Encyclopaedia Ex Nihilo

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« on: May 14, 2013, 10:28:57 pm »
Quote from: Auriga
This is a re-post of Scott Bakker's blog post, not my own idea. It's a pretty interesting question, but didn't get any answers on Bakker's blog, so I wonder if you guys have any ideas on this?

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So we stand on the cusp of the Second Enlightenment, the point in history when the technical and cognitive resources of humanity allow it to master material and biological complexities at the cellular and molecular level, at long last delivering a historically fixed human nature to the whims of human desire. The Second Enlightenment, of course, is nothing other than the Singularity, which means it also marks the collapse of our ability to predict what will happen on the basis of what has happened. This renders the question, What will the post Neo-Enlightenment world look like? religious, insofar as this world transcends our knowledge as completely as does either Heaven or Hell.

And, just as Heaven has no heaven, and Hell has no hell, Ex Nihilo is a Last World, humanityís departure gate. After it, we will be extinct, either because we have committed collective suicide, or because our technologies will have transformed us into something incomprehensible.

What I want to do here is gather entries for an Encyclopaedia Ex Nihilo, speculative snapshots, written in a dry, academic tone, describing some cultural movement, institution, political or cultural figure, historical event, you think our grandchildren might find in Ex Nihilo. Letís restrict the time frame to 2044 to 2084, the year of our extinction event. As for satire, try to make it as wry and believable as you can manage.

I have quite a few fittingly dystopian ideas for this "Ex Nihilo" future, I'll probably have time to write them out tomorrow.

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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2013, 10:29:03 pm »
Quote from: Madness
I'm very interested in this, Auriga, and though I worry about informing culture, I do have thoughts to add...

I let things sit for quite awhile. Perhaps, this thread can serve as a sketching ground for stuff submitted to Ex Nihilo.

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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2013, 10:29:08 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
I had one but I have to say, in terms of writing about real life I have some optimism (not 'everything will turn out fine', but in 'there's space to manouver to give a chance of things being rendered fine by some standard'). I couldn't go hardcore pesimism and felt that I just wasn't going to be fitting.

This is what I wrote ages ago and have resting on file so far...
~~~
Gamsians.

While ones life might be briefly affected by the protocols of a set of traffic lights, for example, the Gamsian lives within a set of protocols, their lives affecting the numerical values of the protocol itself. Yet only within a set amount, again set by their protocol. So while it's numbers may change, the larger protocol technically remains unchanged. The traffic lights, so to speak, are made to conspire as to when they turn green (or red). But only within so much of a set frame.

The Metzingia movement tends to view Gamsians as having trapped themselves in full body casts, able to merely wiggle their fingers, when such restraint is hardly necessary for anyone of a clear mind. They see it as thoroughly paternalistic and provide many convincing essays, particularly from their intellect modified members, on how such external restraints are merely clumsy and debilitating towards what they are quite capable of managing as individuals. Even more so with their greater capacity gained from mental enhancement. The sort of issues Gamsians raise in return, the Metzingia simply reply there are often good reasons, within a bigger picture they'd grasp if they weren't so entrenched in terms of red lights and not running them.

Gamsians continue to grapple with the contradiction between games having goals (something long refuted by the DayZian movement), which is to say, ends, and yet the necessity of life continuing.

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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2013, 10:29:14 pm »
Quote from: Madness
Weapons, prosthetic: Developed concurrently with the prevalence of neural prosthetics for amputees in the mid-twenty-first century, military application of weaponized prosthetics and sensory augmentation became a battlefield norm (see augmentation, sensory, drones, perceptive). Scientists working towards marketable prosthetic augmentations for able-bodied consumers, discovered that they could use existing motor function of cortical architectural as triggers for novel function, bypassing the painstaking process of defining new function-specific neural structures. In this way, the architecture previously used to initiate muscle-specific behavioral functions, such as flexing or extension, were hijacked as trigger commands for weaponized augmentation.

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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2013, 10:29:21 pm »
Quote from: Madness
Devoid, the: One of the first followings (see cults, augmentative) to arise from the consensual augmentation of cortical structure by its membership. The Devoid arose from principles espousing the embodied rejection of emotions as evolved traits and the historical dangers of socioeconomic expressions of emotion and its various symptoms of dis-ease.

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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2013, 10:29:34 pm »
Quote from: Madness
Augmentation, sensory: Tracing back to the earliest experiments, involving the detection of non-visible light by hijacking existing corticol architectural for whisker sensation in rats, it became quickly apparent to scientists that the nervous system might be unilaterally augmented to detect any kind of perceptive data. In this way, visual sensations could be processed by cortical structures traditionally processing tactile information, without the necessity of physical touch, and sound sensations could be experienced visually. This kind of augmentation became a fan favorite of global military enterprises who quickly adapted the technology to existing remote intelligence-gathering systems (RIGS) (see, drones, perceptive), giving their combat units access to augmented perceptive environments (APE).

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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2013, 10:29:38 pm »
Quote from: Madness
Synesthese, drugs: Pill taken to induce synesthesia, most commonly, hearing colours and seeing sounds. Due to the structural specificity of directed augmentation, other forms of the drug are rare but do exist. In some cases, users have permenantly scarred novel cortical pathways into their brain tissue, resulting in the Syneses, those individuals who can no longer relate meaningfully with those around them for lack of consensual perceptual recognition.

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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2013, 10:29:43 pm »
Quote from: Madness
Tweakers: Name given to the first generation of brain modifications enthusiasts, who individually embraced eclectic arrangements of novel tweaks, or brain augmentations. Generation-T came into its own when trans-magnetic stimulation (TMS) devices were adapted to white-matter tracts within the brain and speeding up communication between neural structures rather than structure specific adaptations. Tweaking soon became synonymous with enhanced cognitive reflex.

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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2013, 10:29:48 pm »
Quote from: Madness
"Over-Dinner," drugs: Pills taken at social outings to consolidate the enhanced perception of a function, gala, or show. A symphony of neurotransmitters and nanobots inside each capsule work to transform a guest's experience by providing temporary and specific sensory augmentations for the purposes of the event. The technology has been emulated underground for a variety of purposes, the choice nootropic of media junkies everywhere.

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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2013, 10:29:53 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
Quote from: Madness
"Over-Dinner," drugs: Pills taken at social outings to consolidate the enhanced perception of a function, gala, or show. A symphony of neurotransmitters and nanobots inside each capsule work to transform a guest's experience by providing temporary and specific sensory augmentations for the purposes of the event. The technology has been emulated underground for a variety of purposes, the choice nootropic of media junkies everywhere.
See: Booze

:) Nice work, Madness!

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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2013, 10:29:59 pm »
Quote from: Madness
Lol. I figured if I can fight preconceptions about Bakker on Westeros, cultivate creative outlets here, and write some papers/study, it'll be a reading week well spent ;).

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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2013, 10:30:05 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
Having a look at that new Bakker/women thread. Just working up the urge for punishment...

Of course it has the 'and it literally is sexist material' line given. I'd actually give some credit if they'd name a emperic measure by which a text is determined to contain sexist material. Give the process a name, instead of being 'the world'. Even if the X emperic measure even just has 'depiction is endorsement' as a rule. Anyway, I'm off topic!

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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2013, 10:30:10 pm »
Quote from: Madness
Augmentation, workplace: Unknown where and when the emergence of workplace augmentations occurred, though many theorists consider their advent a natural link in the evolution of career specialization. In many cases, individuals, not corporate entities, sought to improve upon their performance based on sensory specificity, to the point of permanent, invasive neurosurgery or bionic augmentation. However, the tipping point is distinguished by the novel legislation, allowing an employer mandate that their employees partake in, at least, workplace nootropics, in order to balance productivity.

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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2013, 10:30:15 pm »
Quote from: Madness
Stacks, drugs: Nomenclature appropriated to refer to daily regiments of nootropics taken by those pioneering neuro-modification. By their argument, those who blend stacks attempt to embody the optimal configuration of nootropic augmentation within day-to-day interactions.

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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2013, 10:30:21 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
Escalon Bloom/D-Bloom : Socio economic observation of augmentation feedback loops in various pockets of national economies (not necessarily physically adjacent pockets and instead logistically adjacent). The tidal arc of employee augmented productivity creating an escalation in competitors, and vise versa back and forth repeatedly, in a tight, ring like feedback loop. Each iteration creating stranger and in regards to general consumption, more entertaining products distrubted for sale across the worlds markets. The augmentation process, aided by subsiduary cybernetic companies who began to form to forfil this support niche, sometimes has employees not even fully leave the augmentation theatres and undergo radical changes right down to the minute of the day. Occasionally sky scrapers have been observserved to be recomposed as employees, thousands of feet above the ground, scuttle across the surface and reconfigure the building. Many end up looking like a paper wasps hive. The efficiency of this is arguable, but delivering the argument to an industry in Escalon Bloom generally offers radical changes in the companies behaviour rather than a responce, as the very questioning puts their bottom line in question. Sometimes the hive are seen to be set ablaze and many humans right activists point to this - though it's suspected that publicity is the idea, as employees are augmented to be relatively fire proof, depending on individual efficiency.

The remaining goverment factions are attempting to cease this pattern of activity, because the blooms eventually collapse, perhaps starved of the necessary resources, or incapable of mantaining further outward expansion (though it has been observed over the years and now months that the size of such blooms is extending, as if the survivors or observers of such are developing an optimisation method to the Escalon blooms optimisation method). Collapses blooms are rather like previous eras where sky scrapers might be left abandoned after economic hardship. Here however the remaining buildings are still occupied, given the speciality of their augmentation and the office environment, it is sometimes the only place they can survive. Though not sanctioned, the former Bloom employees often attempt to conduct business (as they last new it at the heights of the bloom) in the local area, rather than the world stage their former companies bankruptcy has cut them off from. Many augmentations are completely in line with the capitalist ideal and loaded with lawyer simulation software, often attempting to ressurect their hive empires months or days of glory both through the methods the bio feedback escalation encoded into them, and avoiding martial enforcement by surrounding areas by gaming ambiguity in legal code.

The out and out crack down on these would seem to have been the best course of action for former governments, but the first occured at a relatively invisible level, seeming to just be more abandoned sky scrapers much like the past. And the economic rewards were considerable - the government coming to rely upon them, as it does with many things, for revenue. Latter blooms have begun quickly and with the augmented capacity of employees to navigate law codes, relatively invisible to government.

Many post bloom employees say their 'Bloom Marks' (the areas where the bloom physically manifested across the planet) are not the exception, but merely 'future early'.