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Old 09-16-2010, 11:02 PM   #1
D10
 
Join Date: May 2009
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Default Communication, how could it affect a world ?

So I was thinking this a while ago, imagine a world where the capacity to communicate was much greater.

As a more practical example, imagine as if you got the number of people doing commerce who knew more than 4 languages and spread big news (you know ... bards) and increase it by 1000000% by 500bc for instance.

Whats the hive minds take on a world where theres a great number of sucessfull Bards spreading so much culture and knowledge?
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Old 09-16-2010, 11:26 PM   #2
zylosan
 
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Default Re: Communication, how could it affect a world ?

Improvements in communication has pretty much been the driving force behind most of the cultural and technological advances in the business enviroment over the last 20 years (the other being digitization). Improved communication reduces the transaction costs of organizing group activies, specilization of production, prodution of the right goods at the right time, comptetiong for both resoruces and conumers, and the transmission of ideas (Which speeds up innovation, adaptation, and problem solving).

The largest constraint to having attempting to increase bardic communciaton it by 1000000% by 500bc for instance. Is the speed, bandwidth and singal to noise ratio of voice communication. Bards spread news quickly from city to city but it was still limited by the speed at which bards could and would move from location to locaiton. (magic and divergent technology can speed this up) Bards memorized a massive amont of verbal lore and passed it on, but this was far inferiour to written messages that where not subject to mis-remembering, could be read by mulitple indviduals at the same time (copies), and convayed more and more accurate information in a given time period.

Verbal communicaiton is also far more subject to mesage distortion than are written messages. If you have ever played telephone (mulitple people sit in a line and pass verbal messages up and down the line by whispering them to the next person in line.) you know how badly a message can be jumbled. Also consider that verbal communication is far more dependant on the speaker to convey much of the message via tone of voice, word choices, etc.

If you want to create a low tech envioronment with the effects of vastly increased communication, consider the earily introduction of an alphabet, some means of authenticating writting (wizards mark kind of thing.) a reliable and long lasting writting medium (paper being cheap and relativly long lasting.), and a method of coping works quickly. (Magical copies, block type or even moviable type)
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Old 09-16-2010, 11:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: Communication, how could it affect a world ?

very interesting, upon reading your ideas I came with this.

You could have some sort of Ancient Wizard Cabal, very greedy, and as such they went on to spread their alphabet across the 4 countries of the globe, not only that, but they offered services or couriers which could also read and write.

Sounds like a good point to start on ?
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Old 09-16-2010, 11:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: Communication, how could it affect a world ?

I would suggest dropping the evil bit as alphabets generally rapidly spread themselves due to there being relativly easy to learn and write. I would make them more mercenary than evil as they would have substantial long term advantages in being the power behind the crown, due to it being really handy to have someone who can read and write to keep track of pesky things like taxes, armies, and spell libraries.

If you do want to go the secret hidden evil wizard route, you could have a base alphabet that is known by the public through out the 4 nations but a syllabary known only by the wizards that is an out growth of the base language. The wizards promote the use of their language in everyday life including schools, govermetn and business but ruthlessly repress knowlege of the hidden syllabary. The syllabary would make an excellent basis for the usage of Book/Path magic from the Thaumaturgy book, as it rewards both general knowelege of magic principles and specific dedication to set rituals and rites.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syllabary
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Old 09-17-2010, 12:09 AM   #5
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Default Re: Communication, how could it affect a world ?

I saw them as mercenaries as well, it wasant my intention to pain them evil saying they were greedy =p

indeed being the power behind the thrones is better, and your idea is excelent, im gonna definetely use it.
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Old 09-17-2010, 12:31 AM   #6
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Default Re: Communication, how could it affect a world ?

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett?
Phonetic "alphabet" transmitted by heliograph; kanji-gramsLOL
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Old 09-17-2010, 12:46 AM   #7
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Default Re: Communication, how could it affect a world ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobmuller View Post
Going Postal by Terry Pratchett?
Phonetic "alphabet" transmitted by heliograph; kanji-gramsLOL
Seems very far fetched ... perhaps some form of shape clouds ?
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Old 09-17-2010, 02:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: Communication, how could it affect a world ?

The idea of heleographic towers is actually pretty realist and has been done on smaller scales in the real world using lanterns, torches or colored flags. Its actually one of the ideas I had intended to mention, but forgot about.

I misread the whole evil wizards thing. :)
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Old 09-17-2010, 04:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: Communication, how could it affect a world ?

Saw a contest between a British coastal defence signal system (semafor? towers) and cell-phone text. Towers were faster but it was just a simple code-phrase.

The effect of rapid communication? Greeks with 19th century level of information flow. A common trading language or three. The merchants buying tin in Wales would know the price they'd be likely to get for their cargo; the markets in Ephesia would know how long until a new shipment might arrive and the cost.

"Bards" suggests magic; give them a Telepathic link system and data distribution to parallel the mail service, eg you tell the local bard your message and get charged per word and per relay bard (like telegraph). Bard at destination passes message to recipient by runner. Imagine Greek mercenaries fighting in Western India getting personal mail from home. How many of Alexander's army would have left if they still had news of home/ how much better equipped would they have been with the knowledge the tech would make available.
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