Restricting Nanofabrication?

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fimbulwinter fimbulwinter's picture
Restricting Nanofabrication?
Given that there are polities that restrict access to cornucopia machines and other advanced nanofabricators in order to maintain the old style economy...how do they do that? What's to stop autonomist agitators from dropping cornucopia machines all over the martian outback? I'm willing to accept the premise as part of the setting, but I'm wondering what the War on Nanofabrication looks like.
I am a feminist, a nominalist,a pacifist, a meritocrat, a 10th level greengrocer, and as full of shit as 50 horses. I cannot be killed. I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or num
Octomorph Octomorph's picture
Re: Restricting Nanofabrication?
Take a look at Singularity Sky by Charles Stross. Effectively, that's what happens (if I recall correctly, it's been a couple of years) and things don't go well for the autocrats. Even in a post-scarcity economy, there's got to be a limiting factor on cornucopia construction - most likely the set of raw materials necessary to build one (e.g. you need 3 units of unobtanium and the hear of a virgin sacrificed at the dark of the moon on Samhain to create a desktop sized cornucopia).
OneTrikPony OneTrikPony's picture
Re: Restricting Nanofabrication?
i suspect that killsats and interdiction fighters are the thing that stops them from physicaly droping cornucopia machines. Probably 'homeland security' or it's analogue stops them from making a cornucopia machine by hunting down the existing ones agressively. and the fact that you need to have access to a nuclear reactor or a huge sunfarm stops them from useing the CM's that they do have. I wish the Dev's hadn't used the term Cornucopia Machine. It makes it sound like snap-your-fingers magic wich it couldn't be. The name overemphasizes the actual effect the machine would have on the game world. (IMHO) I think they should have stolen Joe Haldeman's "Nano Forge" from the novel [u]Forever Peace[/u]. That term better represents the technical and physical dificulties of actually getting something like that to work. The large amounts of waste heat for example. I think some basic assumptions can be made about the "war on free goods" (alternate arguments and points of view fully welcome :) ) 1. there's no such thing as free. The real ecconomic values of what a machine can make is in the book if you want something 'expencive' it's gona cost 20,000 credits or a couple years of service or favors (apparently risking 'realdeath' is worth about 20 grand.) 2. Active cornucopia machines on, or under a planet's surface would be pretty easy to track down. Especially on the surface of the planet that is thickly seeded with envoronmental sensors because of tereforming projects. 3. Because it's hard to use a cornucopia machine without getting caught, it doesn't have that much effect on increasing the quality of life for the oppressed masses. It has more value to a rebel group as a throw-away WMD maker. 4. Hopefully, everyone does a better job of monitoring and restricting the mineing and refineing of fisile material than we do today. This would be the first defence on illegal use of cornucopia machines. The same can be said of illegal blueprints. Also: I kind of suspect that the book is wildly optimistic about the way CM's are actually used. For one thing it's obvious that a CM has to be tied to a realatively large source of energy. For another I supect that a fabrication time of 1 hour per price point is a little fantastic. I think that (1 hour * price point * kilogram of materials used) would be more realistic. "Buying Time" on a machine would be a good part of the cost of the finished product. I have noted the fact that the GEV (pp. 348) includes two(?!) desktop CM's so maybe what I've learned so far about the power required and the heat expended while assembling an object atom by atom is wrong. More likely, what I know about the GEV is incomplete.

Mea Culpa: My mode of speech can make others feel uninvited to argue or participate. This is the EXACT opposite of what I intend when I post.

fimbulwinter fimbulwinter's picture
Re: Restricting Nanofabrication?
Good in eight directions, cephalopod. Just read Singularity Sky (along w/ about 60% of the other EP fiction. Hurts my brain) and it's what prompted the question. I like the limiting factors-makes sense-but I'm also thinking that there are countermeasures the corps can use-virii and infiltrator nanobots, organizations dedicated to sniffing out possible outbreaks of post-scarcity technology. I see it being like the modern war on drugs-demanded by the ideology of certain groups, but ultimately useless.
I am a feminist, a nominalist,a pacifist, a meritocrat, a 10th level greengrocer, and as full of shit as 50 horses. I cannot be killed. I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or num
OneTrikPony OneTrikPony's picture
Re: Restricting Nanofabrication?
I wouldn't say that the 'war on drugs' has been useless at all. Quite the oposite. A. it's made alot of people a Shit-tonn of money B. it gives some governemnts a 'reason' to put the screws to other governments or deny them support/aid C. It allows a government to show it's own populace 'an enemy' and provides a reason to make demonstration of force. D. it gives a 'benevelent' burocracy a good reason to spend a larger portion of constituents' money on more and better police and millitary that may be used to control the constituents if needed. E. the same as above but substitute surveilance for police and millitary. F. Drugs are the tools of social darwinism, especially the hard drugs. I hardly ever have to compete with a pot-head in any way. I never have to compete with a heroin addict.

Mea Culpa: My mode of speech can make others feel uninvited to argue or participate. This is the EXACT opposite of what I intend when I post.

fimbulwinter fimbulwinter's picture
Re: Restricting Nanofabrication?
Gosh, this is a bad idea. I'll buy in to A, B, C, D, and E. But as far as F goes...there's LOTS of functional heroin addicts out there, keeping it secret, pulling it off. It's not the norm, certainly, but suggesting that drug use is a clear sign of fuck-uppery is just buying into the propaganda. Hell, you must not be a musician, else you'd certainly be competing 'gainst a heroin addict at one time or another. And pot heads? Man, I don't know where you are, but there's pot heads EVERYWHERE. 11% of the population in the last month, right?* You've competed against pot heads, never even knew it. I'd say you were competing against one right now, but since I've just looked over this post and regretted it for trolling, I'll just press the button, send this up the tubes, and say "Good day, sir." Good day, sir. *Defaulting to 'merkin, which I assume we're all being. Chock that one up to my 'merocentric bigotry.
I am a feminist, a nominalist,a pacifist, a meritocrat, a 10th level greengrocer, and as full of shit as 50 horses. I cannot be killed. I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or num
OneTrikPony OneTrikPony's picture
Re: Restricting Nanofabrication?
LOL What ever makes you feel better dude. [edit] never mind. I really don't care that much.[/edit]

Mea Culpa: My mode of speech can make others feel uninvited to argue or participate. This is the EXACT opposite of what I intend when I post.

HappyDaze HappyDaze's picture
Re: Restricting Nanofabrication?
I work as a civilian employee of the US government (a nurse working for the Department of the Army), and I really don't have to compete with drug-users. There are frequent 'random' drug tests, and then there are those that you have to take because someone thinks you're acting a bit odd (we're encouraged to report such on one another - for everyone's benefit) or because you just took five days off (seriously). Seems a bit heavy-handed, but I don't mind one bit* and neither do those among us that don't use drugs. As for those that do, they really should look for jobs elsewhere. * - You also have to love the idea of picking up an hour of OT just for going upstairs for 15 minutes at the end of a shift to piss in a cup. Government spending and all that... in my own way, I'm a $2,000 hammer!
Ramidel Ramidel's picture
Re: Restricting Nanofabrication?
It's mentioned in the core that most people who've studied the matter are of the opinion that Singularity Sky is going to happen in the next few decades. The Old Economies can only be maintained by forcible restriction of cornucopia machines; with one exception, it's more or less certain that once the people get a taste of plenty, the autocrats are going to crash and burn. That one exception, of course, is the Jovian Republic, where they have a strong military and a solidly conservative memetic base in stark opposition to everyone else's memes. Not only that, but whatever their grievances with the current leadership, the vast majority of the Republic's citizens are behind the bioconservative meme (or else they've already expatriated elsewhere). They're like Iran in that respect; progressive autonomists trying to push their ideas through will get nowhere without a thorough knowledge of the Jovian memetic structure, and the Jovians can stop unrestricted cornucopia machines by relabeling them as WMDs (and setting off a few low-end panic bombs on their population). That particular combination of factors is why the Jovian Republic is still there. It -may- have to go Transitional in the next few decades, but it may end up keeping a lid on things too for the reasons above. That, more than a bunch of armed jackboots, is how the War on Nanofabrication is fought.
Octomorph Octomorph's picture
Re: Restricting Nanofabrication?
Ramidel wrote:
It's mentioned in the core that most people who've studied the matter are of the opinion that Singularity Sky is going to happen in the next few decades. The Old Economies can only be maintained by forcible restriction of cornucopia machines; with one exception, it's more or less certain that once the people get a taste of plenty, the autocrats are going to crash and burn.
That's basically the way I've been thinking of it - the Transitional Economies reflect governments (corporate or otherwise) trying to have their cake and eat it too. As the living standards in the New Economies continue to improve, societal pressures among the underclass will continue to increase. The Jovian's may be able to keep a lid on for a while by appealing to the bioconservative meme, but even that is only likely to work for a while. The Corps will have an even more difficult time - most likely turning ever more repressive and at some point provoking intervention (covert at first, but possibly shifting to overt) from the Outer System. I can definitely see this as a potential meta-theme for a campaign, with players either taking one side or another, or as agents of Firewall, attempting to defuse situations with the potential to spiral out of control. A war between the Inner and Outer Systems would definitely be considered an 'existential' threat.
Ramidel Ramidel's picture
Re: Restricting Nanofabrication?
Actually, Transitional Economies appear to be stable under the hypercorps and L-L Alliance, as well as Extropia and the Scum for different reasons. The New Economy has its own challenges that ye average hypercorp citizen doesn't want to handle, in particular the DIY aspects and the fact that you actually need to call on your friends for a favor instead of purchasing what goods and services you want from an impersonal corporate machine. And, of course, being a social outcast is a death sentence. Believe me, for someone who's lived most of his life in the future outgrowth of American culture, the transitional economy's easier, at least for someone who's not stuck under someone's heel. The New Economy is for those capable of taking care of themselves. (Meanwhile, the Scum and Extropians are their own boat. Extropia's anarcho-capitalist, the Scum do a lot of business outside their communities and internally run on a new economy.) Anyway, with the exception of indentureds, hypercorp citizens who want to jump out to Locus or Titania and try their hand at the New Economy can. (Or, hell, they can throw down tools and head for the Barsoomian wilderness.) If there's going to be a revolution, it'll come from the indentured classes; those unable to simply up and leave.