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Old 09-08-2021, 12:33 PM   #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, 05:39 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, 08:24 PM   #3
hal
 
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Default Re: Things worth having in a Cyberpunk Campaign

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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, 06:04 PM   #4
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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, 08:34 PM   #5
hal
 
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Default Re: Things worth having in a Cyberpunk Campaign

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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 08:35 PM. Reason: spelling error darn it!
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Old 09-08-2021, 09:22 PM   #6
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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 09-09-2021, 12:58 AM   #7
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Default Re: Things worth having in a Cyberpunk Campaign

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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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Old 09-09-2021, 12:58 AM   #8
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Default Re: Things worth having in a Cyberpunk Campaign

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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.
Our combined models assume robust robotics and AI and a mature robo-shipping industry. To make it work, a large percentage of the smaller robots must remain operational at all times and "on-duty" failures have to be a tiny percentage overall (like, 0.000001%).

I know nothing about the shipping industry, but as a dumb guess, say that you've got 110% of the robots you need at peak capacity, you normally run at 80% capacity, and about 1% of robots are out of service at any given time. "On duty" failures are a tiny fraction of all maintenance incidents, prevented by decades of human experience and AI analysis.

Predictive AI which takes weather, current affairs, consumer data, and similar information into account is used for logistics, stationing the right robots where they're most likely to be needed.

The robo trucks run almost all the time, usually drawing their power from the mini- and micro-container bots so they don't need to stop to fuel. Unless they're damaged or in for routine maintenance if they're not on the road they're not making money. Even so, they're massively more efficient that human drivers since they don't need to sleep, eat, or have a home life.

The smaller robots spend most of their time "asleep" being carted from one place to another or waiting to be picked up. They "earn their keep" when empty by feeding power to the robo trucks and possibly serving as auxiliary distributed computer networks. Sharing power also means that no robot fails due to lack of power or ever gets too low on power. This optimizes battery life.

Due to a well-developed "internet of things" each robot will have onboard diagnostic sensors which can catch potential maintenance problems. "Power On & Self-Test" (POST) routines occur multiple times per day. "Sick" robots report to the maintenance area in the same way that sick soldiers go on sick call. That eliminates a number of potential problems up front.

Once they've "decided" that they're fit for duty, the smaller container robots "check in" with AI supervisors and are assigned as necessary. Like modern delivery drivers, robots constantly check in with their supervisor, update their status, and track the status of the packages they're carrying.

The micro- and mini-container robots have relatively short range. While they can operate on the street, they are seldom seen outside of shipping facilities which limits theft, vandalism, and wear and tear.

They're programmed to load themselves onto larger robots, plug themselves in to be recharged (or to supply power to other robots in the same network), and then shut down systems that aren't required.

That saves wear and tear on the smaller and more fragile robots while slightly reducing the tare weight and refueling times for the robot trucks (because fewer fuel cells are carried).

Once the robo truck nears a mini- or micro-container robot's destination it "wakes up" any "passengers" which need to be loaded or unloaded and updates its own status. All the newly-woken robots do health status checks and check in with the robot truck and the AI supervisor.

At the destination, the truck slows or stops, picks up and drops off micro- or mini-containers as needed, and continues on its way once it has determined that all its "passengers" are accounted for one way or another.

Inside the retail storage facility, the mini-containers route themselves to the correct location and then off-load all their micro-containers. The micro-containers do the wake-up and self-test routine, everyone updates their status, and the micros travel to their storage boxes. Once there, they can either nest inside the storage box to recharge or call on a handler robot to unload them. The handler robot then puts the package in the right spot. Everyone updates their status and the package's status.

If the micro is "asleep" inside a storage box when a customer makes a pickup the same code which operates the storage container door opens the cargo bot as well.

Normally, however, the micros and minis are constantly on the move. They move to recharging stations (which might be empty storage boxes or separate stations), check in, self-test, and go to sleep until the next robo truck comes by.

Storage or distribution facilities might also serve as maintenance facilities. SAI expert system computers do initial diagnosis based on the robot's self-diagnostics. Robot mechanics perform basic repairs. Human mechanics and supervisors perform complex repairs and detailed inspections.
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Old 09-09-2021, 08:40 AM   #9
khorboth
 
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Default Re: Things worth having in a Cyberpunk Campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
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.
True, but relevant to a cyberpunk campaign (for more than just color) one could hack into somebody's [object] and gain access to their network. Objects are notorious for bad security already. Ones that are out-of-lifespan would be even moreso.
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Old 09-08-2021, 09:29 PM   #10
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Default Re: Things worth having in a Cyberpunk Campaign

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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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