Adventure idea: The Homonculus Patch

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Michael Crichton Michael Crichton's picture
Adventure idea: The Homonculus Patch

“Alright agents, before we move on to the actual mission brief, We're going to engage in a brief mental exercise. Close your eyes, turn off your entoptic displays, and use your imagination like an Amish caveman would.

I happen to know that none of you are sleeved in your original morph. So, I want you to visualize the body you were born in, back before the Fall. Try to remember your face, your torso, the backs of your hands, et cetera and so forth. Do this for the next minute.

Now, open your optics and stare in dismay at the AR mirror I just summoned into your visual field. Those mild feelings of disorientation you're experiencing right now are but a pale shadow of the revulsion and existential dread you WOULD be suffering, were it not for a little-known mod the psychosurgeons call the “Homonculus Hack”. It's a minor change to the somatosensory cortex that makes your body image just a little bit more flexible, while leaving your subjective sense of self intact.

Originally, it was a specialized treatment for body dysmorphia, but when resleeving became technically feasible, the hack was essential for making its widespread use practical. The only morphs that don't have it these days are either naturally born H. sapiens without cortical stacks, or those deliberately designed to be uncomfortable for the luckless ego trapped in them. Without it, transhumanity as a whole would be even more screamingly insane than we already are. It's just a pity that it's also a security hole...”

So there's the idea. Firewall is just now discovering a backdoor that could be used to potentially subvert almost everyone in the system. Fortunately it's easy to fix, but how do you disseminate the patch without alerting anyone who might be inclined to exploit the flaw while it's still there? How can you tell if anyone has already been using it? And should you even fix it at all, or leave it in place against the day when Firewall itself might need an edge? Is that day today...?

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
While I question the

While I question the tastefulness of using the name of a famous author as a screen-name, I have to say that little blurb/idea seed certainly gave me a screaming case of the willies.

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ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
unlike shadow my mind

unlike shadow my mind immediately went to the cynicism of devils advocate. Are all morphs treated with this? Why is it a morph operation instead of an ego one. Are most of transhumanity in their second sleeve? How would this apply or differ from a person who just radically altered their body instead of resleeving. How does this cooperate with a bridge of Theseus conscious transfer?

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
My question is, are there

My question is, are there alternatives to this little "hack"? Maybe someone already saw this problem and already solved it themselves. Maybe someone developed a different fix around the time this "hack" was put into practice but it never caught on. Maybe there is a DIY guy out there who is using his own home brewed fix. And maybe there is some people who live with out it, but have to suffer the consequences, or maybe have some trait or trick that allows them to do fine without it.

Anyways, I would opt to fix the security hole. Even today, with back doors and spyware left in commercial software, it is argued that it does more harm than good because other people can figure it out. Enemy nations, black hat hackers, or organizations without a country can use it. Once bad people figure this out, the important people can get the patch, while they go about exploiting it in everybody else. In fact, they might even go so far as to deny that this problem even exists to keep this back door open or to deny that there was ever a problem with this hack (pride before the fall). You might have a limited window of time to get this patch distributed before forces will act against you. Assuming that they haven't found about this problem...

MrWigggles MrWigggles's picture
I dont think you can

I dont think you can disseminate a patch like that. You would need to edit the body blue print (or whatever the term is), of each morph to fix the problem. So I dont think you can make a universal patch. So I dont think this is a universal exploit.

hyades hyades's picture
Love it!

Love it!

I think the idea works both ways.

If its a routine "neural genetic modification" that comes with every biomorph - splicers and upward - you'd probably need something akin to a basilisk hack to exploit it, since you'd be going for a biomorph brain then. Or maybe the genehack turns into something exploitable as soon as you upload such a brain.

If it's a psychosurgery mod performed on a digital mind-state, it could be a backdoor for cyberbrain/infomorph hacking and/or exploitable via basilisk. This would probably be easier to fix, although you'd still need almost all of transhumanity to see a psychosurgeon or "self-administer" ;-)

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et Lachesin putri vacuantem saecula penso.

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MrWigggles MrWigggles's picture
How can it really go with

How can it really go with every biomorph? Biomorphs also include the uplifts, the tiny money gatecrasher morph and that 4 armed bug one, and maybe the nova crab?
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I do quite like the idea. I just not buying into it as an exploit for every biomorph. However, it just effecting splicers, the most common morph out there, that would be devastating.

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
Isn't the tiny monkey

Isn't the tiny monkey gatecrasher morph a Pod? Or am I thinking of another one?

It could be interesting if this was only human biomorphs, so most uplift clades were unaffected.

MrWigggles MrWigggles's picture
Yea. Thats my take. I think

Yea. Thats my take. I think making it universal to all Biomorphs is stretching the idea to far. I think making it just effect one biomorph would make it very scary still.

Kremlin K.O.A. Kremlin K.O.A.'s picture
Hrmm, saying it wont be in

Hrmm, saying it wont be in the Uplift morphs would be a great way to make the setting more Bioconservative friendly.
After all, if uplifts don;t get this hack, then you would make the resleeving into such morphs more difficult for those not already that animal type.
It would also make a good, IC, case for 'the Jovians are right.' After all if resleeving is shown to be this horrific thing which needs neural hacking to tolerate...