Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years - #3
Recently, a member of the Orion's Arm forum raised the following questions:

Assume that you're suddenly whisked into the OA universe, also assume that you arrive somewhere stable like a Sephirotic and that you're not overwhelmed/driven mad/get PTSD from the switch. Given all that how do you answer these questions?

What have you done by the end of the day?

What are you doing in a month?

What are you doing by the end of the year?

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Any plans beyond that?

Answers to these questions came quickly and were both numerous and diverse. The discussion also quickly expanded from the OA forum to our Facebook page, where more answers were forthcoming.

For the past couple of issues, we have included just some of the answers and ideas that were shared in our last issue. For your continuing enjoyment, here are more of the answers that our members provided.

terrafamilia - OA Forum

What have you done by the end of the day?

I have probably (hopefully) come to the attention of the local ai authority/angelnet overseer as being definitely out of place and taken under the wing of a social worker entity.

What are you doing in a month?

Assuming some sort of post-scarcity freetopia, or close enough, I'd likely still be finding my feet. I'd be in the midst of being rejuvenated and getting a few touch-ups. Would also likely have had my memories/knowledge of my 20th/21st century life downloaded for what ever it was worth.

What are you doing by the end of the year?

I'd have had some upgrades and alterations. A little taller, a little better looking (still want to recognize myself in the mirror). The full Captain America treatment, though not as massive. I'd have some raw talent instilled, both athletic and artistic. I'd like to have some decent singing ability. I'd be in the middle of learning various dance and martial arts forms, learning the local language and possibly others, getting caught up on current events and figuring out what I wanted to do with this new life.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I would have traveled to someplace that better suited my personal philosophy/outlook/way of life and hopefully become a member of an agreeable community. I'd likely be a full near-baseline by now. I'd be very conservative where it came to any DNI system.

Any plans beyond that?

A lot of education - various arts, philosophy, history. Perhaps engaged in building historical recreation virches. Some time spent traveling to other polities/sepharotic empires. May eventually get a more extensive DNI system and a vasculoid installed. It would a long while before I even considered any attempt to make the leap up to S1 and even then I would be very picky about the method.

Where would you hope to find yourself?

Somewhere not too busy, at least not by 21st century standards, yet situated in someplace like the Terran Federation, the Communion of Worlds, the Sophic League, or even the Orion Federation. A Deeper Covenant world/hab would also be nice.

What would trouble you the most, even though everyone around you accepts it as normal?

The (potential) complete lack of privacy. I would want to be in a place where the powers that be are committed to respecting the privacy of the modos under their oversight and protecting it from other modos, other transapients in the area, and even their own prying sensors. The circumstance where it could be lawfully abridged would be clearly delineated and those criteria abided by.

macnut - OA Forum

As for me, the end of my first day in an OA Sephirotc would most likely leave me having to brush the dust off my chin, due to my jaw hanging in utter amazement at what I saw and heard. Hopefully I would have kept enough wits about me to at least figure out how to get something to eat and find somewhere to sleep, most likely with assistance from kind-hearted citizens or some smart assistant working through the angelnet (probably both).

By the end of the first month, I most likely would have jumped into my new life with both feet; I'd have acquired a DNI, nanomedical system, and have augmented my body and mind to at least nearbaseline level. Like others have said, I wouldn't radically alter my physical appearance, I'd keep my same height, skin color, that kind of thing, though I'd fix my teeth, vision, and any genetic abnormalities that threaten my life or health. I'd have a more permanent place to live, and would be looking into the local social scene, especially dating opportunities. I would also be pursuing ongoing education in a variety of subjects, from Terragen history through biology, physics and engineering.

By the end of my first year, between taxidaxy and skill module downloads, I'd probably have the equivalent of a number of degrees in various subjects, and would be looking into more. I'd probably also be looking to augment myself to Superior level, if I hadn't already achieved that. Hopefully I'll also have a wide social circle of friends of various clades (only needing two or three hours of sleep would leave lots of time for socializing and other things), and perhaps also a long term girlfriend. Along the way, I'd probably be using OA tech to explore and expand on my art. My humble web comic is likely to become a virch adventure series, with all kinds of illustrated, audio and video backstory and world building. Based on how it was received, it might even get a large following.

Five years or so on would probably find me continuing as I was in my first year, exploring my mental and physical capabilities as a Superior (which I would have achieved by then), continuing to educate myself on the many aspects of OA society that interested me, and probably continuing my virch series, maybe exploring new aspects of it such as live action using robots or even biont actors. I might be married or whatever the equivalent was in the polity I lived in, or perhaps on my second or third long term relationship.

As for where I ended up, it would most likely be wherever I first woke up on day 1. I am adaptable and would find pretty much any if the Sephirotics decent to live in, though I'm more partial to the MPA (huge megastructures with lots of living space), the Terran Federation (seems their transap admins have a close relationship with their modo Zars, I would find that helpful) or the Utopia Sphere (transap admins also seem to be close to modos, again I'd like that).

The universal surveillance would give me the willies at first, but if there were limits on that and I could preserve my privacy from nosy fellow modos at least, then I could live with it.

TSSL - OA Forum

If I'm time-travelled, I guess I'm on Earth, and GAIA's annoyed, but would also realize (I'm given to understand that archailects tend to be rather smart) that I'm not trespassing since I had no control over being there, so she'd kick me out and leave me to handle things from there, which is better than being killed. That would probably cover the first day.
I like Rynn's suggestion, though, that we could well be "a simulation run by an aberrant transap," or for that matter any other sort of virtual. In which case, maybe this thread is like a big invitation to the outside world. Here's hoping, right?

If I've been virtual all along, then I'll just stay virtual, thank you very much. Otherwise I'll be more hesitant and probably go for an extremely gradual uploading. I actually would quite like to copy myself. Partly as a survival hedge, but I also just really like the idea for some reason.

As far as short term goals go, hopefully I've gotten the attention of a helpful hyperturing, or even a concerned archailect, or maybe part of an angelnet. I'll want to set up a home base. I'm sure I will be very overwhelmed and therefore indecisive. I don't want to do much mental modification, at least not right away; I'm pretty attached to my current mind, even with its problems. A few general boosts are fine, like memory and calculation, but that's the sort of thing I could handle by interfacing with external devices anyway. As far as physical modifications go, I don't want to do anything too radical, but I could do with sharpening some abilities, and as far as appearance goes, I'd make a few tweaks, but not so much that I'd look into a mirror and react "Who's that?"

Once I'm settled in, I shall take advantage of any freely available services to create a social life. I think it was the marriage page that said that in a lot of places, archailects matchmake people. Well, if they can do that, they can certainly find some friend people I'd be compatible with! It'd save the time of socializing with a bunch of people until I figured out which ones I really wanted to spend time with.

For that matter, eventually I'd want to use the matchmaking service too, but that's more long-term, and I'd want more time getting to know people. I do think I'd want a real boyfriend. He doesn't have to be real in the sense of physical rather than virtual, but in the sense of an actual independent sophont with his own life who wasn't created just for me. (Technogamy would be tempting, but I don't think I could ever get over nagging doubts about it.) I'm also not comfortable with changing too much about my attractions, so he'd need to be quite near to the human baseline and have male secondary characteristics, though he doesn't need to have that form all the time. Just when we're being couple-y. Finding someone might be tricky, though, considering how nonstandard my background is, and how culturally different I'd be. Still, there's a lot of people around.

As time passes, I'll want to explore a lot. Not necessarily physically; virtual representations of other locales should suffice, especially since there'll be an abundance of destinations that only exist virtually anyway. I'd be an avid consumer of virtual media, too.

I'm not ambitious career-wise, and this won't change. I'll be producing plenty of creative work, generally narratives, though I may get into other forms of art now that I can tell expert systems to make what I want or learn new skills much more quickly, and I'll definitely take advantage of virtual technology to make much more immersive stories. I'll probably spend a lot of time in my own fantasy sandbox virtual universe, throwing together ideas, worlds, storylines, whatever. And I would be so into playing god. I'd want to run scenarios and evolutions and civilization simulations (but not with sophonts, that would weird me out on moral grounds, just simplified versions), lots of stuff like that. And I'd be totally down with sharing all that. Maybe my nonstandard background, interests and general ideas would give me some uniqueness and a marginal level of popularity? I'd like to do something to earn some procreation and self-copying rights, and maybe some extra data space...

Long long term, I'm sure this will all change because there's no way all of my goals and desires would remain constant, as weird as this feels to imagine. I'd certainly want to try out different physical forms, though I have a pretty strong humanoid identity, so I don't want to deviate too far from that. (As far as gender and appearence go, eh, whatever.) I do kind of want to experience being a squid though. That would probably weird me out and I might regret it, but this is something I must find out for myself.
But I'm happy staying close to baseline for the foreseeable future!

I'm not quite sure which Sephirotic I'd fit in best with. I actually quite like Negentropism. I agree with those axioms already. But the Alliance sounds more rigid than I'd really like. Maybe a loosely affiliated world/habitat/virch/whatever would be nice. I have some fondness for the MPA, too. Some Utopia Sphere-style coddling might be nice. If I get to copy myself, I might send copies out to different empires. Not the NoCoZo, though. That would be terrifying.

To answer the question of what would trouble me the most, I think it would be Uncanny Valley effects. Particularly, all these people who look almost-but-not-quite human. I would feel bad and bigoted but it would weird me out for a while unless I get it modded out. I might even feel some uncontrollable revulsion at first. Yeah, this is one mental modification I wouldn't feel hesitation about taking.

I'd also have some difficulty adjusting to entirely different aesthetic paradigms. For one thing, any non-customized music I hear is unlikely to fit my understanding of musical language because this is extremely variable. In the best case, I may hear some stuff that sounds pleasant without really getting it, but a lot of the time it'd sound subjectively "wrong." Similar things would happen for art, architecture, the archetypes of fiction and techniques to construct narrative, what people look like and wear... you name it. I'm sure there are some universals, but a great deal will be foreign. On a simple shallow level, I'll have to relearn the whole cultural aesthetic understanding. At least learning things is easier in this setting.

Finally, I'm really not interested in ascending. I can see the appeal of being able to focus on lots of different ideas at once, and I guess that sort of parallelism is part of the first singularity, but I can augment that aspect without going all out. Maybe if I copy myself enough, some branch of me might go for ascension, but as a general tendency, I quite like my way of experiencing the world. The power that the average plebhu has is far and away what I'd want.

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