Atypical neurologies in Eclipse Phase

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Aeroz Aeroz's picture
Atypical neurologies in Eclipse Phase

First I want to say I do have abit of real world concern on this matter. There are only two movements I consider myself to be apart of, first I dont need to explain here, transhumanism movement.

The other I fear might someday run counter to that goal, neurodiversity movement. Basically that differing neurologies are required for a healthy society and its removal would be to our disadvantage. However mainstream views it as an illness and that all "abnormal" neurological brain functions should be purged from our species. In fact transhuman technologies I have found even specifically state that wiping out autism is one of their goals.

What I ask is if this was successful, after all by making bodies for people they'd have to actively choose to create a brain like that, or did scientists realize the advantages of a mind forgoing social communication for perceptive and analytical skills? I mean the menton morph is basically someone with their aspergers cranked up to 11.

Tyrnis Tyrnis's picture
Re: Atypical neurologies in Eclipse Phase

Except that it isn't, except superficially. Someone sleeved in a menton doesn't have any of the social difficulties that typically accompany serious cases of Aspergers, and in fact may have a SAV bonus.

That said, one thing I do wish the books played up more was the differences in mental state caused by sleeving into different kinds of morphs. While there might not typically be a great deal of neurodiversity in similar morph lines (though one could easily argue that this is exactly what the variable attribute bonuses for individual morphs represents), there should be a great deal between different types of morphs, and it would be nice to have more guidelines on how the body influences behavior and how the ego perceives the world.

Aeroz Aeroz's picture
Re: Atypical neurologies in Eclipse Phase

Tyrnis wrote:
Except that it isn't, except superficially. Someone sleeved in a menton doesn't have any of the social difficulties that typically accompany serious cases of Aspergers, and in fact may have a SAV bonus.

that argument only applies from a normal-centric outlook. You can just as easily say that a splicer isn't an example of neuro-typical mind because it doesn't have the mathematical and analytical issues found in most cases and may in fact might even have a COG bonus.

Its all a matter of perspective.

[edit] I just mean a menton could be a standard aspie brain just with enhancements made to the social lackings to bring it up to a splicers level instead of a slicers cognitive skills put up to an aspie's norm.

I know in game terms its enhancements for thinking, but you can substitute it for social ones just as well to end up at the same place. My point is they could have started with an atypical brain and built up from there since it already had larger size and analytical focus

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Atypical neurologies in Eclipse Phase

There's kinda no reason to say either one, though, unless 'Asperger's' is now *strictly*, reductively equivalent to something like '+10 COG, +5 INT, +5 WIL, […]'.

There's much to say about the topic of neurodiversity WRT a future of custom-made brains, but it doesn't seem like *this* point is related. You might as well say that a Fury 'might be' the body-type of a weakling amped way up… or the body type of a perfect specimen amped somewhat up. You can say anything.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Atypical neurologies in Eclipse Phase

Aeroz wrote:
The other I fear might someday run counter to that goal, neurodiversity movement. Basically that differing neurologies are required for a healthy society and its removal would be to our disadvantage. However mainstream views it as an illness and that all "abnormal" neurological brain functions should be purged from our species. In fact transhuman technologies I have found even specifically state that wiping out autism is one of their goals.

Hmm, what technologies? Among my transhumanist friends and discussion partners people are very OK with neurodiversity. After all, being allowed to have whatever kind of mind you want *implies* it. And conversely, in order to make enhancement and new bodies morally workable, you need to have a right to resist being modified by others, even if they think you are faulty.

The fact that we generally want to be *better* doesn't mean that Aspergers, for example, is a bad choice. Rather, we should keep the good parts and get rid of the bad parts if possible. A bit like how the Voluntary Autism movement in Greg Egan's "Distress" express it.

Quote:

What I ask is if this was successful, after all by making bodies for people they'd have to actively choose to create a brain like that, or did scientists realize the advantages of a mind forgoing social communication for perceptive and analytical skills? I mean the menton morph is basically someone with their aspergers cranked up to 11.

In fact, when trying to come up with enhancements looking at mental disorders is a great way of getting inspiration. They demonstrate functionality that can be imitated. I wrote a little list of "pathotronic" enhancements based on mental disorders:

http://www.aleph.se/EclipsePhase/Pathotronics.pdf

Morphs in EP certainly seem to have traits that affect people downloaded into them. The Menton might not be socially awkward, but it probably has plenty of systematizing. The Sylph might have slightly pumped extroversion and narcissism (makes customers happy with it). I would almost expect some empathy impairments used deliberately for some combat applications. And so on.

Thanks to psychosurgery neurodiversity in EP is very much a choice. Some people and cultures opt for it, others do their best to normalize, and plenty of people do not even notice how their standard tech and morphs embody very variant forms of cognition.

Extropian

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Re: Atypical neurologies in Eclipse Phase

Aeroz wrote:
However mainstream views it as an illness and that all "abnormal" neurological brain functions should be purged from our species. In fact transhuman technologies I have found even specifically state that wiping out autism is one of their goals.

I don't think there's any mainstream view that abnormal brain functions should be purged. Who is talking about mandatory abortion or treatment?

Autism is a very serious handicap, and being able to treat it would be a big medical accomplishment. If someone chooses not to treat it, however, that's their choice - forcing people to get treates for anything is quite rare.

There might be some issues regarding parents not providing medical care for their children though. Refusing treatment for your children can be equivalent to not carrying out your responsibilities as guardians, but that's dependant on local laws. Here in Denmark, you can even deny your children blood transfusions needed to save their life and get away with it (I personally think that it is murder).

Xagroth Xagroth's picture
Re: Atypical neurologies in Eclipse Phase

Smokeskin wrote:

There might be some issues regarding parents not providing medical care for their children though. Refusing treatment for your children can be equivalent to not carrying out your responsibilities as guardians, but that's dependant on local laws. Here in Denmark, you can even deny your children blood transfusions needed to save their life and get away with it (I personally think that it is murder).

This one is a really hard to solve matter. Where does the right of the parents to raise their children following their beliefs ends, and the self-determination rights of the child begins? While this is a grave matter in today's society, it can be an extremely important (and politized) one in AF10, because it will be related to the autonomists, the Jovian Republic and possibly other factions.

That being said, I'd like to propose a "solution" for the setting (since this can be solved differently depending on particular habitats). First, if the life of the dependant ego (of alpha level, beta forks and below are not inside this answer's scope) must not be in danger. That means that at least cold storage is avaiable and mostly free, while infomorph status is heavily avaiable (however, since the Futura project, children and other non-mature biologically-based egos are placed either in biomorphs or cold storage). Exception: In the Jovian Republic, steps to correct life-threatening illnesses will be taken by the government for free (since not doing it might push desperate parents to refuse the bioconservative's creed of the Republic, seeking black market aid or even defecting). "Resurrection" services excluded, of course.

Second, any illness that prevents an expression of the ego will be corrected so the ego can express his/her desires, the most easy solution being to run aa beta fork as an infomorph and ask it. This means, however, that the correction has to wait until the ego has developed enough to endure the process (essentially, at least until the ego is 14-16 years old).

Third, no AGI is created that way intentionally, and its more than likely that when one is, it is deleted and the project starts anew. This, however, can be contradicted by tailor-made AGIs for singular projects or purposes (or for security reasons).

Fourth, Uplifts are treated with varying grades of care here: where they are seen as property, usually termination of the project and restart is the choice made (further experimentation or donation to another facility, like the one mentioned in Gatecrashing for being supposedly investigating async uplifts, is the other option); where they uplifts are considered self-determining, it is usually their choice.

While this don't cover all the points, I think it is a good guideline for a general, mostly bening, point of view. As for Savants, they are either cured or exploited, I'd guess, and the other raising point would be the Ultimates: if somebody in EP uses anything akin to Warhammer 40k's servitors, at least in the ego level, it is them: an intelligent ego placed inside an autistic morph with several compulsions (focused on its assigned tasks) fits quite well with some of the information released to the rest of transhumanity (remember those talks about half-blind, crippled flats?)

Aeroz Aeroz's picture
Re: Atypical neurologies in Eclipse Phase

Smokeskin wrote:

I don't think there's any mainstream view that abnormal brain functions should be purged. Who is talking about mandatory abortion or treatment?

Autism is a very serious handicap, and being able to treat it would be a big medical accomplishment. If someone chooses not to treat it, however, that's their choice - forcing people to get treates for anything is quite rare.

There might be some issues regarding parents not providing medical care for their children though. Refusing treatment for your children can be equivalent to not carrying out your responsibilities as guardians, but that's dependant on local laws. Here in Denmark, you can even deny your children blood transfusions needed to save their life and get away with it (I personally think that it is murder).


This is exactly the problem. You dont get a choice in the treatment. Your parents decide if you should get the treatment or not, they force it upon their children and there is alot of societal pressure to do so. Anti-vaccination groups are willing to risk the lives of their children to avoid the risk of developing autism. You dont think most parents would, without a second thought "cure" their children. You have no idea the hellish, so called treatments these poor children are subjected to.

And abortions? Once the technology appeared to detect the gene for downsyndrome in a fetus, 90% of unborn children that it was found in were aborted. The holocaust didn't achieve genocide that thorough. Where was their choice?

This isn't treatment, this is society telling you "your way of thinking is wrong. You are sick. You are inferior to us. But dont worry, we can make you like us, we can make you normal." You cannot treat it because there is nothing to treat. Yea you have difficulty with kinesics and in extreme cases even speaking, and are socially awkward, but hey that never stopped Einstein. After all you do get enhanced mathematical and logical reasoning. You know things like programming. Half of Silicon Valley has aspergers. In the technological era what do you think is of more use? More importantly, how many parents will consider that when they see their child struggling in a few classes, having few friends, and trouble even relating to their parents. Then are told a simple procedure will "fix" them.

As one supporter of neurodiversity put it "the spear was not invented by those yakking it up around the fire. It was invented by the one obsessively analyzing the fractal splitting of stones"

Now dont think I do not value neurotypicals. That invention wouldn't be too useful if not for those with a talent for conveying intent and creating social networks. But I do think that if we do not have variety our ability to advance as a species will be crippled.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Re: Atypical neurologies in Eclipse Phase

Aeroz wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:

I don't think there's any mainstream view that abnormal brain functions should be purged. Who is talking about mandatory abortion or treatment?

Autism is a very serious handicap, and being able to treat it would be a big medical accomplishment. If someone chooses not to treat it, however, that's their choice - forcing people to get treates for anything is quite rare.

There might be some issues regarding parents not providing medical care for their children though. Refusing treatment for your children can be equivalent to not carrying out your responsibilities as guardians, but that's dependant on local laws. Here in Denmark, you can even deny your children blood transfusions needed to save their life and get away with it (I personally think that it is murder).


This is exactly the problem. You dont get a choice in the treatment. Your parents decide if you should get the treatment or not, they force it upon their children and there is alot of societal pressure to do so. Anti-vaccination groups are willing to risk the lives of their children to avoid the risk of developing autism. You dont think most parents would, without a second thought "cure" their children. You have no idea the hellish, so called treatments these poor children are subjected to.

I was on the fence about parents denying treatment to their kids (in the case af autism, not aspergers). But of course parents are allowed to treat their children, and of course they have a strong desire to do so. Who else should make the decision? And denying parents the possibility to treat their children is downright cruel, both for parents and children.

Quote:

And abortions? Once the technology appeared to detect the gene for downsyndrome in a fetus, 90% of unborn children that it was found in were aborted. The holocaust didn't achieve genocide that thorough. Where was their choice?

You sound like a pro-lifer, and if you are that then we'll never agree. But to me calling fetuses for unborn children and talking about them not getting a choice, that's far out - and it sounds very close to a call for oppression. And comparing abortions to genocide is downright despicable.

Quote:

This isn't treatment, this is society telling you "your way of thinking is wrong. You are sick. You are inferior to us. But dont worry, we can make you like us, we can make you normal." You cannot treat it because there is nothing to treat. Yea you have difficulty with kinesics and in extreme cases even speaking, and are socially awkward, but hey that never stopped Einstein. After all you do get enhanced mathematical and logical reasoning. You know things like programming. Half of Silicon Valley has aspergers. In the technological era what do you think is of more use? More importantly, how many parents will consider that when they see their child struggling in a few classes, having few friends, and trouble even relating to their parents. Then are told a simple procedure will "fix" them.

Autism and aspergers sure sound like handicaps, and something I'd certainly want to treat in myself and my children. That doesn't mean I have some sort of bias towards people with those conditions.

Compare it to physical fitness. I try to stay fit. I still have friends and colleagues who are unfit, and I really don't see it as any sort of barrier between meaningful relations.

I don't see any reason to assume that people are so judgmental.

Quote:

Now dont think I do not value neurotypicals. That invention wouldn't be too useful if not for those with a talent for conveying intent and creating social networks. But I do think that if we do not have variety our ability to advance as a species will be crippled.

But what are you suggesting? Denying treatment for autism? Denying treatment for aspergers, even when people want it?

In the not too distant future, intelligence upgrades will probably become available. Should that be denied too, because baseline humans are offended that some people want to be smarter?

I'm sorry, but I don't follow your thinking. It should be the individual's right to choose for themselves (and their children). No law or special interest group should be allowed to limit that, as long as no one is getting hurt.

Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Atypical neurologies in Eclipse Phase

Aeroz wrote:
This is exactly the problem. You dont get a choice in the treatment. Your parents decide if you should get the treatment or not, they force it upon their children and there is alot of societal pressure to do so. Anti-vaccination groups are willing to risk the lives of their children to avoid the risk of developing autism. You dont think most parents would, without a second thought "cure" their children. You have no idea the hellish, so called treatments these poor children are subjected to.

Actually, I disagree. I am friends with someone who has an autistic son, and while she would certainly like to find some way to make him capable of communicating verbally, she wouldn't dare change his way of thinking to be neurotypical. He wouldn't be the same person then, and she understands that. She likes who he is.

When the parent of an autistic child says "cure", they aren't talking about making them neurotypical. They are simply trying to find a means to make their child able to integrate with society. That shouldn't take much change at all.

But I think it should be noted that the parents who prevent their kids from getting immunized are ignorantly working from false information, oftentimes to validate their disdain for modern medical technology. Let's not reference the actions of fanatical bioconservatives when we talk about transhuman technologies. :D

Aeroz wrote:
And abortions? Once the technology appeared to detect the gene for downsyndrome in a fetus, 90% of unborn children that it was found in were aborted. The holocaust didn't achieve genocide that thorough. Where was their choice?

People abort children with many defects. I know someone who aborted a child because they would have severe asthma, just like me. I didn't take it to offense, however... taking care of such a child is hard. I was in and out of hospitals throughout my youth. I'm lucky to be alive.

As cold as it may sound, I would rather a child be aborted than go through life without the social net of good parents. A child with a birth defect like Down Syndrome, asthma, or cerebral palsy needs even better parents.

Aeroz wrote:
This isn't treatment, this is society telling you "your way of thinking is wrong. You are sick. You are inferior to us. But dont worry, we can make you like us, we can make you normal." You cannot treat it because there is nothing to treat. Yea you have difficulty with kinesics and in extreme cases even speaking, and are socially awkward, but hey that never stopped Einstein. After all you do get enhanced mathematical and logical reasoning. You know things like programming. Half of Silicon Valley has aspergers. In the technological era what do you think is of more use? More importantly, how many parents will consider that when they see their child struggling in a few classes, having few friends, and trouble even relating to their parents. Then are told a simple procedure will "fix" them.

As one supporter of neurodiversity put it "the spear was not invented by those yakking it up around the fire. It was invented by the one obsessively analyzing the fractal splitting of stones"

Most parents I've ever known haven't had a disdain for social awkwardness, obsessive behavior or other behavior anomalies.

Aeroz wrote:
Now dont think I do not value neurotypicals. That invention wouldn't be too useful if not for those with a talent for conveying intent and creating social networks. But I do think that if we do not have variety our ability to advance as a species will be crippled.

Arguably, there is no such thing as neurotypical. If anything, the mental traits we deem as such make up a broad swath of traits. Those elements we deem mental deviations are simply too far out to be part of that swath. I've met plenty of people who exhibit minor elements of atypical behavior, yet are still considered "neurotypical".

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

Aeroz Aeroz's picture
Re: Atypical neurologies in Eclipse Phase

Smokeskin, I see where you are coming from. That its a "handicap". Its not that I dont understand your point of view, just that, to be blunt. Its wrong. You, are not better than me. No one, but me, has any right to judge my way of thinking and this includes my parents. There is nothing wrong with me and your insinuation that simply because I have a different neurology to you that I am less capable is arrogant and offensive

Now I agree choices should be open, even if its detrimental to our species. But you aren't talking about that, you are talking about forcing this change on people. What do you think parents should also have the right to change a childs sexual orientation, or gender because they view it as a "handicap".

So no I do not think its cruel to not "treat" the child. If you are a parent you should accept your child however they are and however they wish to be. Any parent that goes "I do not like my autistic child, I want a non-autistic child" and intends to destroy an aspect of that persons identity has no right to raise that child.

Aeroz Aeroz's picture
Re: Atypical neurologies in Eclipse Phase

I am going to be abandoning this thread, but feel free to continue discuss among yourselves. But being reminded of the intolerance and ignorance that has made my life, and the lives of my peers so difficult is frankly too depressing. I just pray that someday NTs learn to accept those unlike themselves before its too late

GreyBrother GreyBrother's picture
Re: Atypical neurologies in Eclipse Phase

Uhm... holy crap what happened here? I get the feeling of looking at a theatre stage and the play finished backstage.

Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Atypical neurologies in Eclipse Phase

GreyBrother wrote:
Uhm... holy crap what happened here? I get the feeling of looking at a theatre stage and the play finished backstage.

A conversation like this one touches on subjects that can make people uncomfortable for any number of reasons. When you are emotionally invested in a conversation, oftentimes the best way to keep it from getting out of hand is to simply back out.

I believe that's what Aeroz did. I know I've done that with plenty of topics myself.

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Re: Atypical neurologies in Eclipse Phase

Aeroz wrote:
Smokeskin, I see where you are coming from. That its a "handicap". Its not that I dont understand your point of view, just that, to be blunt. Its wrong. You, are not better than me. No one, but me, has any right to judge my way of thinking and this includes my parents. There is nothing wrong with me and your insinuation that simply because I have a different neurology to you that I am less capable is arrogant and offensive

Now I agree choices should be open, even if its detrimental to our species. But you aren't talking about that, you are talking about forcing this change on people. What do you think parents should also have the right to change a childs sexual orientation, or gender because they view it as a "handicap".

So no I do not think its cruel to not "treat" the child. If you are a parent you should accept your child however they are and however they wish to be. Any parent that goes "I do not like my autistic child, I want a non-autistic child" and intends to destroy an aspect of that persons identity has no right to raise that child.

You can call it what you want, being different or handicapped or whatever. But the fact is that just like you don't want to be NT, I don't want to have aspergers. I couldn't do my job, I wouldn't have the family I have, I couldn't practice my sports. I don't see why you can't just accept that I don't want aspergers without bringing all this "but you're not better than" divisive rhetoric into it.

And where you go completely off the rails is when you want to dictate the neural architecture of people's kids. That's the parents' choice, not yours, or any other special interest groups'. You even went so far as speaking out against abortion of fetuses with Down's syndrome. Did you know that there are also deaf communities speaking out against cochlear implants? You want to chime in with them too?

You should stop taking personal offense at people wanting different things than you. That's not the same as bias or hate. You say you respect free choice, but you're only paying lip service to it when you immediatedly follow it up with oppressive ideas.

WooMod WooMod's picture
Re: Atypical neurologies in Eclipse Phase

Aeroz wrote:

This is exactly the problem. You dont get a choice in the treatment. Your parents decide if you should get the treatment or not, they force it upon their children and there is alot of societal pressure to do so. Anti-vaccination groups are willing to risk the lives of their children to avoid the risk of developing autism. You dont think most parents would, without a second thought "cure" their children. You have no idea the hellish, so called treatments these poor children are subjected to.

And abortions? Once the technology appeared to detect the gene for downsyndrome in a fetus, 90% of unborn children that it was found in were aborted. The holocaust didn't achieve genocide that thorough. Where was their choice?

Potential people do not exist. They don't have rights that can be infriged, it doesn't harm people with existing people with autism if autism goes the way of the dodo.
If you want more people with autism in a world where we have the power to decide if a child will be autistic, the solution is simple. Make your children autistic.

The results of whether we intentionally make our children what they are, and that they happen by random chance are not meaningfully different once we have the power to design our children, ergo they are the same thing.
With great power comes great responsibility.