The Orion's Arm Universe Project Forums





<Help> How can I realistically use pantropy in a hard science fiction setting?
#1
Like it says on the tin. Oh and BE WARNED: I am trying to the best of my ability to exclude any brain uploading (for now), because of ethical and moral concerns (even if the technology is available). Well, this setting has the technology and some people can upload their brains into computers, but the process is very dangerous and "unethical" and it is quotations with good reason. Now, national entities in the setting, their colonies and newly formed independent states all have their regulations, but the general public perception is very mixed (unfortunately leaning slight to the negative end of the spectrum), and particularly negative on developing regions of Earth where they are seen as either "Playing [Insert Deity Name Here]" or a "tool of manipulation and control used by imperialists". However, there are two types of pantropy: planetary adaptation pantropy and microgravity adaptation pantropy. All with their respective methods, but the most popular involving genetic manipulation. For a setting of that level and where the Singularity has happened very recently (very recently being in the decades prior to 2500 CE and without ), is this handwavium or are there ways to do this in a plausible fashion?
Hard Science Fiction Cadet Author and Ready to Stomp Handwavium
Reply
#2
Welcome to the forums Smile Could you give a quick overview of your setting's general level of technology? That would help answer the question. Particularly it would be good to know what types of technology aren't available beyond mind uploading.

In our article on the subject there are a list of ways that pantropy can be achieved:

Cyborgs, biological sophonts augmented with artificial components
Tweaks; biological clades with minor or major adjustments to their genome
Artificial bodies; non-biological host bodies holding uploaded personalities
Neogens; with entirely new genomes designed from scratch.
Xenogens; with genomes and biochemistry based on local examples

Only one of those uses mind uploading and it doesn't necessarily have to (more on that in a bit). In theory genetic engineering, and biotech in general, could give rise to organisms that are adapted to a range of radical environments. Keeping it hard-SF the difficulties in this endeavour would be:

1) Designing the organism in question (even if its just a tweak of your own species)
2) Creating people based on the design

The second can be a big problem because it's one thing to genetically engineer offspring but another entirely to rewrite the genome of an adult organism once many critical stages in development are over (never mind the vector). If you want a particularly hard/realistic process for your setting I would make the change slow and steady over the course of generations. Restrict genetic engineering technology to the germline. Have the first colonists that arrive be normal humans who have to live on a spinning space station/domed city. This first generation work hard to figure out what traits an organism would need to thrive on the planet. They then engineer a batch of embryos and implant them in surrogates. These embryos are the second generation and their genomes have been tweaked to be closer to the end-goal without making them impossible for a pregnancy to bring to term. This second generation mostly live in the same environment but have their own sections more suited to them. They continue the work and engineer a third generation. So on and so forth with each generation being slightly more adapted than the next until eventually a batch is born that is perfectly adapted to the planet.
OA Wish list:
  1. DNI
  2. Internal medical system
  3. A dormbot, because domestic chores suck!
Reply
#3
To add to Rynn's excellent a response I would suggest having a solid idea of the environment you want your pantropic humans to live in and starting with less 'difficult' environments first or primarily.

Engineering humans to live in Earth's oceans or to be immune (or at least resistant) to the negative health effects of free fall is likely to be easier to describe convincingly than humans who are engineered to live in vacuum or on the surface of Venus. This is particularly true if you are in a fairly near future setting. The further into the future you go, the more latitude you can gain in this area, although there are still limits.

Hope this helps,

Todd
Reply
#4
(04-28-2016, 12:29 AM)Rynn Wrote: Welcome to the forums Smile Could you give a quick overview of your setting's general level of technology? That would help answer the question. Particularly it would be good to know what types of technology aren't available beyond mind uploading.

In our article on the subject there are a list of ways that pantropy can be achieved:

Cyborgs, biological sophonts augmented with artificial components
Tweaks; biological clades with minor or major adjustments to their genome
Artificial bodies; non-biological host bodies holding uploaded personalities
Neogens; with entirely new genomes designed from scratch.
Xenogens; with genomes and biochemistry based on local examples

Only one of those uses mind uploading and it doesn't necessarily have to (more on that in a bit). In theory genetic engineering, and biotech in general, could give rise to organisms that are adapted to a range of radical environments. Keeping it hard-SF the difficulties in this endeavour would be:

1) Designing the organism in question (even if its just a tweak of your own species)
2) Creating people based on the design

The second can be a big problem because it's one thing to genetically engineer offspring but another entirely to rewrite the genome of an adult organism once many critical stages in development are over (never mind the vector). If you want a particularly hard/realistic process for your setting I would make the change slow and steady over the course of generations. Restrict genetic engineering technology to the germline. Have the first colonists that arrive be normal humans who have to live on a spinning space station/domed city. This first generation work hard to figure out what traits an organism would need to thrive on the planet. They then engineer a batch of embryos and implant them in surrogates. These embryos are the second generation and their genomes have been tweaked to be closer to the end-goal without making them impossible for a pregnancy to bring to term. This second generation mostly live in the same environment but have their own sections more suited to them. They continue the work and engineer a third generation. So on and so forth with each generation being slightly more adapted than the next until eventually a batch is born that is perfectly adapted to the planet.

Mind uploading does exist, problem is it just that culture has prevented its large scale use. That and ethical issues. >Sad

(04-28-2016, 12:29 AM)Rynn Wrote: Welcome to the forums Smile Could you give a quick overview of your setting's general level of technology? That would help answer the question. Particularly it would be good to know what types of technology aren't available beyond mind uploading.

In our article on the subject there are a list of ways that pantropy can be achieved:

Cyborgs, biological sophonts augmented with artificial components
Tweaks; biological clades with minor or major adjustments to their genome
Artificial bodies; non-biological host bodies holding uploaded personalities
Neogens; with entirely new genomes designed from scratch.
Xenogens; with genomes and biochemistry based on local examples

Only one of those uses mind uploading and it doesn't necessarily have to (more on that in a bit). In theory genetic engineering, and biotech in general, could give rise to organisms that are adapted to a range of radical environments. Keeping it hard-SF the difficulties in this endeavour would be:

1) Designing the organism in question (even if its just a tweak of your own species)
2) Creating people based on the design

The second can be a big problem because it's one thing to genetically engineer offspring but another entirely to rewrite the genome of an adult organism once many critical stages in development are over (never mind the vector). If you want a particularly hard/realistic process for your setting I would make the change slow and steady over the course of generations. Restrict genetic engineering technology to the germline. Have the first colonists that arrive be normal humans who have to live on a spinning space station/domed city. This first generation work hard to figure out what traits an organism would need to thrive on the planet. They then engineer a batch of embryos and implant them in surrogates. These embryos are the second generation and their genomes have been tweaked to be closer to the end-goal without making them impossible for a pregnancy to bring to term. This second generation mostly live in the same environment but have their own sections more suited to them. They continue the work and engineer a third generation. So on and so forth with each generation being slightly more adapted than the next until eventually a batch is born that is perfectly adapted to the planet.

You do not mind if I link a Google Docs to the project I based this universe on, do you? If not...well, here it is: To The Planets Beyond (Original Edition) . The timeline also goes as far as 2500 in the Extended Edition, but that has not been completely developed. Oh and some additional links to help would be nice: The Extraplanetary Wars, Realistically Conducting a Combat Manoeuvre (Part I), and finally Realistically Conducting a Combat Manoeuvre (Part II with Available Tactical Options)

So, overall: think of this as a dumbed down version of Orion's Arm's Interplanetary Era mixed in with The Expanse (in terms of some elements) and GURPS: Transhuman Space (the latter of which I proudly own).
Hard Science Fiction Cadet Author and Ready to Stomp Handwavium
Reply
#5
(04-28-2016, 05:30 AM)Ace009 Wrote: Mind uploading does exist, problem is it just that culture has prevented its large scale use. That and ethical issues. >Sad

Don't be so quick to discard ethical issues, IMO there's huge potential for SF to properly explore the real ethical issues of various technologies (beyond the usual overly simplistic luddites/religion vs "progress").

Do you have any comment on the answer I have with regards to how pantropy can be used?

(04-28-2016, 05:30 AM)Ace009 Wrote: You do not mind if I link a Google Docs to the project I based this universe on, do you? If not...well, here it is: To The Planets Beyond (Original Edition) . The timeline also goes as far as 2500 in the Extended Edition, but that has not been completely developed. Oh and some additional links to help would be nice: The Extraplanetary Wars, Realistically Conducting a Combat Manoeuvre (Part I), and finally Realistically Conducting a Combat Manoeuvre (Part II with Available Tactical Options)

So, overall: think of this as a dumbed down version of Orion's Arm's Interplanetary Era mixed in with The Expanse (in terms of some elements) and GURPS: Transhuman Space (the latter of which I proudly own).

Ok, skimming through those I think I have a sense of your setting now. It would still be useful to know specifics of technology, economics and culture surrounding pantropy itself to properly help you get an answer.
OA Wish list:
  1. DNI
  2. Internal medical system
  3. A dormbot, because domestic chores suck!
Reply
#6
Mind uploading was very rare and largely avoided before First Federation era in OA because only destuctive uploading was possible. Most people prefer not to live forever if they have to die first.

Pantropy need not involve uploading; Rynn has given several examples of pantropy that does not, and one he missed (although he may come back to it later) is teleoperation; a person could live in life support (like in Avatar) and operate a remote-controlled body. These remotes might be biological robots (biobots) or drytech devices depending on the severity of the environment.
Reply
#7
(04-29-2016, 05:48 AM)stevebowers Wrote: Mind uploading was very rare and largely avoided before First Federation era in OA because only destuctive uploading was possible. Most people prefer not to live forever if they have to die first.

Pantropy need not involve uploading; Rynn has given several examples of pantropy that does not, and one he missed (although he may come back to it later) is teleoperation; a person could live in life support (like in Avatar) and operate a remote-controlled body. These remotes might be biological robots (biobots) or drytech devices depending on the severity of the environment.

I understand that.....but I am looking to try to avoid Avatar-like situations (for now, due to a negative in-setting perception of it). :/
Hard Science Fiction Cadet Author and Ready to Stomp Handwavium
Reply
#8
In OA the Avatar situation would be quite different to how it is represented in the film. A planet with a significantly toxic environment (basically most planets in the universe) could be settled by unaltered human baselines inside environment pods, who use robotic bodies to explore and interact with the environment. Part of the duties of these robotic bodies would be to care for their own real-life bodies in their life-support shells, although this would mostly be taken care of by automatic systems.
Some, or many of the humans might opt to become cyborgs, with only their brains or Central Nervous System preserved inside environmental pods carried around inside the robots.

Given a few decades or centuries of this sort of life these mobile brains inside their portable environments could become part of a new synthesis, just as our skulls support our brains inside a recreation of the ancient seas we evolved in long ago.
Reply
#9
(04-29-2016, 03:14 AM)Rynn Wrote:
(04-28-2016, 05:30 AM)Ace009 Wrote: Mind uploading does exist, problem is it just that culture has prevented its large scale use. That and ethical issues. >Sad

Don't be so quick to discard ethical issues, IMO there's huge potential for SF to properly explore the real ethical issues of various technologies (beyond the usual overly simplistic luddites/religion vs "progress").

Do you have any comment on the answer I have with regards to how pantropy can be used?

(04-28-2016, 05:30 AM)Ace009 Wrote: You do not mind if I link a Google Docs to the project I based this universe on, do you? If not...well, here it is: To The Planets Beyond (Original Edition) . The timeline also goes as far as 2500 in the Extended Edition, but that has not been completely developed. Oh and some additional links to help would be nice: The Extraplanetary Wars, Realistically Conducting a Combat Manoeuvre (Part I), and finally Realistically Conducting a Combat Manoeuvre (Part II with Available Tactical Options)

So, overall: think of this as a dumbed down version of Orion's Arm's Interplanetary Era mixed in with The Expanse (in terms of some elements) and GURPS: Transhuman Space (the latter of which I proudly own).

Ok, skimming through those I think I have a sense of your setting now. It would still be useful to know specifics of technology, economics and culture surrounding pantropy itself to properly help you get an answer.

So, what I am looking at is that gene therapy is on average, very extensive on Earth, although economics vary by pre-2000 VN2 attack national entity. After that.....well, I have not fully considered my options after 2472. :/
Hard Science Fiction Cadet Author and Ready to Stomp Handwavium
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)