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How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?

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JMobius JMobius's picture
How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
I'm sure this issue has come up for a lot of GMs. I've got a player with a cornucopia machine, with some grand ambitions, and I'd like to discuss the proper in-setting rationale for why anyone with these devices hasn't assembled a personal utopia. He's opted to take advantage of the rather powerful 60x time multiplier in simulspace to do blueprint design, and is consequently able to churn out even Expensive level blueprints in under a real time day in any area he has relevant design skills. This right away seems rather problematic, because it really cheapens the whole problem of limited blueprint availability, but I can't really come up with any mechanical or in-game obstacle to this. I'm not doing anything about it at this time, except for requiring a simulspace subscription and access to the larger mesh to use it. Secondly, he seems to believe that he can use the DCM to manufacture anything he has blueprints for at no cost. This one definitely sounds wrong to me, as I don't think nanofabrication is supposed to be able to turn anything into anything. Special input materials will be called for oftentimes, so the solution I'm thinking of is requiring input materials one cost category lower than the item itself. Still, this is a rather powerful ability -- in particular he wants to be able to manufacture a variety of synthmorphs for his use. I'm still not sure if I'm happy with it. How have other GMs handled this issue?
Iv Iv's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Be lucky he did not begin to build cornucopia machines out of cornucopia machines yet. The rules themselves have this hole that any SF fan spots easily : it opens possibilities with nanofab that are not taken into account in the universe. If you follow the rules, the cheapest way to anything is to buy a CM and nothing else, and download open source blueprints. One could also take a CM, solar panels, go to a random asteroid and begin producing more solar panels and CM in an exponential growth, while digging a hab for himself. Depending on what you want to do in your game, you could let your players do that or impose restrictions on what CMs can do. I limited them to building non-precise basic items : no high-end electronics, no nano. I'll let them build ammo, food, drugs, but no implant, synthmorph, etc... For this, one needs bigger installations.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
I think the specific building material issue is important. Weapons are said to use nuclear batteries: you need the right radionuclides for that and likely a reactor to charge them (I assume they use nuclear isomers, so at least you need hafnium and tantalum - there is about one tantalum atom for every ten million silicon atoms, and hafnium is about as rare). The same is true for a lot of other devices: semiconductors need dopants, nanoassemblers need various exotic atoms for their tools, rare earths are needed for lasers and railgun magnets and who knows what is needed for antimatter or metallic hydrogen confinement. Take an asteroid and start turning it into solar collectors and you suddenly get error messages that the thulium stores are running low. Where the heck do you get thulium at this hour? More rules-wise, I think the engineering system needs beefing up. A single design roll is probably making it too simple, even if we assume helper AI and lots of open source blueprints for parts. Making a microwave oven, a space shuttle or nanocomputer does require a pretty deep understanding of their principles and getting *lots* of subsystems to work together. Engineering in EP should be perhaps an order of magnitude faster than now since there are such amazing support systems, but unless one thinks it only takes one man-year to make a space shuttle it cannot be done in a day. One man-year is around 2000 hours; with 60 times speedup and a factor of ten thanks to AI support that is ~4 days; the space shuttle is said to have taken 22,000 man-years to develop, so that is ~220 years for a single person to do. An air traffic control system is 1600 man-years, taking 18 years to do (similar numbers for other big software projects). He better fork a lot! Besides this there are the problems of complexity I brought up in the technology forum: you might be able to throw together stuff rapidly, but unless you want to spend more time testing your product will be filled with bugs. Anything involving biology also gets slowed down even more because you need to test things on biological timescales. Expensive blueprints are expensive because they take significant resources even in EP to make - they likely involve millions of man-years, done by hypercorps having massive armies of forked experts in simulspaces and virtual and real testing in all sorts of environments done according to very clever test methods. Most of this cost is likely handling the complexity rather than fundamental research.
Extropian
Bloodwork Bloodwork's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
First I would ask: what is the character [i]meant[/i] to be doing? If working for firewall, have your missions take place far away from his manufacturing plant. Keep him too busy to spend his time making all this stuff. Otherwise, take a lighter to your next game session and set fire to his character sheet.
That which doesn't kill you usually succeeds on the second attempt.
TBRMInsanity TBRMInsanity's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
I would like to point out that you can't make something from nothing (matter can not be created or destroyed, only rearranged) and this also applies to CM. In fact you need a special stock material (of greater quantity then the finished item) to create anything in a CM (along with the blueprints (open source or not)). Make the stock material harder to get in your game so you player is always having to beg/borrow/steal stock material to make anything in his CM. Also I would limit the potency of open source blueprints. Most open source blueprints would be for items that are needed by outer system habitats and as such wouldn't be the more "expensive" stuff you find with commercial blueprints offered by the inner system.
Jovian Motto: Your mind is original. Preserve it. Your body is a temple. Maintain it. Immortality is an illusion. Forget it.
pyrotechnomimus pyrotechnomimus's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
As the GM I would simply say that a Simulspace environment is not conducive to task actions in anything but real time. Using Simulspace for such an action would be like hacking in Simulspace to make hacking take less time. It is purposefully used to circumvent the rules. And since this stuff is mostly left up to GM discretion, I'd say that Task Actions of any kind can't be performed faster in Simulspace than in real-space, seeing as they don't even list blueprints or other task actions as things people do in simulspace. Then you get some of the blueprint game balance back involved. It's gonna take the person a long time to make an expensive blueprint. I'd also say that NanoFabrication simply allowed for someone to make something on the cheap end of their price category. So instead of an expensive item costing 20k, it costs 10k to make. High is only 1500, etc. They are now inputting a good chunk of time to cut costs significantly. To build their synthmorph: They need to build a blueprint for the base model, then each piece they want modded, then they have to have hardware: robotics to piecemail it all together (also all taking time), and finally that means they also have to have a shop and/or facility to assemble everything. Keep in mind we have access to desktop CMs not the giant wall ones. So, we'd have to make things in small sized pieces. For an average height synth, as a GM I'd say that's about 20 pieces. An expensive synthmorph: 5 weeks for the blueprint. 10 days to create all the pieces, and then a hardware: robotics test to put it all together and I'd say at least another 8 hours of work. So, 46 days of work to build it. And then it'd cost on the low end. Or, for more mediation you can say half cost. So a 70k morph would be 35k worth of raw materials. After all these prices are already assuming nanofabricators are the main manufacturing tools. So between energy, maintenance, etc, it is easy to conceive of these costs. If they want to scrounge for non-living materials, I'd make it a base success and for every hour spent scrounging they get an equivalent of 1k worth of raw materials. That's what I'd do as a GM. Makes making a horde of synthmorphs not as much fun. Now, after they make the one blueprint they only need to spend the 11 days piecemailing it together and the money, but still. And this is a base model synthmorph. For EVERY piece of gear they'll need a blueprint. So if they want that synthmorph with pneumatic legs, they'll need another blueprint for the legs, build those, and then put it all together again.
TBRMInsanity TBRMInsanity's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
pyrotechnomimus wrote:
As the GM I would simply say that a Simulspace environment is not conducive to task actions in anything but real time. Using Simulspace for such an action would be like hacking in Simulspace to make hacking take less time. It is purposefully used to circumvent the rules. And since this stuff is mostly left up to GM discretion, I'd say that Task Actions of any kind can't be performed faster in Simulspace than in real-space, seeing as they don't even list blueprints or other task actions as things people do in simulspace. Then you get some of the blueprint game balance back involved. It's gonna take the person a long time to make an expensive blueprint. I'd also say that NanoFabrication simply allowed for someone to make something on the cheap end of their price category. So instead of an expensive item costing 20k, it costs 10k to make. High is only 1500, etc. They are now inputting a good chunk of time to cut costs significantly. To build their synthmorph: They need to build a blueprint for the base model, then each piece they want modded, then they have to have hardware: robotics to piecemail it all together (also all taking time), and finally that means they also have to have a shop and/or facility to assemble everything. Keep in mind we have access to desktop CMs not the giant wall ones. So, we'd have to make things in small sized pieces. For an average height synth, as a GM I'd say that's about 20 pieces. An expensive synthmorph: 5 weeks for the blueprint. 10 days to create all the pieces, and then a hardware: robotics test to put it all together and I'd say at least another 8 hours of work. So, 46 days of work to build it. And then it'd cost on the low end. Or, for more mediation you can say half cost. So a 70k morph would be 35k worth of raw materials. After all these prices are already assuming nanofabricators are the main manufacturing tools. So between energy, maintenance, etc, it is easy to conceive of these costs. If they want to scrounge for non-living materials, I'd make it a base success and for every hour spent scrounging they get an equivalent of 1k worth of raw materials. That's what I'd do as a GM. Makes making a horde of synthmorphs not as much fun. Now, after they make the one blueprint they only need to spend the 11 days piecemailing it together and the money, but still. And this is a base model synthmorph. For EVERY piece of gear they'll need a blueprint. So if they want that synthmorph with pneumatic legs, they'll need another blueprint for the legs, build those, and then put it all together again.
That is some good GM Munchkin killing if I ever saw it. I like it! :D
Jovian Motto: Your mind is original. Preserve it. Your body is a temple. Maintain it. Immortality is an illusion. Forget it.
The Doctor The Doctor's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
JMobius wrote:
He's opted to take advantage of the rather powerful 60x time multiplier in simulspace to do blueprint design, and is consequently able to churn out even Expensive level blueprints in under a real time day in any area he has relevant design skills. This right away seems rather problematic, because it really cheapens the whole problem of limited blueprint availability, but I can't really come up with any mechanical or in-game obstacle to this. I'm not doing anything about it at this time, except for requiring a simulspace subscription and access to the larger mesh to use it.
If his ego is running at sixty times faster than normal, I would think that would call for a stress check. Even a transhuman mind is going to have problems with overclocking - for starters, the mental algorithms which organize, collate, and retrieve short term memory data are going to start having problems with how the data is accumulating.
JMobius wrote:
Secondly, he seems to believe that he can use the DCM to manufacture anything he has blueprints for at no cost. This one definitely sounds wrong to me, as I don't think nanofabrication is supposed to be able to turn anything into anything. Special input materials will be called for oftentimes, so the solution I'm thinking of is requiring input materials one cost category lower than the item itself.
This seems reasonable to me. Plus, it takes time for cornucopia machines to break down matter into feedstock, organize it, sort the elements and package them for use later, cool down because the heat generated causes glitches, and things like that. Plus, not all matter turned into feedstock has the same elements in it. Case in point, a fork vs. a hamster. Also, remember that nanotech cannot create new elements (hydrogen into helium), it can only work with the base matter feedstock it has already.
tathel tathel's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
I thought about this issue first run through reading the rules but figured in essence it wasn't a huge problem. Unless he is inventing new tech, which i'd say as a GM you can limit because any given person with 4 lifetimes could not necessarily invent something like a fission based engine. If he's just inventing versions of stuff in the core book and producing a lot of them this is the way society works I would think. The inner system tries to control it through restriction, the outer system doesn't bother. In the end what is having 20 different guns going to do for him in an adventure aside from bog his movement down potentially. If he is inventing anything truly powerful like a small nuke or something well most habitats will not let him in or detect the weapon somewhere and proceed in an appropriate way. From a role-playing stand point there is a problem because if his character can make anything he wants what's the point in doing anything for others but maybe that's the end of his character arch. A variety of synthmorphs would bring with it the issues that come along with switching bodies, it's not a day at the ballpark and their are rules that deter this behavior. It is also implied that the resources that go into creating morphs are not as simple as recycling waste into food... but if he's managed to get his hands on an appropriate sized machine and the resources i'd say let him but don't necessarily give him the down time to switch mid adventure, or perhaps have an enemy exploit his many forms at some point. Use it as a plot device.
Tick Tock goes the clock, but time is standing still
Bloodwork Bloodwork's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
I've got a player who wants to have a CM the size of a fabber. He theorises the fabber can only makes specific types of objects due to built in programming restrictions which he wants to remove. Presto, more portable CM.
That which doesn't kill you usually succeeds on the second attempt.
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
I think some people have already put it well: the biggest problem that GMs have with handling nanofabrication devices is a lack of understanding on how they are supposed to operate. Cornucopia machines are not magical devices. This means that they run on scientific principles, and two major ones that will act as a munchkin roadblock are thus: [list][*]Law of Conservation: This isn't a common mistake, but it's something that should definitely be addressed. Mass and energy are never created or destroyed. They change form. In this regard, Nanofabricators need materials and energy to produce. Like any machine (or pretty much anything, for that matter), they cannot move of their own accord without some power source to animate them. More importantly, they need materials to work with. [*]Scale of Operation: Far too often do I see this mistake. Fabricators work on the nanoscopic scale, and nothing short of TITAN-technology can work below that. As such, they may manipulate molecules and atoms, but cannot manipulate on the subatomic level. This means that it cannot take one type of matter and convert it to a wholly different form (oxygen to gold, or crap to titanium). It can, however, work with molecular mixtures; there is nothing wrong with allowing your players to use iron deposits and coal to produce steel (which is merely a mix of the two). [*]Production of Function: This is the rarest mistake, but clarifying this will help some people that might be confused. While the objects that Cornucopia machines can produce is quite vast, the end result will always be an inert object. You simply cannot create a machine that is in mid-function, already operating as it is being built. Everything needs to be turned on after its been fabricated. Why is this key? If any of your players ask about creating biomorphs in their Cornucopia machine, make sure they know that they'll essentially have a corpse factory.[/list] So long as you hold your players to these limitations, your game will be fine. Any munchkin'd Cornucopia plans will falter when materials or energy simply run out, and he has no means to make anything, anymore. Fabricators are essentially very advanced printers... and you still need the ink, paper and power source to make a final product.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
TBRMInsanity TBRMInsanity's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Decivre wrote:
I think some people have already put it well: the biggest problem that GMs have with handling nanofabrication devices is a lack of understanding on how they are supposed to operate. Cornucopia machines are not magical devices. This means that they run on scientific principles, and two major ones that will act as a munchkin roadblock are thus: [list][*]Law of Conservation: This isn't a common mistake, but it's something that should definitely be addressed. Mass and energy are never created or destroyed. They change form. In this regard, Nanofabricators need materials and energy to produce. Like any machine (or pretty much anything, for that matter), they cannot move of their own accord without some power source to animate them. More importantly, they need materials to work with. [*]Scale of Operation: Far too often do I see this mistake. Fabricators work on the nanoscopic scale, and nothing short of TITAN-technology can work below that. As such, they may manipulate molecules and atoms, but cannot manipulate on the subatomic level. This means that it cannot take one type of matter and convert it to a wholly different form (oxygen to gold, or crap to titanium). It can, however, work with molecular mixtures; there is nothing wrong with allowing your players to use iron deposits and coal to produce steel (which is merely a mix of the two). [*]Production of Function: This is the rarest mistake, but clarifying this will help some people that might be confused. While the objects that Cornucopia machines can produce is quite vast, the end result will always be an inert object. You simply cannot create a machine that is in mid-function, already operating as it is being built. Everything needs to be turned on after its been fabricated. Why is this key? If any of your players ask about creating biomorphs in their Cornucopia machine, make sure they know that they'll essentially have a corpse factory.[/list] So long as you hold your players to these limitations, your game will be fine. Any munchkin'd Cornucopia plans will falter when materials or energy simply run out, and he has no means to make anything, anymore. Fabricators are essentially very advanced printers... and you still need the ink, paper and power source to make a final product.
Couldn't have put it better myself. So while you can create synthmorphs with a CM, you would still need to sleeve the morphs afterwards, and follow RAW (Rules as Written) for sleeving times and so forth. On a side note: can a CM assemble an object (ie create the parts for a gun and then put it together) or will "some assembly required" always apply?
Jovian Motto: Your mind is original. Preserve it. Your body is a temple. Maintain it. Immortality is an illusion. Forget it.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
TBRMInsanity wrote:
On a side note: can a CM assemble an object (ie create the parts for a gun and then put it together) or will "some assembly required" always apply?
I would think it is a bit like current 3D printers: there is usually a bit of padding gunk keeping everything in place left from the manufacturing process that has to be removed by hand (no doubt adding to the "newly minted" smell and feel of the object). This step also allows the object to "bond" to its new owner. But a clever blueprint might include tricks that make the padding very easy to remove (pull the blue tab to initialize), self-remove (the nanogunk just slithers away) or able to dissolve in contact with the air.
Extropian
TBRMInsanity TBRMInsanity's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Arenamontanus wrote:
I would think it is a bit like current 3D printers: there is usually a bit of padding gunk keeping everything in place left from the manufacturing process that has to be removed by hand (no doubt adding to the "newly minted" smell and feel of the object). This step also allows the object to "bond" to its new owner. But a clever blueprint might include tricks that make the padding very easy to remove (pull the blue tab to initialize), self-remove (the nanogunk just slithers away) or able to dissolve in contact with the air.
Like that stupid plastic tab between the battery and cheep electronics?
Jovian Motto: Your mind is original. Preserve it. Your body is a temple. Maintain it. Immortality is an illusion. Forget it.
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
TBRMInsanity wrote:
Decivre wrote:
I think some people have already put it well: the biggest problem that GMs have with handling nanofabrication devices is a lack of understanding on how they are supposed to operate. Cornucopia machines are not magical devices. This means that they run on scientific principles, and two major ones that will act as a munchkin roadblock are thus: [list][*]Law of Conservation: This isn't a common mistake, but it's something that should definitely be addressed. Mass and energy are never created or destroyed. They change form. In this regard, Nanofabricators need materials and energy to produce. Like any machine (or pretty much anything, for that matter), they cannot move of their own accord without some power source to animate them. More importantly, they need materials to work with. [*]Scale of Operation: Far too often do I see this mistake. Fabricators work on the nanoscopic scale, and nothing short of TITAN-technology can work below that. As such, they may manipulate molecules and atoms, but cannot manipulate on the subatomic level. This means that it cannot take one type of matter and convert it to a wholly different form (oxygen to gold, or crap to titanium). It can, however, work with molecular mixtures; there is nothing wrong with allowing your players to use iron deposits and coal to produce steel (which is merely a mix of the two). [*]Production of Function: This is the rarest mistake, but clarifying this will help some people that might be confused. While the objects that Cornucopia machines can produce is quite vast, the end result will always be an inert object. You simply cannot create a machine that is in mid-function, already operating as it is being built. Everything needs to be turned on after its been fabricated. Why is this key? If any of your players ask about creating biomorphs in their Cornucopia machine, make sure they know that they'll essentially have a corpse factory.[/list] So long as you hold your players to these limitations, your game will be fine. Any munchkin'd Cornucopia plans will falter when materials or energy simply run out, and he has no means to make anything, anymore. Fabricators are essentially very advanced printers... and you still need the ink, paper and power source to make a final product.
Couldn't have put it better myself. So while you can create synthmorphs with a CM, you would still need to sleeve the morphs afterwards, and follow RAW (Rules as Written) for sleeving times and so forth. On a side note: can a CM assemble an object (ie create the parts for a gun and then put it together) or will "some assembly required" always apply?
Oh yeah, it can put it together. Remember that nanofabricators are thousands upon thousands of times more advanced than modern fabricators. Not only are they capable of manufacturing an object out of raw materials, but the nanobots that make up the manufacturing process are fully capable of manipulating and assembling those parts as they are created. If it makes more sense, think of a nanofabricator as containing a workshop full of millions of nanoscopic robots that float through the air, disassemble materials and reassemble them into a new object.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
descrii descrii's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
I'd like to add just a couple minor thoughts to this well-developed discussion. First, why not assume that the 60x time multiplier in simulspace is already factored into the time required to make blueprints? Because, you know, honestly, who's not using that? Who would bother doing anything mental in real time? As a caveat to this, I've decided that in my game the 60x limit is not a computing limit, but a limitation of the human mind (remember that infomorphs and synthmorphs run on brain-templates that replicate the functions of human minds, so they're bound by most of the limitations of a meat mind). So at 60x time you're at the very limit of what's understandable to you. You know when you're really drunk and your reactions are super slow and you have trouble understanding things like stairs? That's what you're like at 60x time dilation. At 30x you're still slow and it takes you what seems like a moment to recognize what's happening around you when it starts happening. You'd never be able to catch a mug falling off your desk or play whack-a-mole at 30x time dilation. Well, you could, by having the computer slow the mugs and moles down, but then you're not really running at 30x time dilation, are you? 30x might be a common speed for people working individually on rush projects. 15x (in my game) is a comfortable level of dilation and it's where most people would work, especially if they have to work in teams, so your 8 hour workday takes about 30 minutes. Time constriction (slowing time down) would have the opposite effect, making you feel cleverer and quicker than you really are, but the computer running the simulspace can just speed everything else up to compensate. Typically the point of time constriction is to slow down your mind so that long waiting periods, as for space travel, seem shorter. As for the fabrication limits, I agree with the folks who have said you should make certain materials needed for the fabrication of complex items like synthmorphs rare and obtainable only through cash, reputation, or resource gathering missions.
TBRMInsanity TBRMInsanity's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
This is a bit of a side note but, technically a CM could only produce a smaller CM as the assembled product needs to fit inside the CM. Larger CMs can only be produced as parts that are assembled by a technician later on. This would also add an additional restriction to the spread of CM everywhere (if the building materials were readily available, which they shouldn't be).
Jovian Motto: Your mind is original. Preserve it. Your body is a temple. Maintain it. Immortality is an illusion. Forget it.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Actually, if the CM is a rectangular box it can make an equal-sized machine. Imagine a machine with the proportions 1x4x9 (the Monolith(tm)), where the 4x9 side is the working surface. It could start building another monolith with the 1x4 side fitting easily inside the working surface and being slowly extruded. Of course, this assumes the CM doesn't need a perfectly enclosed environment. Even if it does it could manufacture a "tent" that extends around the new CM, keeping the dirty outside world away until it is finished.
Extropian
TBRMInsanity TBRMInsanity's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Arenamontanus wrote:
Actually, if the CM is a rectangular box it can make an equal-sized machine. Imagine a machine with the proportions 1x4x9 (the Monolith(tm)), where the 4x9 side is the working surface. It could start building another monolith with the 1x4 side fitting easily inside the working surface and being slowly extruded. Of course, this assumes the CM doesn't need a perfectly enclosed environment. Even if it does it could manufacture a "tent" that extends around the new CM, keeping the dirty outside world away until it is finished.
This is assuming that the end product can be constructed from top to bottom. I'm not sure that it is still possible. Like a car, or a computer tower today, you have to build from the frame out and that means you would need to move the device back and forward through the CM until all the construction and assembly was complete. I'm not sure if this is possible or not.
Jovian Motto: Your mind is original. Preserve it. Your body is a temple. Maintain it. Immortality is an illusion. Forget it.
jackgraham jackgraham's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Let him build whatever he wants. It won't matter when a swarm of TITAN nanobots eat his expensive synth morphs, a basilisk hack causes his biomorphs to poo themselves to death, the exovirus eats his backups, and an assortment of mindbending horrors arrive on the scene to finish the job by driving him irreparably insane. There are some really excellent comments in this thread, but the following point remains the crux of the issue in my mind: Firewall agents are going up against alien horrors capable of trumping just about any human technology. The threat will scale to fit whatever H+ throws against it. In fact, having a fleet of spaceships, a private hab, and nine zillion morphs just makes you more of a target.
J A C K   G R A H A M :: Hooray for Earth!   http://eclipsephase.com :: twitter @jackgraham @faketsr :: Google+Jack Graham
TBRMInsanity TBRMInsanity's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
jackgraham wrote:
Let him build whatever he wants. It won't matter when a swarm of TITAN nanobots eat his expensive synth morphs, a basilisk hack causes his biomorphs to poo themselves to death, the exovirus eats his backups, and an assortment of mindbending horrors arrive on the scene to finish the job by driving him irreparably insane. There are some really excellent comments in this thread, but the following point remains the crux of the issue in my mind: Firewall agents are going up against alien horrors capable of trumping just about any human technology. The threat will scale to fit whatever H+ throws against it. In fact, having a fleet of spaceships, a private hab, and nine zillion morphs just makes you more of a target.
In some of my other games I always had the seagulls of death (seagulls that had PC seeking killer craps that I used when a PC was really pissing me off). The thing I love the most about EP is that I can just have a TITAN horror show up instead and still get the message across.
Jovian Motto: Your mind is original. Preserve it. Your body is a temple. Maintain it. Immortality is an illusion. Forget it.
descrii descrii's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
jackgraham wrote:
Let him build whatever he wants. It won't matter when a swarm of TITAN nanobots eat his expensive synth morphs, a basilisk hack causes his biomorphs to poo themselves to death, the exovirus eats his backups, and an assortment of mindbending horrors arrive on the scene to finish the job by driving him irreparably insane.
That's all true, but I don't always want to run a story about a handful of scrappy technicians and their army of forked egos in reaper morphs being destroyed by the unbeatable TITAN stuff. In fact, sometimes I don't even want to tell a TITAN story, but I recognize then I've gone somewhat off the page. If you swat the players with heavy gear you'll train the players to come heavy every time, and then you're stuck in a rut. If you want to keep the conflict in your story at a human level, find a satisfying way to nudge your player away from the power grab and back into the story.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
The best part is when the player looks at you and whines "But why are you punishing me like this?" And you respond: "What firewalls did you say you put into your system?" The in-game reason TITANs show up is of course that very likely the player has been so intent on getting maximal output that they forgot to put in adequate security. After all, most people take it for granted that they, their habitats and their equipment is safe. But behind the scenes the security experts are fighting an ongoing battle against the digital worms that never sleep. As I argued in my technological complexity post, most player systems will - unless carefully researched and tested - be crammed with exploitable bugs. So when somebody builds a lot of badly secured infrastructure rapidly it is like opening your door and shouting: "I have a lot of expensive stuff and food in here!"
Extropian
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
jackgraham wrote:
Let him build whatever he wants. It won't matter when a swarm of TITAN nanobots eat his expensive synth morphs, a basilisk hack causes his biomorphs to poo themselves to death, the exovirus eats his backups, and an assortment of mindbending horrors arrive on the scene to finish the job by driving him irreparably insane. There are some really excellent comments in this thread, but the following point remains the crux of the issue in my mind: Firewall agents are going up against alien horrors capable of trumping just about any human technology. The threat will scale to fit whatever H+ throws against it. In fact, having a fleet of spaceships, a private hab, and nine zillion morphs just makes you more of a target.
Not everyone is going to be a member of Firewall while playing EP. It may be the base story concept that the game was designed around, but there will be people who would rather be Xenoarcheologists, soldiers, or even the EP equivalent of Shadowrunners in the setting. Not all all players or GMs will be running games where players are going against such monstrous horrors. Besides, going beyond that, the horrors of the Eclipse Phase setting will have a significantly easier time being a threat to a small group of Firewall agents who are equipped to a restrictive degree than they would facing... oh... say a legion of forks armed with the most advanced morphs, antimatter weaponry and a sub-fleet of warships that were built because the GM didn't know how to reign in his players' use of nanofabrication. The Fall occurred because mankind was caught unawares, and Earth remains in TITAN hands (tendrils?) because mankind has yet to recover its numbers and resources... it's not simply a technology gap. Abuse of nanofabrication combined with GM ignorance on the subject goes a long way to closing the gap that makes the TITANs so unassailable.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Quote:
The Fall occurred because mankind was caught unawares, and Earth remains in TITAN hands (tendrils?) because mankind has yet to recover its numbers and resources... it's not simply a technology gap. Abuse of nanofabrication combined with GM ignorance on the subject goes a long way to closing the gap that makes the TITANs so unassailable.
I disagree. TITANs are not dangerous because they have ultratech. They are dangerous because they are unknowable and smart. Consider a pack of dogs and a human. The human might dominate them because he has a stick that can make a bang that kills dogs, but he can also open, close and lock doors. He can bribe them with heavenly food that could contains something that kills them or makes them fall asleep. He can pick up a seemingly innocuous plastic device, make a few noises and suddenly there are more humans around with equipment intended to manage dogs. He might even befriend one or more of them and turn into the pack alpha-male. Even a little TITAN godling is like this. It is subtle, transhumans can't figure out what it knows or want, and it has a large number of unexpected tools in its tool kit. It can even improvise new ones depending on situation. Sending an army against a TITAN might work (just as a pack of dogs can bring down an adult), but it could also turn into a rout as the TITAN uses an (obvious to it) back-door to subvert all the killbots to work for it instead. Yes, you blew up the weird command nexus but that just lofted a big cloud of nanospores into the air, and now they are beaming basilisk hacks into the Mesh. Meanwhile the commander's muse has been subtly hacked and his orders are starting to diverge from reality. And why are the scientists talking so excitedly about those gravity wave pulses? Meanwhile the *real* attack is occurring somewhere else. A certain politician will get a promotion for speaking out early against this whole debacle. He happens to have a little virus lodged in his cortex, giving him certain ideas... That people are aware of TITANs and other nastiness helps a great deal to save the world. It is harder to hack a computer whose owner is trying to secure it than an unsecured computer. But as any computer security person knows, it is enough to have a single flaw in the protection to be vulnerable. If you expect the TITANs to come knocking you will likely defeat their obvious, known weapons. Don't look at the basilisk hacks, EMP those nanofogs, plasma those killbots. But the TITAN is also going to be a good strategist and is bound to produce a few total surprises. Sometimes that is not enough, but it is better not to be overconfident about it. After all, what really led to the Fall was overconfidence.
Extropian
jackgraham jackgraham's picture
Re: How to put the brakes on excessive nano-fabrication?
Agreed on the point about the need to keep things human-scaled in certain types of campaigns. You can't always have the TITANs show up to swat a player who's out to nanofab a robot army. Adding to the comments on how to slow such players down, it's also worth pointing out that just because you can afford a ton of feedstock for your cornucopia machine (I think the cost of feedstock is Trivial for most items) doesn't mean it's available. For the sake of playability, the rules in Core assume characters printing stuff for personal use, not on an industrial scale. There's a limit to how much raw material is available on a given habitat; that's one reason neotenic morphs exist in the first place. So you're always free to tell a player no on those grounds. There are also other forces in the game world that will take negative notice of out of control nanofabbing. In the Inner System, it's simply illegal in some places. In the Outer System, local anarchist councils are likely to get nervous about heavily armed neighbors and might demand an explanation of what the PCs need so many guns for; the Titanian government is likely to react the same way in the environs of Saturn. Anywhere you go, pirates and criminals are apt to target large concentrations of wealth. Ideally, the potential repercussions of this should be pointed out to PCs -before- they start amassing a warehouse full of reaper morphs. The other problem with having a fleet of morphs is hackers. Keeping an eye on one or two morphs and accompanying weapon systems isn't too hard, but if you have thirty of them and a Guanxi hacker decides they want to make some of them fly off, it's harder to stop. Point out that managing Infosec for a huge automated force would be a serious challenge for a small group. Also, if they're using forks to run all this gear, the GM is always free to take control of a fork away from a player. If it's a short-duration (4 hours or less) fork, you probably shouldn't do this. But if the forks are allowed to run on their own for a long time, they diverge, and it's totally reasonable to remove them from player control.
J A C K   G R A H A M :: Hooray for Earth!   http://eclipsephase.com :: twitter @jackgraham @faketsr :: Google+Jack Graham
nick012000 nick012000's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Decivre wrote:
[list][*]Production of Function: This is the rarest mistake, but clarifying this will help some people that might be confused. While the objects that Cornucopia machines can produce is quite vast, the end result will always be an inert object. You simply cannot create a machine that is in mid-function, already operating as it is being built. Everything needs to be turned on after its been fabricated. Why is this key? If any of your players ask about creating biomorphs in their Cornucopia machine, make sure they know that they'll essentially have a corpse factory.[/list]
Eclipse Phase has cryogenic stasis, doesn't it? There's no reason that they have to be alive while you're printing them off. You just need to keep the temperatures down until they're done, and then defrost them with the medical equipment you fabbed first. Also, I'd say that Cornucopia machines wouldn't need to assemble anything since nothing would need to be assembled. You're building your device by layering each layer of molecules on top of each other; once it's done, it's done.

+1 r-Rep , +1 @-rep

Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
nick012000 wrote:
Eclipse Phase has cryogenic stasis, doesn't it? There's no reason that they have to be alive while you're printing them off. You just need to keep the temperatures down until they're done, and then defrost them with the medical equipment you fabbed first. Also, I'd say that Cornucopia machines wouldn't need to assemble anything since nothing would need to be assembled. You're building your device by layering each layer of molecules on top of each other; once it's done, it's done.
Actually, cryogenic stasis only works on a living subject. The principle behind it is that you can freeze the person BEFORE cell death occurs, preventing it. Cornucopia machines would produce DEAD CELLS. You can't prevent something that has technically already happened. Nanofabricated cells are dead as they are fabricated.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Arenamontanus wrote:
I disagree. TITANs are not dangerous because they have ultratech. They are dangerous because they are unknowable and smart. Consider a pack of dogs and a human. The human might dominate them because he has a stick that can make a bang that kills dogs, but he can also open, close and lock doors. He can bribe them with heavenly food that could contains something that kills them or makes them fall asleep. He can pick up a seemingly innocuous plastic device, make a few noises and suddenly there are more humans around with equipment intended to manage dogs. He might even befriend one or more of them and turn into the pack alpha-male. Even a little TITAN godling is like this. It is subtle, transhumans can't figure out what it knows or want, and it has a large number of unexpected tools in its tool kit. It can even improvise new ones depending on situation. Sending an army against a TITAN might work (just as a pack of dogs can bring down an adult), but it could also turn into a rout as the TITAN uses an (obvious to it) back-door to subvert all the killbots to work for it instead. Yes, you blew up the weird command nexus but that just lofted a big cloud of nanospores into the air, and now they are beaming basilisk hacks into the Mesh. Meanwhile the commander's muse has been subtly hacked and his orders are starting to diverge from reality. And why are the scientists talking so excitedly about those gravity wave pulses? Meanwhile the *real* attack is occurring somewhere else. A certain politician will get a promotion for speaking out early against this whole debacle. He happens to have a little virus lodged in his cortex, giving him certain ideas... That people are aware of TITANs and other nastiness helps a great deal to save the world. It is harder to hack a computer whose owner is trying to secure it than an unsecured computer. But as any computer security person knows, it is enough to have a single flaw in the protection to be vulnerable. If you expect the TITANs to come knocking you will likely defeat their obvious, known weapons. Don't look at the basilisk hacks, EMP those nanofogs, plasma those killbots. But the TITAN is also going to be a good strategist and is bound to produce a few total surprises. Sometimes that is not enough, but it is better not to be overconfident about it. After all, what really led to the Fall was overconfidence.
I wouldn't say "unknowable" as much as "unknown". The TITANs themselves are understood (to a degree; we did build them), but the Exurgent virus which has altered them is the actual X-Factor in the equation. All of the enhanced tech they have seems to be caused, mostly, by the Exurgent virus's influence. Moreover, this virus has only been in our presence for 10 years. Of course we know little about it or the tech behind it! That doesn't make it "unknowable", though. I think the core concept of the series is that the protagonists are meant to be the ones to break these mysteries. It's left to the players to find out how to stop/cure the TITANs, discover why the Iktomi disappeared, and save the Solar system from (more) imminent destruction. And as for the last part, I disagree. Overconfidence didn't lead to the fall. The Exurgent virus led to the fall. Hubris has nothing on godly ETI technology possessing the most powerful minds in the system, who also happen to run the planet's defense grid.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
TBRMInsanity TBRMInsanity's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
The only way you can create accelerated biomorphs is to create Futuras (ie the Lost Generation), and we all know how that turned out. The problem with biomorphs is that they need time to mature (taking around 18 years for flats, but this can be accelerated to around 10 years if advanced gene therapy is used). You would be better off vat growing pods and use those instead (just make sure you install an full cyber brain (that you used a CM to make) so the pod has transhuman level intelligence out of the gate).
Jovian Motto: Your mind is original. Preserve it. Your body is a temple. Maintain it. Immortality is an illusion. Forget it.
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
TBRMInsanity wrote:
The only way you can create accelerated biomorphs is to create Futuras (ie the Lost Generation), and we all know how that turned out. The problem with biomorphs is that they need time to mature (taking around 18 years for flats, but this can be accelerated to around 10 years if advanced gene therapy is used). You would be better off vat growing pods and use those instead (just make sure you install an full cyber brain (that you used a CM to make) so the pod has transhuman level intelligence out of the gate).
Futuras grow at the same rate as other morphs (at least 1½ years, page 276), and the morphs are actually fine (pods only take 6 months). The problem with the Lost Generation is not the morphs, but the egos. THEY were the ones who were affected by the acceleration process, not their morphs. The only reason their morphs get such a bad rap is because everyone sees one and immediately thinks "Oh shit! He's one of the lost!!!"
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Decivre wrote:
Actually, cryogenic stasis only works on a living subject. The principle behind it is that you can freeze the person BEFORE cell death occurs, preventing it. Cornucopia machines would produce DEAD CELLS. You can't prevent something that has technically already happened. Nanofabricated cells are dead as they are fabricated.
Vitalism is dead. There is no difference between a frozen cell that was alive before being frozen and a frozen cell that was built by a low-temperature CM. If one can be thawed up and live then the other can too. In practice there are lots of messy issues here: real cryonics happens under less-than-ideal conditions and a lot of cells get a harsh treatment (revival requires plenty of medichines or more likely a healing vat). Building an entire organism by nanoassembling it cell by cell would take a very complex blueprint most likely made either by *carefully* disassembling a frozen organism or some ultra-complex tissue modelling. Worse, when you develop the blueprint you need to test it, and this requires running complete biology simulations - sloooow even in fasttime simspaces. It might be much more efficient to use an organ printer (yup, they exist) that puts cultured cells into a scaffold where nanostructures makes them connect the right way during further culturing.
Extropian
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Of course, it is your take on the game so you can decide it your way. Here is my take.
Quote:
I wouldn't say "unknowable" as much as "unknown". The TITANs themselves are understood (to a degree; we did build them), but the Exurgent virus which has altered them is the actual X-Factor in the equation.
I think this is problematic . Even trivial pieces of software have unknowable behaviours (my favourite example is a program running the 3n+1 conjecture - there are reasons to think it might be undecidable), and clearly intelligent, learning software is even harder to figure out. Superintelligent distributed software will be less knowable than that. The virus just makes things worse. There might be invariants that are unchanged as seed AGIs transcend and can still be relied on. But understanding these might tell us very little about the things we do care about. If you understand the biology of a human fertilized embryo you can make some predictions about what kind of an adult organism it is going to develop into, but you won't get much insight into its psychology or what political ideology it is going to come up with.
Quote:
I think the core concept of the series is that the protagonists are meant to be the ones to break these mysteries. It's left to the players to find out how to stop/cure the TITANs, discover why the Iktomi disappeared, and save the Solar system from (more) imminent destruction.
As I said, it is your game. But it sounds like you want to tilt the setting towards being "traditional" sf, where bold inquiry and adventure eventually restores the balance. The horror aspect of the game deals with fear of the unknown, fear of unseen forces, hints that doom may be inevitable and that rationality might be flawed. This tension can be quite interesting but it also makes for a tricky balance. Personally I like to keep my game darker by having the problems being more fundamental: the Fall was largely triggered by transhuman faults, the TITANs were dangerous in themselves, the virus might have saved transhumanity but is actually even worse (it is the answer to the Fermi paradox) and there are no neat solutions to any of these problems. So finding local solutions to survival become the focus.
Quote:
And as for the last part, I disagree. Overconfidence didn't lead to the fall. The Exurgent virus led to the fall. Hubris has nothing on godly ETI technology possessing the most powerful minds in the system, who also happen to run the planet's defense grid.
Hmm, sounds a bit overconfident to me. :-)
Extropian
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Arenamontanus wrote:
I think this is problematic . Even trivial pieces of software have unknowable behaviours (my favourite example is a program running the 3n+1 conjecture - there are reasons to think it might be undecidable), and clearly intelligent, learning software is even harder to figure out. Superintelligent distributed software will be less knowable than that. The virus just makes things worse. There might be invariants that are unchanged as seed AGIs transcend and can still be relied on. But understanding these might tell us very little about the things we do care about. If you understand the biology of a human fertilized embryo you can make some predictions about what kind of an adult organism it is going to develop into, but you won't get much insight into its psychology or what political ideology it is going to come up with.
For reference purposes, the Collatz conjecture is [b]unsolved[/b], not "unknowable" (potentially undecidable, but again is not the same thing). There is a massive difference between the two. Just because we haven't found the answer does not mean it is incapable of being found, or that we cannot at the very least understand it. As an example, we may never be able to find the last prime number (numbers being infinite and all that), but we fully understand the principle behind the concept that makes numbers prime. While I agree that there can be no further understanding on the TITANs from what we do have right now, that by no means makes the problem incapable of being solved. Capturing one, impossible as it may seem, would definitely go a long way to teaching us what we need to know about them. More to that end, if one of the Prometheans reach singularity, that would achieve a similar effect that we could potentially study by much safer means.
Arenamontanus wrote:
As I said, it is your game. But it sounds like you want to tilt the setting towards being "traditional" sf, where bold inquiry and adventure eventually restores the balance. The horror aspect of the game deals with fear of the unknown, fear of unseen forces, hints that doom may be inevitable and that rationality might be flawed. This tension can be quite interesting but it also makes for a tricky balance. Personally I like to keep my game darker by having the problems being more fundamental: the Fall was largely triggered by transhuman faults, the TITANs were dangerous in themselves, the virus might have saved transhumanity but is actually even worse (it is the answer to the Fermi paradox) and there are no neat solutions to any of these problems. So finding local solutions to survival become the focus.
Not just my game. Discovery and exploration is the core theme behind the Pandora gates. Unless you are implying that they were never meant to be used by PCs, I highly doubt that players are not expected to discover new things.
Arenamontanus wrote:
Hmm, sounds a bit overconfident to me. :-)
You tell me which is more likely to get you killed if it occurs: becoming overconfident, or your house's security system spontaneously manufacturing a nanobot swarm to assassinate you seemingly out of the blue. If it helps you figure out the answer, I did not die after typing that, and I was apparently overconfident in doing so. :D
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Arenamontanus wrote:
Vitalism is dead. There is no difference between a frozen cell that was alive before being frozen and a frozen cell that was built by a low-temperature CM. If one can be thawed up and live then the other can too. In practice there are lots of messy issues here: real cryonics happens under less-than-ideal conditions and a lot of cells get a harsh treatment (revival requires plenty of medichines or more likely a healing vat). Building an entire organism by nanoassembling it cell by cell would take a very complex blueprint most likely made either by *carefully* disassembling a frozen organism or some ultra-complex tissue modelling. Worse, when you develop the blueprint you need to test it, and this requires running complete biology simulations - sloooow even in fasttime simspaces. It might be much more efficient to use an organ printer (yup, they exist) that puts cultured cells into a scaffold where nanostructures makes them connect the right way during further culturing.
Cryostasis does not kill vitalism, it pauses it. The idea is to halt activity, and later reactivate it. A body created via nanomachines does not have activity to reactivate. Moreover, I saw no actual information in the books that detailed [i]successful[/i] cryorestoration, only that cryopreservation was still alive and kicking (I did say was... people used it as a last resort as a means of survival during the Fall, and I doubt it worked). Chances are that the EP usage of successful cryonics involves suspended animation, which is different in that the metabolism still runs, albeit at a far-reduced pace.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Decivre wrote:
Cryostasis does not kill vitalism, it pauses it.
Vitalism is the doctrine that the functions of a living organism are due to a vital principle distinct from biochemical reactions - some sort of "spark of life". Practically nobody in biology today believes it, and in EP it makes even less sense.
Decivre wrote:
The idea is to halt activity, and later reactivate it. A body created via nanomachines does not have activity to reactivate.
Why? Where does this ability to reactivate come from if not from the present molecular structures?
Quote:
Moreover, I saw no actual information in the books that detailed [i]successful[/i] cryorestoration, only that cryopreservation was still alive and kicking (I did say was... people used it as a last resort as a means of survival during the Fall, and I doubt it worked). Chances are that the EP usage of successful cryonics involves suspended animation, which is different in that the metabolism still runs, albeit at a far-reduced pace.
I think you are right about old cryopreservations - lots of freezing damage, and a real mess for medichines to fix. Newer cryopreservations might be much better, since you can insert a lot of protective nanodevices beforehand, perhaps even build an internal cooling grid to rapidly reduce temperatures and allow easy re-heating for revival. There are likely intermediate forms between cryonics and hibernation too, like cross-linking everything into something like plastination. I guess these methods are important too for storing biomorphs. Not everybody rents out their local body when they are out travelling. Keeping them on "ice" can be done by having them fully active, run by an AI (think the blank dolls of Dollhouse), stored in a life support vat, in hibernation or even frozen. Different benefits, different costs and drawbacks.
Extropian
TBRMInsanity TBRMInsanity's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Simple question, where in the rules does it say that a CM will even work at cryogenic temperatures. Wouldn't the feed stock freeze, making it impossible for the CM to work in the first place. Just vat grow the biomorphs and suck up the 1.5 year time requirement.
Jovian Motto: Your mind is original. Preserve it. Your body is a temple. Maintain it. Immortality is an illusion. Forget it.
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Arenamontanus wrote:
Vitalism is the doctrine that the functions of a living organism are due to a vital principle distinct from biochemical reactions - some sort of "spark of life". Practically nobody in biology today believes it, and in EP it makes even less sense.
Wait, why did you bring it up? What did it have to do with the conversation? If you acknowledge that a frozen dead cell and a frozen live cell are very much two different things, then why are we arguing?
Arenamontanus wrote:
Why? Where does this ability to reactivate come from if not from the present molecular structures?
Present submolecular activity would be a key factor. Remember that nanomachines cannot work on a submolecular level. Certain submolecular aspects of our anatomy, like bioelectricity, would not be able to be recreated with CMs, even at low temperatures.
Arenamontanus wrote:
I think you are right about old cryopreservations - lots of freezing damage, and a real mess for medichines to fix. Newer cryopreservations might be much better, since you can insert a lot of protective nanodevices beforehand, perhaps even build an internal cooling grid to rapidly reduce temperatures and allow easy re-heating for revival. There are likely intermediate forms between cryonics and hibernation too, like cross-linking everything into something like plastination. I guess these methods are important too for storing biomorphs. Not everybody rents out their local body when they are out travelling. Keeping them on "ice" can be done by having them fully active, run by an AI (think the blank dolls of Dollhouse), stored in a life support vat, in hibernation or even frozen. Different benefits, different costs and drawbacks.
The biggest problem with most preservation techniques is that we have no clue how to reverse the process. We literally do all of this under the assumption that a future generation will stumble across the means to run things backwards, and make everything right. That may not be the case in EP, and considering how easy it is to get a new body, it may not be financially feasible in the first place. I think its safe to say that the base assumption in the EP universe is that an inert body cannot be reanimated. Even in the case of the severed head example for the healing vat, it requires advanced nanotechnology (medichines or nanotech first aid) to stabilize the head and keep it alive to the limited degree it can. Dead is dead.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Decivre wrote:
For reference purposes, the Collatz conjecture is [b]unsolved[/b], not "unknowable" (potentially undecidable, but again is not the same thing). There is a massive difference between the two. Just because we haven't found the answer does not mean it is incapable of being found, or that we cannot at the very least understand it. As an example, we may never be able to find the last prime number (numbers being infinite and all that), but we fully understand the principle behind the concept that makes numbers prime.
My point was actually that a simple program like "define collatz(x): if (x==1) return 1; if (rem(x,2)==0) return(1+collatz(x/2)) else return(1+collatz(3*x+1))" behaves in an extremely unpredictable way despite being perfectly obvious. Similarly for primes: we know there is no last prime since Pythagoras, but determining which number is a prime is somewhat hard and we are really struggling with the Riemann hypothesis about their large scale distribution.
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While I agree that there can be no further understanding on the TITANs from what we do have right now, that by no means makes the problem incapable of being solved. Capturing one, impossible as it may seem, would definitely go a long way to teaching us what we need to know about them.
That is actually a very cool adventure seed. Firewall (or somebody else) have found out that a TITAN ended up frozen due to some other TITAN attack (or maybe it was the one running Iapetus). They send the players to collect it, and then transport the dangerous cargo to a really remote outpost for careful study. Meanwhile other fractions will want to stop this insanely dangerous project.
Quote:
Arenamontanus wrote:
Hmm, sounds a bit overconfident to me. :-)
You tell me which is more likely to get you killed if it occurs: becoming overconfident, or your house's security system spontaneously manufacturing a nanobot swarm to assassinate you seemingly out of the blue. If it helps you figure out the answer, I did not die after typing that, and I was apparently overconfident in doing so. :D
There is actually very strong data that people are usually deeply overconfident about their knowledge about the state of the world, the future and even what makes themselves happy. Expert judgement has been found to be very useless in many situations (see Philip Tetlock's book on the subject), group judgement can be very biased and unreliable (see Sunstein's book "Infotopia"). From what I have been able to see up close in political decision-making this has real-world bad effects. Especially when dealing with risk, unexpected rapidly developing crises, arms-race conditions and things like going to war our decision-making systems are not up to it. Now, we can of course cheat and decide on what is true within the EP universe (either individually as GMs, or have some author declare ground truth). But if the inhabitants of the EP universe is anything like ours then overconfidence is going to be common. Including that they will "know" a lot of things that are simply not true - especially about the big picture, hard to prove things. You may pick my view as one set of such erroneous ideas, I can pick yours.
Extropian
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
I think most standard CMs don't work at cryogenic temperatures (another fun way of limiting nanomanufacturing). Even if the feedstock doesn't freeze (acetone and 2-methyl-butene have been proposed as feedstock carbon sources, and they freeze at -94.9 C and -134 C respectively; liquid nitrogen is -195.8 C) there are likely nanoassembly steps that are affected by the lack of heat vibrations. No doubt specialized machines could be built at a high cost. Or one could run the whole thing at -10 C. Cryosuspension is at -195 mainly because liquid nitrogen is convenient and the rate of chemistry is absurdly slow at this temperature: for short-term use, especially if building stuff, then -10 is likely OK.
Quote:
Arenamontanus wrote:
Why? Where does this ability to reactivate come from if not from the present molecular structures?
Present submolecular activity would be a key factor. Remember that nanomachines cannot work on a submolecular level. Certain submolecular aspects of our anatomy, like bioelectricity, would not be able to be recreated with CMs, even at low temperatures.
Submolecular activity? Bioelectricity? Sorry, I have a Ph.D. in computational neuroscience. I know a thing or two about bioelectricity, and I think you are mixing up the real thing - voltage differences across membranes due to ion concentration differences - with some magical spark of life. Life seems to be fundamentally molecular. When living organisms function there are certainly small processes taking place within molecules like shifts of conformation, electrons jumping from one place to another, even (perhaps) weird quantum interactions in chlorophyll. But there are no *parts* that are submolecular - electrons and protons do get pumped around, but they do not form any structures. And structure is what we are talking about here. Since we know frozen cells can be revived and they have retained just their structure, no activity (often for many years), we can conclude with a pretty high degree of certainty that the dynamical state of a cell is encoded in its structure. Sure, EP has psi so maybe there are mysterious woo forces too. But I prefer to keep as close to hard sf as I can.
Quote:
The biggest problem with most preservation techniques is that we have no clue how to reverse the process. We literally do all of this under the assumption that a future generation will stumble across the means to run things backwards, and make everything right. That may not be the case in EP, and considering how easy it is to get a new body, it may not be financially feasible in the first place.
True. I am expecting to wake up as an infomorph if I get revived. But given that in EP unique knowledge and skills can pay your way a great deal, it might actually be profitable to revive some interesting corpsicles. They get their bodies soon enough by doing lecturing or XP. But the bores remain frozen.
Quote:
Dead is dead.
Until you cure it.
Extropian
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Arenamontanus wrote:
My point was actually that a simple program like "define collatz(x): if (x==1) return 1; if (rem(x,2)==0) return(1+collatz(x/2)) else return(1+collatz(3*x+1))" behaves in an extremely unpredictable way despite being perfectly obvious. Similarly for primes: we know there is no last prime since Pythagoras, but determining which number is a prime is somewhat hard and we are really struggling with the Riemann hypothesis about their large scale distribution.
Primes aren't particularly hard to solve. We know that we can solve them linearly: starting from two, we can use multiplication to deduce every non-prime associated with that number, then move to the next number which was not removed from the candidate list and know absolutely that it is a prime. We can then repeat this process ad-infinity. The only problem is when we want to find out a specific prime without going through all of the pre-steps... but this is difficult in the same way that figuring out a specific digit of Pi is difficult. Again, though, it does not make the concept unknowable by any stretch of the means.
Arenamontanus wrote:
That is actually a very cool adventure seed. Firewall (or somebody else) have found out that a TITAN ended up frozen due to some other TITAN attack (or maybe it was the one running Iapetus). They send the players to collect it, and then transport the dangerous cargo to a really remote outpost for careful study. Meanwhile other fractions will want to stop this insanely dangerous project.
I agree. I have already begun using TITAN forks in my campaign, so I might actually use this as a potential seed as a means for my players to really get something major.
Arenamontanus wrote:
There is actually very strong data that people are usually deeply overconfident about their knowledge about the state of the world, the future and even what makes themselves happy. Expert judgement has been found to be very useless in many situations (see Philip Tetlock's book on the subject), group judgement can be very biased and unreliable (see Sunstein's book "Infotopia"). From what I have been able to see up close in political decision-making this has real-world bad effects. Especially when dealing with risk, unexpected rapidly developing crises, arms-race conditions and things like going to war our decision-making systems are not up to it. Now, we can of course cheat and decide on what is true within the EP universe (either individually as GMs, or have some author declare ground truth). But if the inhabitants of the EP universe is anything like ours then overconfidence is going to be common. Including that they will "know" a lot of things that are simply not true - especially about the big picture, hard to prove things. You may pick my view as one set of such erroneous ideas, I can pick yours.
I have no doubt that people tend to be overconfident, or that overconfidence can often exacerbate a bad situation. However, I find it disconcerting to consider it the actual reason for the Fall. To me, claiming that overconfidence caused the Fall is like saying that John Wilkes Boothe's anger killed Abraham Lincoln. I say it was a major cause for the incident, but I think most people agree that it was a bullet that killed Lincoln instead. Overconfidence may have played some part in the Fall, but you still can't deny that the Exurgent virus was the actual cause.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Arenamontanus wrote:
Submolecular activity? Bioelectricity? Sorry, I have a Ph.D. in computational neuroscience. I know a thing or two about bioelectricity, and I think you are mixing up the real thing - voltage differences across membranes due to ion concentration differences - with some magical spark of life. Life seems to be fundamentally molecular. When living organisms function there are certainly small processes taking place within molecules like shifts of conformation, electrons jumping from one place to another, even (perhaps) weird quantum interactions in chlorophyll. But there are no *parts* that are submolecular - electrons and protons do get pumped around, but they do not form any structures. And structure is what we are talking about here. Since we know frozen cells can be revived and they have retained just their structure, no activity (often for many years), we can conclude with a pretty high degree of certainty that the dynamical state of a cell is encoded in its structure. Sure, EP has psi so maybe there are mysterious woo forces too. But I prefer to keep as close to hard sf as I can.
Again, a frozen dead cell is different from a frozen living cell. Try freezing sperm after it stops moving and see if it works when you thaw it out if you don't believe me. Now I apologize for using the term "structure" when talking about the submolecular processes of the body, but you seemed to have focused on that word to skirt around the issue: nanomachines in EP do not affect things at the submolecular level, and they would be incapable of replicating the electron configurations of every atom and molecule of the bioelectrically-powered human body. How could this not affect the end-product?
Arenamontanus wrote:
True. I am expecting to wake up as an infomorph if I get revived. But given that in EP unique knowledge and skills can pay your way a great deal, it might actually be profitable to revive some interesting corpsicles. They get their bodies soon enough by doing lecturing or XP. But the bores remain frozen.
Likely not. Chances are that the end-result of any cryopreservation is not restoration, but thawing followed by a brain-peeling procedure. I'm sure that Bill Gates won't be so mad about losing his original body when he finds out that his new body has renewed youth, enhanced musculature, and a custom-made dong.
Arenamontanus wrote:
Until you cure it.
We already did. We named the cure "cortical stack". Never could fix those inert bodies, though.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
TBRMInsanity TBRMInsanity's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Arenamontanus wrote:
Until you cure it.
By RAW the body can die and such event is viewed as making it through a car crash, or major surgery today. Everyone sends you "Get Well" cards, you get re-sleeved, throw a re-sleeving party, and (if your in an old economy hab) you sue the bastard that killed your morph (else your rep bomb them). For all intensive purposes though your morph is dead, dead, dead!
Jovian Motto: Your mind is original. Preserve it. Your body is a temple. Maintain it. Immortality is an illusion. Forget it.
nick012000 nick012000's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Decivre wrote:
nick012000 wrote:
Eclipse Phase has cryogenic stasis, doesn't it? There's no reason that they have to be alive while you're printing them off. You just need to keep the temperatures down until they're done, and then defrost them with the medical equipment you fabbed first. Also, I'd say that Cornucopia machines wouldn't need to assemble anything since nothing would need to be assembled. You're building your device by layering each layer of molecules on top of each other; once it's done, it's done.
Actually, cryogenic stasis only works on a living subject. The principle behind it is that you can freeze the person BEFORE cell death occurs, preventing it. Cornucopia machines would produce DEAD CELLS. You can't prevent something that has technically already happened. Nanofabricated cells are dead as they are fabricated.
What's stopping you from creating cryogenically frozen cells to start off with? Cell death is a process; if they never undergo the process, then they aren't really dead. Not really alive, since they haven't begun those processes, but not really dead, either. Just in stasis.

+1 r-Rep , +1 @-rep

Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
nick012000 wrote:
What's stopping you from creating cryogenically frozen cells to start off with? Cell death is a process; if they never undergo the process, then they aren't really dead. Not really alive, since they haven't begun those processes, but not really dead, either. Just in stasis.
If we were talking about nanofabricating sperms, I might concur with your statement. Unfortunately thawing a human is a far more complex problem we haven't even come close to solving in our time, and potentially one that cannot be solved, even in the time of Eclipse Phase. Why go through a process which pretty much guarantees cellular damage (yup, even frozen sperm and eggs thaw in worse condition then they went in, and can't survive multiple drops in the fridge) for such a complex organism?
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
TBRMInsanity TBRMInsanity's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
After rereading about CMs and Healing Vats in the rules, I would argue that the "liquid" in a Healing Vat is required to create living material and thus a vital requirement in the process to create biomorphs. The "liquid" can be created in a CM but the CM can't create the living material itself. Materials coming out of a CM (as per the RAW) are all functionally dead and, with the exception of food, is non-biological (though highly processed food can also be considered non-biological as well). That being said, it does state multiple times in the core rules that the GM has final say. In my game you need a Healing Vat to create living material, and CMs can only create "dead" material.
Jovian Motto: Your mind is original. Preserve it. Your body is a temple. Maintain it. Immortality is an illusion. Forget it.
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
TBRMInsanity wrote:
After rereading about CMs and Healing Vats in the rules, I would argue that the "liquid" in a Healing Vat is required to create living material and thus a vital requirement in the process to create biomorphs. The "liquid" can be created in a CM but the CM can't create the living material itself. Materials coming out of a CM (as per the RAW) are all functionally dead and, with the exception of food, is non-biological (though highly processed food can also be considered non-biological as well). That being said, it does state multiple times in the core rules that the GM has final say. In my game you need a Healing Vat to create living material, and CMs can only create "dead" material.
That sounds about right, but I think the device they use to create biomorphs is actually the Exowomb, rather than the Healing Vat (only because I've seen it mentioned in the book). Oh how I wish they would have plugged that into the first book as something I could buy... I know someone who would have wanted one of those badly. Otherwise I completely agree. CMs are great if you want food or firewood, but you can't expect a biomorph out of one.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Current Medicine Research seems to be able to transplant dead tissue or frozen organs. Transplanted frozen liver raises hopes of organ 'bank' http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026764.000-transplanted-frozen-l... http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1776032.stm Cells in heart can regenerate dead tissue. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Cells+in+heart+can+regenerate+dead+tissue-...
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
King Shere wrote:
Current Medicine Research seems to be able to transplant dead tissue or frozen organs. Transplanted frozen liver raises hopes of organ 'bank' http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026764.000-transplanted-frozen-l... http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1776032.stm Cells in heart can regenerate dead tissue. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Cells+in+heart+can+regenerate+dead+tissue-...
That would be great for if you need a transplant in a pinch, but I don't think that raises hopes for nanofabbing bodies. Man, that info on heart cells is pretty awesome.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
nick012000 nick012000's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
Decivre wrote:
nick012000 wrote:
What's stopping you from creating cryogenically frozen cells to start off with? Cell death is a process; if they never undergo the process, then they aren't really dead. Not really alive, since they haven't begun those processes, but not really dead, either. Just in stasis.
If we were talking about nanofabricating sperms, I might concur with your statement. Unfortunately thawing a human is a far more complex problem we haven't even come close to solving in our time, and potentially one that cannot be solved, even in the time of Eclipse Phase. Why go through a process which pretty much guarantees cellular damage (yup, even frozen sperm and eggs thaw in worse condition then they went in, and can't survive multiple drops in the fridge) for such a complex organism?
Of course the human body is a solved problem in Eclipse Phase! They can manufacture them from DNA! They casually modify them in ways that modern doctors would never dream of doing for fear of complications! They have biological immortality! A little damage from dethawing can be fixed with medichines, assuming that they can't fix it naturally with their Basic Biomods. It's not difficult to manufacture things on a molecular scale; they've got nanotech! They can use that nanotech to build whatever objects they want, and when cryogenically frozen, the human body is just that: an object! It's a relatively complex object, but you'd be surprised how complex bog-standard [i]steel[/i] can get on a molecular level.

+1 r-Rep , +1 @-rep

Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: How to put the breaks on excessive nano-fabrication?
nick012000 wrote:
Of course the human body is a solved problem in Eclipse Phase! They can manufacture them from DNA! They casually modify them in ways that modern doctors would never dream of doing for fear of complications! They have biological immortality! A little damage from dethawing can be fixed with medichines, assuming that they can't fix it naturally with their Basic Biomods. It's not difficult to manufacture things on a molecular scale; they've got nanotech! They can use that nanotech to build whatever objects they want, and when cryogenically frozen, the human body is just that: an object! It's a relatively complex object, but you'd be surprised how complex bog-standard [i]steel[/i] can get on a molecular level.
Not necessarily. That's assuming that we even [i]finished[/i] researching how to thaw out a human being. We might have found it to be a dead end. For instance, if we discovered how to resleeve before we came close to finding out how to cure retroviral diseases like HIV, then such research might stop because we find it more feasible to simply resleeve out of an infected body and discard it. The same is true with cryonically frozen bodies... the research might have stopped when someone realized "hey, you know we can just upload their mind and put it in a fresh body... so why are we still researching this?"
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]

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