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Old 08-13-2009, 08:55 PM   #41
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Sectors of an Ultra-Tech/Bio-Tech economy

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Originally Posted by nick012000 View Post
I think that if you build it, they will come. If you make it really nice, they'll beat your door down and pay lots of money. If you exploit panic and fashion to make it trendy, you'll make truckloads of money.
Not as much as you'd make selling real estate on nice garden worlds.

Most people don't live in nuclear bunkers here and we've got thousands of bombs. Why would they do so in the future?

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Combine with the usefulness of FTL technology, and a society that goes for lightly-regulated FTL with safety measures will outcompete one that centrally controls FTL the same way the USA outcompeted the USSR.
The Empire fought a war to ensure that FTL was not only regulated, but restricted.

A society with lightly-regulated FTL would, I believe, survive until the inevitable madman got a hold of one. Then it, and perhaps a lot of others, would be wiped out.

The Empire is not willing to find out how long this would take.

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I would. Of course, I'm also planning on starting a company to build Orion-drive rockets once I finish university, so my response is perhaps predictable.
So you're cool with absolutely anyone being free to buy a nuke?

As long as there's some sort of access control device on it that limits it to 'safe' uses?

Yeah... how's DRM going? Or locked phones?

Anything can be circumvented, with enough care, and just giving everyone nukes makes it certain that someone who shouldn't have one will eventually get one.
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:09 PM   #42
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Default Re: Sectors of an Ultra-Tech/Bio-Tech economy

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Not as much as you'd make selling real estate on nice garden worlds.

Most people don't live in nuclear bunkers here and we've got thousands of bombs. Why would they do so in the future?
Because we don't have the technology to build arcologies now. A proper arcology would be just as nice to live in as a hypothetical garden world, especially since the vast majority of the population is urban nowadays anyway. Most people just go to their home, to work, and to various urban entertainment venues. Have some parks for people to do visit inside, and nature reserves outside, and everything's good.


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The Empire fought a war to ensure that FTL was not only regulated, but restricted.
Really. All it takes is one guy with a lab to rediscover FTL, run away to an uninhabited system, and set up a new society with a Seeder Von Neumann probe and they're screwed, especially if they keep making more Seeder probes and running away. Literally, I'm not joking here; you'd only need one guy by the GURPS invention rules, though he'd have to have a pretty high Engineering skill to pull it off.

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A society with lightly-regulated FTL would, I believe, survive until the inevitable madman got a hold of one. Then it, and perhaps a lot of others, would be wiped out.
Not with proper safety mechanisms. I'm talking about blocks of thermite set to automatically go off the moment someone fiddles with the casing or electronics here. Even attempting to probe it electronically sets it off. X-raying it or using any sort of ultratech sensors sets it off. Dropping it too far sets it off.

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The Empire is not willing to find out how long this would take.
Sure, but I doubt the USSR wanted to fall, either. ;)

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So you're cool with absolutely anyone being free to buy a nuke?
Absolutely anyone? No. There'd be background checks involved in the process of purchasing any of my spacecraft, as well as on anyone handling the fuel or piloting them.

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As long as there's some sort of access control device on it that limits it to 'safe' uses?
Yes.

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Yeah... how's DRM going? Or locked phones?
DRM and locked phones don't generally include blocks of thermite (or the ultratech equivalent thereof) set to go off if someone so much as looks at it funny.

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Anything can be circumvented, with enough care, and just giving everyone nukes makes it certain that someone who shouldn't have one will eventually get one.
Not true. There are encryption codes that absolutely cannot be circumvented without a key. It'd be possible to create suitably paranoid anti-tamper mechanisms that are impossible to bypass without destroying the device as well.
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:18 PM   #43
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Default Re: Sectors of an Ultra-Tech/Bio-Tech economy

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EDIT: Hmm. Sounds survivable, with properly designed (armored, and possibly underground or underwater) arcologies.
I think not. We are talking about fusing oxygen and nitrogen throughout a planet's atmosphere to silicon, phosphorus, and sulphur, and the water throughout its oceans to sulphur, helium, fluorine, and neon. I reckon that you might get yields of several kilotons per square metre from the air alone. And that sort of thing would melt the Lunar regolith to a depth of a couple of metres all over the Nearside. Explosive spalling would crush any orbital habitat at least out to L4 and L5. And that's without considering the ionising radiation.

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Or, you know, not building on planets, and going for asteroid or space habitats, or arcologies on airless planets.
There are over a trillion people living on nearly a thousand planets, with an average development of around GURPS TL8. Evacuating them all to orbital habitats in deep space would definitely be less practical than exercising strict control over starship drives.

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Or mandating that all spacecraft stardrives be hardwired not to activate within the atmosphere, with anti-tamper measures that'll destroy the drive if an attempt at bypassing them is made.
Can you ever make such a device so reliable that you would bet ten billion lives on it?
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:20 PM   #44
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Default Re: Sectors of an Ultra-Tech/Bio-Tech economy

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Because we don't have the technology to build arcologies now. A proper arcology would be just as nice to live in as a hypothetical garden world, especially since the vast majority of the population is urban nowadays anyway. Most people just go to their home, to work, and to various urban entertainment venues. Have some parks for people to do visit inside, and nature reserves outside, and everything's good.
Why are you assuming that this would survive a cataclysmic thermonuclear reaction?

Anything that could (assuming that this is even possible at TL10) would be massively expensive. This means that only the tiniest fraction of humanity could live in one.

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Really. All it takes is one guy with a lab to rediscover FTL, run away to an uninhabited system, and set up a new society with a Seeder Von Neumann probe and they're screwed, especially if they keep making more Seeder probes and running away.
Seeder probes don't work in the setting. You'd know this, if you read the posts you replied to.

And yes, if someone were to rediscover FTL, the Empire would indeed be buggered. Which is why it takes attempts to research it very seriously.

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Originally Posted by nick012000 View Post
Not with proper safety mechanisms. I'm talking about blocks of thermite set to automatically go off the moment someone fiddles with the casing or electronics here. Even attempting to probe it electronically sets it off. X-raying it or using any sort of ultratech sensors sets it off. Dropping it too far sets it off.
Name me one technological device with a 100% success rate. That never, ever, fails to function as it should.

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Sure, but I doubt the USSR wanted to fall, either. ;)
If you want to use real world analogies, try to pick relevant ones.

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Absolutely anyone? No. There'd be background checks involved in the process of purchasing any of my spacecraft, as well as on anyone handling the fuel or piloting them.
There are such background checks. And one of the requirements for being able to obtain an Eichberger drive is having the Right Stuff to be a high-ranking Imperial officer.

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DRM and locked phones don't generally include blocks of thermite (or the ultratech equivalent thereof) set to go off if someone so much as looks at it funny.
Spy planes sometimes do, to prevent crashed vehicles from being investigated usefully. Doesn't always work.

Isn't it funny how stuff in real life sometimes fails to work as you'd want it to?

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Not true. There are encryption codes that absolutely cannot be circumvented without a key. It'd be possible to create suitably paranoid anti-tamper mechanisms that are impossible to bypass without destroying the device as well.
Keys can be gotten. New ways to circumvent security can be found.

The 'suitably paranoid' way the Empire has found is to zelously guard the technology of Eichberger drives and watch any research that touches even on the peripheries thereof with gimlet eyes.
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:22 PM   #45
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Default Re: Sectors of an Ultra-Tech/Bio-Tech economy

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Also, economies of scale don't scale up unendingly.
No, but in general high-tech junk has a much higher minimum efficient scale than low-tech junk.

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Specialization in research and development is a different beast than specialization in manufacturing. If you don't need to transport a product, then you can easily specialize it all into one location without having too many problems with transit times.
Nevertheless we fabricate microchips in Japan, California, and Korea, assemble computers in Thailand, and ship the finished products to Iceland and Australia.
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:29 PM   #46
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Default Re: Sectors of an Ultra-Tech/Bio-Tech economy

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I would. Of course, I'm also planning on starting a company to build Orion-drive rockets once I finish university, so my response is perhaps predictable.
Umm. That is not the sort of statement that exactly adds to your credibility, you know.
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:40 PM   #47
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Default Re: Sectors of an Ultra-Tech/Bio-Tech economy

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Why are you assuming that this would survive a cataclysmic thermonuclear reaction?
Because we're capable of building things capable of surviving a catalcysmic nuclear reaction now. Witness Cheyenne Mountain and its Soviet equivalent. Both of those were underground, but with proper arcology design, people won't mind living underground.

It sounds like building them underwater might be a bad idea, though, with all the florine.

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Anything that could (assuming that this is even possible at TL10) would be massively expensive. This means that only the tiniest fraction of humanity could live in one.
We could do this now, if we wanted to. It'd just be fantastically expensive, like you said. I think the costs for a few Japanese arcologies were in the billions of dollars. With advancing technology, however, the costs will go down.

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Seeder probes don't work in the setting. You'd know this, if you read the posts you replied to.
We could almost build seeder probes now, if we wanted to. All we're lacking at the moment is the biotech to print off new organisms, and we'll have those in ten years or so. We've already got primitive versions of it that can produce tissue, all we need is to refine it to make organs and then entire organisms. Everything else you need for one, we have. It'd just be big, stupid, and take thousands of years to reach the nearest star which is why we haven't bothered. With FTL or ultratech relativistic engines, building seeders is entirely viable. AIs are useful, but optional.

EDIT: Nevermind, we could build a seeder probe now. I just remembered about the artificial womb that Australian researchers built for shark embryoes. It shouldn't be too difficult to adapt it to growing human embryoes, and with that, we could build seeder ships to colonize the universe now.

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And yes, if someone were to rediscover FTL, the Empire would indeed be buggered. Which is why it takes attempts to research it very seriously.
Hence Secret (Rebel against the Empire) [-lots]. ;)

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Name me one technological device with a 100% success rate. That never, ever, fails to function as it should.
Encryption, like I said. That social engineering can defeat it isn't a failing of the technology but of the people. The solution for the FTL drives is to take people out of the loop.

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If you want to use real world analogies, try to pick relevant ones.
It is relevant. USSR vs USA demonstrated the massive efficiency advantage a free market economy possesses against a planned one. Your Empire is a planned economy on a massive scale, and will be out-competed by a Free Market economy on a similar scale.

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There are such background checks. And one of the requirements for being able to obtain an Eichberger drive is having the Right Stuff to be a high-ranking Imperial officer.
Uh huh.

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Spy planes sometimes do, to prevent crashed vehicles from being investigated usefully. Doesn't always work.
Planes are fragile, and have to be deliberately instructed to self-destruct. This thing would be massively overengineered, and wired to blow at the drop of a hat. Odds are that they'll fail much more often than the Empire's drives would when something trips the self-destruct mechanisms, but that can be avoided by the scale of their production and simply swapping in a new one once the old one goes. Military vessels would simply use unmodified drives, since you don't have to worry about terrorists getting their hands on one.

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Isn't it funny how stuff in real life sometimes fails to work as you'd want it to?
Stuff in real life is usually not wired to blow at the drop of a hat.

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Keys can be gotten. New ways to circumvent security can be found.
Usually only through social engineering, which doesn't count.

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The 'suitably paranoid' way the Empire has found is to zelously guard the technology of Eichberger drives and watch any research that touches even on the peripheries thereof with gimlet eyes.
And one suitably genius-y and wealthy researcher can go from "FTL exists" to "Eureka!", and proceed to build according to the GURPS rules. Then he proceeds to get his hands on autofabs, mining robots, and biofabs, and jumps out to start a new colony.

Last edited by nick012000; 08-13-2009 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:50 PM   #48
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Yep. And thanks for the figures, too. Unfortunately the breakdown in official sectoral statistics are more or less at right angles to what I have in mind. Construction, education, and retail, for instance, are all things that have to be carried on in every colony.
That should at least give you an estimate on the amount of labor force is unavailable to contribute to the specialized economy of the average world.

It sounds like what you want is only the Ultra-Tech segments of the economy, broken into manageable pieces. Yes?
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:59 PM   #49
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Default Re: Sectors of an Ultra-Tech/Bio-Tech economy

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Yeah, except on Earth you don't have to wait months just to send messages to other places.
This a an extremely recent phenomenon yet prior to the 20th century there was intercontinental trade.
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Also, economies of scale don't scale up unendingly. The difference between efficiencies between an economy of one person and an economy of ten people is not the same as the difference between efficiencies between an economy of ten billion and an economy of one hundred billion. I find it highly improbable that you could gain enough efficiency from a 100 billion person economy of scale with several months of transit time between each individual 10 billion person economy to outcompete ten ten billion person economies of scale that have next to zero transport time or expense.
Interstellar trade is a central facet of the setting; whether you think it is probably or not, it must exist.
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Old 08-13-2009, 10:02 PM   #50
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Default Re: Sectors of an Ultra-Tech/Bio-Tech economy

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It sounds like what you want is only the Ultra-Tech segments of the economy, broken into manageable pieces. Yes?
Yes. And, strictly speaking, only the ultra-tech pieces that produce tradable goods. Construction, for example, has to be done everywhere.
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