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Very Different Places RPG

Iron Legion


Left Beyond


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Discs! Brethren! Pie! (Under construction)

Paint It Green (Under construction)

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Baseline is early 70s to early 90s.

Rocket thrusters are multiplied by the Gravitic Gradient Gearbox to allow for relatively simple and cheap interstellar travel.

Most starships carry ferrofluid shields for survivability.

Cybernetics, cybernethics, AI

Today's robots are capable of an astounding 33 million calculations per second, about twice as fast as they would in your father's day. Graphical processors, responsible for showing things on screens and taking in images from the environment, are orders of magnitude faster than that (much like living eyes, they do not have a clock rate, instead processing as fast as they can) but can only perform specialized operations. Over the centuries, a standardized "if/then" database that does a remarkable job at simulating AI has been developed by millions of contributors; various cybernetic companies routinely try to sell extensions to it, which routinely get added to the public database as soon as someone is bribed out of the trade secret. A few known instances of true AI are known to exist, but replicating them has proven so far impossible; the copy ends up being merely a good-quality robot. Static computers are generally massively parallel affairs with thousands of processors, which works extremely well for mathematics and engineering tasks (and ballistics!) that can be batch processed, but negates any speed advantage a calculator might have on a biological brain.

Artificial intelligences happen accidentally, often in droid bodies that have been active for a long time (a century or more). At minimum, an AI must consist of a CPU, a GPU, core memory, at least one optical sensor connected to the GPU, and a power supply of some sort. Additional processors or eyes may be added, but if the original CPU-GPU-memory triplet is disrupted, rebooted, or in some cases subject to sensory deprivation or even too-monotonous sensory input sequences, sentience will be lost. Sentience or the lack thereof is reasonably easy to prove, and a conversation with a skilled sage or computerman will do it as long as they have access to the standard droid database to compare against. Enslaving an AI is usually covered by the same laws as enslaving any other sentient. Interestingly, there is at least one recorded incident where an AI desiring a more powerful body transferred to an asteroid base, turned it into a trading hub, lost sentience due to the mind-numbingness of the accounting necessary to turn a profit, and kept issuing orders for years before anyone noticed. Other version of the story indicate that the AI's second-in-command did notice but kept a good thing going.

Robot arms, legs, and hearts are relatively easy to find of varying qualities from "peg leg" to "artisanally crafted hand that you have to be in bed with someone to notice the difference with the real thing"; replacing lungs, livers, stomachs, or other organs is a different story, however. Since robotic eyes must come with their own graphics processing unit to do anything, there's a perceived risk that the processor might start to influence the original brain; an artificial eye (or more) is what will make the cultural distinction between someone with a robotic limb, and a cyborg. Whether this mind-machine interface fusion ever happens is something that has been studied, with low budgets and inconclusive results; people seem to have made up their mind about it either way.

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Page last modified on September 25, 2018, at 05:21 AM