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Old 09-08-2021, 11:33 AM   #1
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Things worth having in a Cyberpunk Campaign

Hello Folks,
Set 30 years from now, some things may very well change - especially if you're using GURPS ULTRATECH or GURPS BIOTECH for Tech levels 9 style of gear. But what if you had to come up with concepts that are not part of the books but you could easily see the concept working in the future.

For instance, remote delivery vans. In the back is a vending machine like mechanism combined with a keypad (alpha numeric keypad) where someone rings up for service from these delivery vehicles. As such, they're self driving and work within urban environments only. While in transit, they're shut off from the internet and can not be hacked other than by direct physical contact. Deliveries are picked up at the location by a customer who has paid for an account (even a single day use account). The user feeds in the delivery address for their package. The vehicle arrives at its programmed destination. The shipper enters their pin code for their account, and the package can be placed inside the waiting opening. The package is then moved internally to a more secure storage spot that can only be called up using the proper account name and a receiving pin number.

Then the vehicle drives to the destination based on a routing that includes the most time efficient path for ALL of the packages entered in to the vehicle. When it arrives at its destination, a pre-programmed call is made to the recipient stating that the package has arrived. The recipient should have the account number and THEIR recovery PIN number already sent to them (either by voice call or perhaps encrypted emails). So, they enter the account number, their PIN, and the package is pulled out into the delivery area, and the customer takes possession of their package.

No one sees the customer, no one interacts with the customer. No wages are paid to the non-existent driver. If the vehicle breaks down, then you need someone to arrive, remove the "vendor" payload from the disabled vehicle, and the new vehicle moves on. In the event that the "Vendor payload" suffers a breakdown (which happens more than the owners would like to admit to), then and only then will there be human interaction with each of the "payload" lock boxes. They're removed individually from the payload area and loaded manually into the new "Vendor payload" mechanism. Each payload lockbox is somewhat armored and can only be unlocked via the payload system from the truck or a computer program that can play the right codes to each of the lock boxes.

I like to call this system the FETCH company. "Call us and we'll fetch it for you. Unlike Fido, it returns it to its owners every time - no matter who that may be".

So, what ideas might YOU want to add to this for others to maybe implement for their own campaigns?
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Old 09-08-2021, 04:39 PM   #2
khorboth
 
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Default Re: Things worth having in a Cyberpunk Campaign

Negative ad placements.

Some brands are so ubiquitous that they aren't forgotten. Now it's a matter of association. Nobody can prove who is paying the guerilla marketing people - payments are very anonymous. But at a crime scene in the paper, there's a pepsi symbol at the scene. Now pepsi is associated with crime. Someone goes spray-painting FORD everywhere, especially on private property. Now, ford is associated with unsightly graffiti. Etc.
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Old 09-08-2021, 05:04 PM   #3
patchwork
 
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Default Re: Things worth having in a Cyberpunk Campaign

The power of Muses using social media networks.

The initial seed isn't my idea; I'm remembering an old story in which a depressed person sits alone on a park bench, the pokecon on their phone pings the pokecon on the phone of a person in line at the nearest Starbucks of an appealing gender and with a healthy bank balance and tells them to order the depressed person's favorite drink in addition to their own. They do so, of course; their pokecon told them to. Then, by direction, they take it to the depressed person and give it to them with a smile. The antagonists who burst on to the scene and attempt to arrest everyone for fraud are the IRS; in pursuit of their owner's mental health, the pokecons are doing a good enough job starting a gift economy that it is becoming impossible to know the income of a middle class person with any precision, and the IRS is ill-equipped in many directions for levying taxes against social networks instead of individuals.

Now kick that up to the next level of invasiveness; people are spending their spare time hanging out with who their pokecons tell them to hang out with. Your schedule consistently has an open slot thursday night, the pokecon finds a crew at a bar who are an 86% match for values and interests with you, you go to the bar and sit at the table your pokecon tells you to while their pokecons tell them ahead of time that a new person will be joining them tonight. I leave attempts at business and artistic partnerships, and romantic partnerships, enabled by pokecons as a further exercise.

But anyway, yeah. A therapy app such as Replika, advanced another TL. Its users are going to trust it to make small decisions for them, and the apps talk to each other to organize things, and some agencies will feel deeply threatened by them even as they significantly improve public mental health (and these slightly-saner people see entrenched agencies trying to take their pokecons away, and are already connected with friends that see things similarly because the pokecons ensured it would be so). Compromising pokecon networks, from inside or out, could be a significant hacking activity. And of course this only applies to people with the discretionary income to maintain their pokecon, because cyberpunk.
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Old 09-08-2021, 06:26 PM   #4
Pursuivant
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Re: Things worth having in a Cyberpunk Campaign

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Originally Posted by hal View Post
For instance, remote delivery vans.
You're missing a couple of tricks in complete automation of the supply chain.

First, take containerization to the "micro" level. Have micro-containers which can be loaded into mini-containers which can be placed within a standard Conex container.

Make the smaller containers into simple robots so they load/unload themselves without the need for anything other than minimal human supervision.

Making up loads for retail delivery is completely automated. Goods get picked off the shelves at the warehouse by robots, put into micro-container robots, which then receive orders from AI routing them to their next destination. Prior to final delivery they are routed into a mini-container robot or modified Conex container so that they can be dispensed from the delivery vehicle in more or less programmed order.

Since the containers are robots on wheels, they can load or unload themselves via a ramp while the delivery vehicle slows (typically no need to stop). They are light, compact, and tough enough that they can be stacked like ordinary pallets or boxes. Extra weight and complexity associated with the robots is offset by vastly increased efficiency in other aspects of the operation.

Next, have secure customer delivery facilities - either within a secure area of an apartment complex or gated community or at a "retail delivery facility" similar to a modern post office. For everyone's convenience, they are standardized to just a few designs.

Micro-container robots route themselves to secure holding containers within the facility and offload their cargo. Once they arrive, notification is sent to the customer along with a one-time key pad code used to open a particular holding box. Anyone with the right ID to get in the door, plus the right key code, can open the storage box. Sensors within the facility detect threats from fire to radiation. Authoritarian regimes might insist on sensors which detect illegal materials.

Once the door is opened and the goods are removed, the routing AI and the customer are notified. The holding container is inspected, sanitized, etc. and readied for the next container.

Specialized container robots and security boxes can be made airtight, refrigerated, supercold, etc. to handle specialized cargo.

If the customer fails to pick up their goods within a given time they are charged a recurring storage fee. If the default on their storage fee payments, or if the facility's AI determines that the goods are illegal or unfit for sale, cleaning robots clear the contents for recycling or proper disposal.

Pick-up of goods from customers works similarly. A suitable number of micro-container robots are sent to the customer to be filled. The customer packs the goods themselves (within a liner inside the micro-container similar to modern cardboard box). The micro-containers are then picked up or route themselves to the nearest storage facility where they undergo security scanning. Once cleared for transit, customer-loaded micro-containers are collected along with any empty micro-containers, sent back to the main distribution center, and rerouted from there to their destination.

No humans are involved except as warehouse supervisors, robot mechanics, and security guards. Container robots are secure enough to resist most forms of attack and vandalism, and have enough AI to recognize potential problems or threats and call for help.

Delivery vehicles are modular so that they can hold one or more Conex containers or mini-containers. Containers can be rolled on or off the vehicle.

If a vehicle breaks down or is in an accident, its containers can either be rolled over to an empty vehicle or else the mini- or micro-containers transfer themselves to an empty container on the new vehicle. The new vehicle then receives orders from the damaged vehicle or the AI and completes the delivery route.

Realistically, Level 5 autonomous ground vehicles (i.e., as good or better than human drivers) will require the equivalent of true AI plus sensors which equal or exceed human perceptions. Computing and sensor requirements could be greatly reduced by having delivery vehicles travel along dedicated routes isolated from other traffic. These could be repurposed railroad or subway lines, walled off lanes on city streets, or something else.

Many AI navigation problems are easily solved by using aerial drones, but that isn't practical, even at cyberpunk levels of technology, for moving heavy goods or goods on a mass scale. It would require millions of drones to replace modern truck fleets leading to massive airspace congestion and all sorts of other problems.

Routing algorithms would have to be revised "on the fly" by AI or by human supervisors. There no currently-available precise algorithmic solution to the "Traveling Salesman Problem," although brute-force computing can yield results which are pretty close to optimum. Of course, AI and 30+ years of mathematical research might result in a breakthrough.
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Old 09-08-2021, 07:24 PM   #5
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Things worth having in a Cyberpunk Campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by khorboth View Post
Negative ad placements.

Some brands are so ubiquitous that they aren't forgotten. Now it's a matter of association. Nobody can prove who is paying the guerilla marketing people - payments are very anonymous. But at a crime scene in the paper, there's a pepsi symbol at the scene. Now pepsi is associated with crime. Someone goes spray-painting FORD everywhere, especially on private property. Now, ford is associated with unsightly graffiti. Etc.
Which makes having anti-graffiti cleaners worth having. But that suggests a new "race" of sorts - as negative add placements are used to cover over negative add placements. In fact, those graffiti removal robots are utilized at night as graffiti sprayers...
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Old 09-08-2021, 07:27 PM   #6
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Things worth having in a Cyberpunk Campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
You're missing a couple of tricks in complete automation of the supply chain.

First, take containerization to the "micro" level. Have micro-containers which can be loaded into mini-containers which can be placed within a standard Conex container.
Question - what percentage of containers will fail due to faulty maintenance issues or just simple bad luck in the overall scheme of things and what are the remedies suggested? Just looking to refine this, not shoot it down.

:)
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Old 09-08-2021, 07:34 PM   #7
hal
 
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Default Re: Things worth having in a Cyberpunk Campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by patchwork View Post
The power of Muses using social media networks.

The initial seed isn't my idea; I'm remembering an old story in which a depressed person sits alone on a park bench, the pokecon on their phone pings the pokecon on the phone of a person in line at the nearest Starbucks of an appealing gender and with a healthy bank balance and tells them to order the depressed person's favorite drink in addition to their own...

<snipped stuff>
Hmmm - googling pokecon doesn't pull anything up - so I'm guessing the story you reference may have supplied more data on such an app.

Tying this into Memetics from TRANSHUMAN SPACE, this sounds like an app designed to help influence activity of some kind, all under the auspices of "social awareness".

Such an app, if it ever became powerful - could be used by the actual owners of the app coding, to engage in public behavior that it otherwise would not. Toss in "social reward points" and rankings that the public would compete for - and you have a social retraining tool for "Acceptable behavior".

Hmmmm. Does make one think!

Last edited by hal; 09-08-2021 at 07:35 PM. Reason: spelling error darn it!
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Old 09-08-2021, 08:22 PM   #8
khorboth
 
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Default Re: Things worth having in a Cyberpunk Campaign

I bet there would be good money in the dummy server business keeping the internet of things going. Maybe a couple of big names working in the quasi-legal area.

Yah, my coffee maker is a brick now because the company that makes it took the server down.

Hey, you should sign up for nasty-server. I installed a firmware update for my coffeemaker and it started working again. My doorbell too. And that adjustable end table? Whole thing only costs me ten bucks a month.
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Old 09-08-2021, 08:29 PM   #9
patchwork
 
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Default Re: Things worth having in a Cyberpunk Campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by hal View Post
Hmmm - googling pokecon doesn't pull anything up - so I'm guessing the story you reference may have supplied more data on such an app.

Tying this into Memetics from TRANSHUMAN SPACE, this sounds like an app designed to help influence activity of some kind, all under the auspices of "social awareness".

Such an app, if it ever became powerful - could be used by the actual owners of the app coding, to engage in public behavior that it otherwise would not. Toss in "social reward points" and rankings that the public would compete for - and you have a social retraining tool for "Acceptable behavior".

Hmmmm. Does make one think!
Pokecon is a contraction of "pocket conscience", which is what the Japanese in the story called them. The Americans had a less interesting name for it. I think the root of it is an algorithm-based app designed to improve mental health, concluding that the most effective way to improve it's owner's mental health is the overthrow of the existing economic system, and working accordingly.
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Old 09-08-2021, 11:58 PM   #10
Pursuivant
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Re: Things worth having in a Cyberpunk Campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by khorboth View Post
Hey, you should sign up for nasty-server. I installed a firmware update for my coffeemaker and it started working again. My doorbell too. And that adjustable end table? Whole thing only costs me ten bucks a month.
This is one of my many personal objection to IOT devices. It forces you to upgrade household appliances which should last for years or decades on the 1.5-5 year schedule normally reserved for IT gadgets.
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