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Topic Review: Megacorps
#11
(09-11-2020, 01:46 PM)Dfleymmes1134 Wrote:
(09-10-2020, 09:38 PM)Rynn Wrote: The biggest thorn with megacorps IMO is automation. We have really advanced automation turning up relatively early in the timeline (First Fed era) so how do we square that with megacorps?

My proposal would be to embrace it and write out the idea that megacorps are like companies today which are full of employees. Instead make megacorps of the first fed era and after conglomerations of autonomous businesses and financial institutions. AI companies with robotic laborers with the hardwired goal of increasing shareholder value. If you can buy into a megacorp as a shareholder then you can enjoy your post-scarcity lifestyle financed by a dividend from an automated actor in the economy.

yes I like this approach. I'm guessing in the early timeline there'd still be some people employed by such organizations to oversee some of the autonomous production before vots are fully developed. But otherwise it's mostly automated.

While I'm not actually against this idea, I think there are some issues around it we will need to address if we want to go in this direction. In no particular order:

1) We have automation advancing pretty fast now in RL and by the time of the Technocalypse it's at the point of von Neumann machines operating on Mercury (and possibly in other places), AI starprobes, and human equivalent AI (implying less than human level, but still very capable AI being around as well). Point being that I think we would need to move the timeline on this - and the impact on society - up by centuries to the Interplanetary Age prior to the Technocalypse. Even more complete automation might come later in the timeline, but the handwriting on the wall in RL seems to indicate (IMHO) that - barring some social event that slows it down - automation is going to be hitting the level Rynn describes in terms of social impact well before the First Fed.

2) A high automation/shareholder owned megacorp type thing might be workable, but it begs the question of what such a thing would be in terms of a social institution. Megacorps employing lots of people and taking over as the basis for the social compact for their employees (and possibly shareholders) is a new form of society. Megacorps consisting of an almost entirely automated infrastructure, a few modos in some positions, and a bunch of faceless shareholders - are just kind of a force of nature. That's not a problem by itself - but it makes the idea of megacorps operating as an alternative to the Federation later in timeline more or less impossible, it seems to me. Or at least much more difficult to see how that is supposed to work. This also overlaps with the occasional idea of the megacorps not necessarily being the most ethical organizations in existence. Again, if they're just mindlessly grinding systems (albeit highly capable mindlessly grinding systems) this sort of goes out the window.

3) It's been mentioned/suggested that the megacorps might have employed some number of heavily augmented employees in some fashion. If the megacorps are basically just each a big machine with no need for employees from very early on, then it would seem there would be no need for these employees either.

4) Presuming automation of the level needed to make a megacorp an essentially autonomous entity - such tech would presumably also apply for smaller organizations as well. Which raises the question: Wouldn't it seem likely that the smaller businesses and financial institutions mentioned are also pretty much entirely automated systems with few/no employees as well? Unless there's some limiting factor somewhere, it starts to feel like turtles all the way down (so to speakTongue).

Again, not saying that this conception of megacorps isn't doable - but I think there are some questions and side effects (both in setting and editorially) that we need to consider while considering going down this road. It almost feels like we're tapdancing on having to take on the project of imagining how a high automation economy would actually work in detail.

Thoughts?

Todd
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Messages In This Thread
Topic Review: Megacorps - by Drashner1 - 08-26-2020, 01:42 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Drashner1 - 08-26-2020, 01:48 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Dfleymmes1134 - 08-26-2020, 03:04 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Dfleymmes1134 - 08-26-2020, 03:13 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Drashner1 - 09-10-2020, 01:00 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Dfleymmes1134 - 08-26-2020, 03:14 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Drashner1 - 08-30-2020, 02:22 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Rynn - 09-10-2020, 09:38 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Dfleymmes1134 - 09-11-2020, 01:46 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Drashner1 - 09-11-2020, 11:06 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Dfleymmes1134 - 09-11-2020, 02:29 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Drashner1 - 09-14-2020, 12:39 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by QwertyYerty - 09-28-2020, 02:19 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Dfleymmes1134 - 09-28-2020, 02:46 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Rakuen07 - 09-28-2020, 11:26 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by The Astronomer - 11-17-2020, 10:48 AM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Drashner1 - 11-17-2020, 01:25 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Technothrope - 11-18-2020, 05:23 AM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Dfleymmes1134 - 11-18-2020, 06:29 AM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Technothrope - 11-18-2020, 06:47 AM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Drashner1 - 01-03-2021, 01:05 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Rynn - 01-13-2021, 08:11 AM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Vitto - 01-08-2021, 04:24 AM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by MacGregor - 01-13-2021, 09:33 AM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by MacGregor - 01-13-2021, 10:25 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Rynn - 01-14-2021, 08:21 AM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Drashner1 - 01-14-2021, 01:05 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by The Astronomer - 06-20-2021, 12:01 AM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Drashner1 - 06-20-2021, 11:03 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Vitto - 07-15-2021, 09:25 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by The Astronomer - 07-15-2021, 09:42 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Vitto - 07-15-2021, 10:45 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Drashner1 - 07-15-2021, 11:10 PM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Rakuen07 - 07-17-2021, 01:32 AM
RE: Topic Review: Megacorps - by Vitto - 07-17-2021, 02:54 AM

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