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Jürgen Hubert 04-09-2010 02:57 AM

Why Germany Matters
 
As I've pointed out elsewhere, I am currently in the process of brainstorming for a proposal for a Germany sourcebook for Transhuman Space. I think I have hit on a major issue which could serve as a useful source of conflict (and thus, adventures) for Transhuman Space campaigns in Germany. My line of reasoning goes this:

- As of 2100, SAIs are still fairly rare. But as both hardware and software continue to get cheaper, it is possible (even likely) that eventually SAIs are going to be the majority of sapients in the Solar System.
- There are currently only two major regions which permit SAIs to be citizens: The EU and the Islamic Caliphate. Of the two, the EU is more powerful by far.
- Germany is the most powerful, in absolute terms the most prosperous, and (after Turkey) the second most populous nation in the European Union. Thus, it is likely that it has the single largest number of SAI citizens in the world. It is also likely that other EU nations - and the EU as a whole - either follows the German lead or is strongly influenced by EU policy decisions on the matter.

Thus, as more people and more nations contemplate whether to give SAIs more rights, it is likely that the German model will be studied very closely by them. If Germany gives SAIs more power and more freedom (and just because they are citizens it doesn't mean that SAIs in Germany are as free and powerful as they potentially could be) and it works out well for Germany, then it might attract more emulators. Conversely, if Germany tightens restrictions on SAIs (because of scandals or toxic memes), then people elsewhere will be more easily convinced that granting SAIs more rights is not such a good idea after all.

And the more powerful factions who deeply care about the status of SAIs one way or another will certainly recognize this. Thus, Germany in 2100 will certainly be the focus of many, many memetic campaigns revolving around SAI rights and freedoms. And therein lies the potential for plenty of high-stakes adventuring.


What are your thoughts on this?

Agemegos 04-09-2010 03:51 AM

Re: Why Germany Matters
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jürgen Hubert (Post 964561)
What are your thoughts on this?

The reasoning seems sound. I note that the dirty tricks campaigns may include direct action as well as memetic skulduggery.

Jürgen Hubert 04-09-2010 03:55 AM

Re: Why Germany Matters
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Brett (Post 964570)
The reasoning seems sound. I note that the dirty tricks campaigns may include direct action as well as memetic skulduggery.

Naturally - and PCs might end up on either side of the divide.

Of course, any direct action on Germany would have to be very, very careful to cover the tracks of the instigators. But it would be much more effective if it can be pulled off.

Darkwalker 04-09-2010 05:12 AM

Re: Why Germany Matters
 
*** MODERATOR: The edited post drew complaints, and there is no statute of limitations on enforcing forums rules, so . . . Please do NOT go around slamming entire real-world countries on our forums, even in alt-history threads. Thank you. ***

Jürgen Hubert 04-09-2010 05:15 AM

Re: Why Germany Matters
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Darkwalker (Post 964588)
Actually Germany in 2100 will likely be the equivalent to a 3. world nation with a barely literate society etching out an "ecological sound" lifestyle based on pre-industrial technologies. At least if one plays it realistic.

Somehow, I don't think so. But that's neither here nor there.

For the purposes of this discussion, what matters is how Germany is described within the Transhuman Space setting, which shows a rather different picture.

Max Schreck 04-09-2010 05:24 AM

Re: Why Germany Matters
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Darkwalker (Post 964588)
Actually Germany in 2100 will likely be the equivalent to a 3. world nation with a barely literate society etching out an "ecological sound" lifestyle based on pre-industrial technologies. At least if one plays it realistic.

Dumm-Dümmer-Deutschland

Ack... I sincerely doubt that analysis. Furthermore, in Transhuman Space, which is the setting we are discussing here, the Bundesrepublik is an advanced Fifth Wave nation, so any personal interpretation that you may have of Germany as "most stupid" does not belong in a discussion of the official, canonical Transhuman Space setting.

Even if we were not discussing the official setting, I have a very hard time picturing present-day Germany (2010) descend into Third World status in a mere 90-100 year time frame.

Tchüss,

Max

Wise One 04-09-2010 09:21 AM

Re: Why Germany Matters
 
Sounds great. I'd certainly be interested in material on 22nd Century Berlin, the 'rewilding' of the Black Forest (?), the German-Turkish population, and a run-down of domestic politics.

Jürgen Hubert 04-09-2010 09:41 AM

Re: Why Germany Matters
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wise One (Post 964678)
Sounds great. I'd certainly be interested in material on 22nd Century Berlin, the 'rewilding' of the Black Forest (?), and domestic politics.

I already have copious notes on domestic politics. 22nd Century Berlin is certainly a place I need to detail a bit, but I need to research it first. The rewilding of many parts of Germany will certainly be mentioned, but I'm not sure in how much detail - they might be fairly "wild" when compared to the rest of Germany, but they are still fairly safe places when compared with wilderness areas elsewhere around the globe and not exactly prime adventuring locations.

Tzeentch 04-09-2010 02:15 PM

Re: Why Germany Matters
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jürgen Hubert (Post 964561)
- As of 2100, SAIs are still fairly rare. But as both hardware and software continue to get cheaper, it is possible (even likely) that eventually SAIs are going to be the majority of sapients in the Solar System.

* Quite possible, indeed very likely given that such intelligence is very cheap in terms of energy requirements.
Quote:

- There are currently only two major regions which permit SAIs to be citizens: The EU and the Islamic Caliphate. Of the two, the EU is more powerful by far.
* Going by Fifth Wave, certainly. If I remember correctly, the gap is even higher in Broken Dreams.
Quote:

- Germany is the most powerful, in absolute terms the most prosperous, and (after Turkey) the second most populous nation in the European Union. Thus, it is likely that it has the single largest number of SAI citizens in the world. It is also likely that other EU nations - and the EU as a whole - either follows the German lead or is strongly influenced by EU policy decisions on the matter.
* I don't follow how SAI numbers necessarily arise from this. Given modern demographics it very well could be that the only reason many EU states have the Fifth Wave populations they do is from massive inflation of SAI counts and states with a relatively large biological population growth have less need for SAIs.
Quote:

Thus, as more people and more nations contemplate whether to give SAIs more rights, it is likely that the German model will be studied very closely by them. If Germany gives SAIs more power and more freedom (and just because they are citizens it doesn't mean that SAIs in Germany are as free and powerful as they potentially could be) and it works out well for Germany, then it might attract more emulators. Conversely, if Germany tightens restrictions on SAIs (because of scandals or toxic memes), then people elsewhere will be more easily convinced that granting SAIs more rights is not such a good idea after all.
* I suppose. The same could be said for SAI treatment in France and the United States as well. It's not like there isn't a broad range of treatment for SAIs in TS.
Quote:

And the more powerful factions who deeply care about the status of SAIs one way or another will certainly recognize this. Thus, Germany in 2100 will certainly be the focus of many, many memetic campaigns revolving around SAI rights and freedoms. And therein lies the potential for plenty of high-stakes adventuring.
* I suspect that the real high-stakes spot for SAI rights is China and the United States. TS seems to state pretty clearly that SAIs don't really lack much in the way of rights in the EU as it stands, just tweaking around the edge cases that TS doesn't describe (reproductive rights and requirements, mainly).
* As SAIs can vote in the EU, it seems that one unanswered question is the extent to which voting even matters in the Fifth Wave nations given how much seems to be run based on expert systems and AIs with advanced memetic campaigns guiding behavior.
Quote:

What are your thoughts on this?
* I'm ambivalent that SAIs rights are really interesting enough to base a country sourcebook around. I'd be interesting in a book that looks at the effects of transhumanistic philosophy and technology on extrapolations of German culture (realistically, the effects on various component cultures that we just call "german").

Jürgen Hubert 04-09-2010 02:43 PM

Re: Why Germany Matters
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tzeentch (Post 964856)
* I suspect that the real high-stakes spot for SAI rights is China and the United States. TS seems to state pretty clearly that SAIs don't really lack much in the way of rights in the EU as it stands, just tweaking around the edge cases that TS doesn't describe (reproductive rights and requirements, mainly).

I think these issues are huge. I mean, with humans and human variants, you have a pretty clear idea of how they will act in the long run - human drives, personalities and so forth are ultimately not very dissimilar from each other, as they are shaped by eons of human and pre-human evolution.

SAIs, on the other hand, could be anything. Saint or monster, it all depends on the programming. So, who gets to do that programming, and what parameters are they allowed to choose? These questions will have a huge impact on the future of SAIkind.

Quote:

* As SAIs can vote in the EU, it seems that one unanswered question is the extent to which voting even matters in the Fifth Wave nations given how much seems to be run based on expert systems and AIs with advanced memetic campaigns guiding behavior.
Certainly an issue worth exploring.

Quote:

* I'm ambivalent that SAIs rights are really interesting enough to base a country sourcebook around. I'd be interesting in a book that looks at the effects of transhumanistic philosophy and technology on extrapolations of German culture (realistically, the effects on various component cultures that we just call "german").
Don't get me wrong - I don't plan a Germany sourcebook that exclusively, or even mainly, focuses on just that issue. Cultural (and political) changes will certainly get a lot of attention.

But one of the main questions about Transhuman Space is: "It's a fascinating setting, but what do I do with it?" And with apparently safe, wealthy regions this question is harder to answer than for others, since they don't easily lend themselves to action-oriented campaigns like they seem to be the default for most RPG campaigns.

Thus, a sourcebook like Germany needs some really big issues which can be a driving force of conflict for a campaign - and thus, for adventures. And this issue seems to me to be a huge one - after all, what could be bigger than influencing the very shape of future posthumanity of the entire solar system?


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