, meso- and micro/meso/nanon based interactivity of the middle Interplanetary Age and later.
  • 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.
  • Viral Nanotech - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Nanotech and usually nanoscale devices for infiltrating other systems, making them construct new copies of the devices and possibly fulfill other functions. Also called infiltration nano and shadow goo.
  • Virchology   - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    A digital artificial ecosystem residing in a virch.
  • Wetware  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Similar to cybernetics and dryware, but denotes a biological system, most commonly a biont nervous system.
Related Topics
Development Notes
Text by Stephen Inniss
based on earlier articles by M. Alan Kazlev and comments by Navin Weeraratne; Image copyright Kensuku CG World, used with permission
Initially published on 01 September 2008.

Additional Information