Topic: Lore: The Technocracy

The political system of the Earth that sent the Seed ships was a technology-aided direct democracy. Every citicen of the globally governed planet was able to vote on any political decicion they liked. Voting was made easy by necklink technology combined with a computer system that calculated the results and informed the interested parties.

Due to the amount of polls that often involved very complex technological and philosophical issues, hardly anyone would take part in all the polls. Instead, through personalizable settings in their necklink they could transfer their votes to others. Since the polls were categorized in several different ways, you could for example transfer your votes concerning mathematical education to a renowned mathematician while letting your economist sister handle your votes concerning those matters. This was fully automatic as long as the settings were in place.

Since you could vote yourself on matters you cared much about, the system gave less power to ideological, generalist leaders. Instead, those who were experts in their fields would get a lot of transfered votes concerning their speciality, especially if their fields were visible but hard to comprehend. This led to the increase in the power of those highly educated in technology, which coined the term "Technocracy".

Re: Lore: The Technocracy

The Age of Wisdom

In the Technocracy, the power was held by the intelligent and highly educated. This worked both on the grass level, where people passed their votes to their friends and collagues, and on the high level, where top experts of different disciplines dealed in votes counted in hundreds of millions. Thus, it's not surprising that intelligence and education became the most valued traits in the society.

More and more pressure was placed on education as people wanted their children to learn as much as they could as fast as they could. Soon it became evident that traditional teaching methods were no longer sufficient. Experts in neurology turned their attention to the unused capacity of the human brain. They developed procedures for harnessing that capacity to speed up learning and to enhance memory. Only a decade later, the first speedtraining facilities were invented - information was downloaded directly into the brain, using a combination of nanobots and neurological stimulation.

Speedtraining wasn't the answer for everyone, though. The large and expensive facilities developed, with time, into more affordable devices, controlled by the necklink with a connection to a remote database. However, the process didn't work equally for everyone. It depended heavily on DNA: those with high IQ and good memory were likely to learn quicker and more reliably using the new system as well. The gap between the intelligentsia and the stupid ones grew even wider.

When the Seed ships were launched, during the Seventh Decade of the Technocracy, DNA screenings for smart genes were commonplace for the wealthy families of Earth. Such techniques were also used to select the genetic material on board the Seed ships. As a result, the people on Da Vinci, as well as the other colonies, are the smartest, most capable people, spreading the best of humanity into the galaxy.

Re: Lore: The Technocracy


The technologies and repercussions related to genetic engineering are far from unknown to the tower population. During the Fifth Decade of the Technocracy, there were many advances in the science of directly manipulating the genetic structures of embryos to affect the attributes of the growing child. Attempts were made to enhance the physical abilities, health, intelligence, and - looks.

Several subcultures developed around the quest for the perfect human beauty, with couples contesting about having the most beautiful children. The ideas of what was beautiful varied between and within the subcultures: among the many desired traits were height, shortness, classic athletic build, round features, smooth silver hair, and snow white skin tone.

The general public disapproved of this kind of meddling but most found it unappropriate to interfere with the choices of others. Only when several genetic defects introduced by the procedures were discovered, did the Technocracy forbid the use of such techniques by law, until the time when interconnections within the genome would be better understood.

The corrective side of the genetic engineering research continued, eliminating many genetic defects from the population by the launch of the Seed ships. The other application areas never got advanced enough to be called true eugenics or superhuman research. The branch of science also became rather unpopular, and in the following decades many subcultures formed, advocating more "natural" ways of life.

The legacy of genaesthetics still remains in the many people born with various degrees of the popular characteristics like albino skin, excessive features, peculiar hair colors... Many of them also populate the terraforming colonies.

Re: Lore: The Technocracy

From Subcultures to Rings

National and ethnic boundaries lost more and more of their meaning during the decades leading to the Technocracy. The ever-globalizing commerse, migration, and the Internet created connections between different people all over the Earth, to the point that at the founding of the Technocracy it was agreed to make national borders the exclusive content of history books.

This was not the end to cliqueness and confrontation, though. As the borders faded, different ideological, aesthetical, and other kinds of subcultures became more and more prominent. When everyone was connected, it was possible to find people to agree with the most peculiar notions. Many subcultures were the same old ones, based on religion, music tastes etc, but the variety and scope increased dramatically. Even nationalities gained their own subcultures - for instance some people were dedicated to the preservation and practice of all things French, such as wine, sugary romantics, and escargot ice cream.

Many of the subcultures were informal, without even a generally agreed-upon name. Others became organized enough to be on par with religions and political parties: The Retropop Union, Association of Astrophysics, and Followers of Quon were only a few examples of groups that had an undisputable impact of many of the decisions made by the Technocracy.

Some subcultures, such as The Islamic Faith, lasted for decades without changing much. Others, for example the fan club of Kat the Kitten, fluctuated in and out of fashion on a weekly basis. Most people would join and leave subcultures at whim, being more or less active in several at any given time. Many sociologists argued that while this was a very free form of interaction, many became lost in this virtual sea of possibilities. This point was all but proven by the sudden popularity of rings.

Rings started off as teams in a very popular Massively Multiplayer Virtual Reality Ball Game called Batball Megaleague. (They were called "rings" in the game's lore to make the game stand out from all the other MMVRBGs.) In order to have a chance of winning the game, each ring would have to make alliances and trade balls with some of the other teams, giving the game a bit of a political aspect. Of course, out-of-game issues soon entered the game: Retropoppers would be seen joining forces with friends of Ambient Choy to fight the proponents of Post-Classisism. Members of the Jorian Reformist Party tried to outmaneuver the Martian Alliance on the playfield in addition to public panel discussions. (And everybody generally hated the Kat the Kitten fanclub.)

The game became extremely popular - too popular, many argued, to be explained by the accurate physics engine and simple yet elegant ruleset. Instead, what pulled people in was the immensely close-knit team spirit many of the rings had developed. But it was only after the rings started a life of their own when they truly became a phenomenon.

It was of course not unusual for the same teams to be involved in several MMVRBGs, but suddenly everyone started to invite their non-gaming friends to the rings as well. The Batball Megaleague community site with its ring profiles had to upgrade its equipment as suddenly it was being flooded with new members and even new rings with no connection to the actual game. Every other subculture wanted to be part of the new trend, competing about who had the most ambitious profile and catchiest slogan. Many entered the Batball virtual reality, standing around with their bats idle in their hands, hardly even looking at the balls but instead spending their time promoting their rings and ideals, arguing about topics of the day, often resulting to insults and shouting (which could be very impressive if you used certain exploits in the audio calculation system).

What was it that the rings could offer that the earlier similar systems couldn't? Firstly, the popularity was self-feeding: you could tell someone you met on the street what ring you were in and they were likely to know what you were talking about, making ring membership more meaningful. Secondly, the ring membership was exclusive: you were part of one ring and one ring only. Thus, the rings became more closely knit, since anyone who was in your ring believed your ring was the best, not only somewhat interesting. For many, the ring became a second family.

Of course, none of this was new - closely knit Internet communities had existed for over a century. But this was by far the biggest wave of such communities being built around a single concept.

The rings were a hit during the fourth decade of the Technocracy, and were already fading when the Seed ships launched. However, the word "ring" had then been established to mean a closely knit group of people, almost like a family. When the First Colonists of the Seed ship Solidarity felt the need for a family, it was natural for them to use the ring pattern to build upon.

Re: Lore: The Technocracy


Even before the invention of speedtraining, the different languages of Earth had been getting melted together in a big way for decades. The lessening importance of nationalities and increasing relevance of world-spanning subcultures encouraged people to use widely-understood languages. English prevailed for a long time as the number one language of international use, rivalled mainly by Chinese and later by Hindi. The languages also borrowed from each other at a very high rate, but nevertheless remained clearly separate, as well as a local languages still considered a mother tongue by most.

The emergence of speedtraining revolutionalized, among other things, the learning of languages. A universal language suddenly looked far more achievable, as mastering it no longer would take years of study. It could simply be included in everyone's basic package.

Before a universal language could be learned, it had to be created and accepted, however. Globe-spanning arguments occurred on matters such as vocabulary, grammar, and spelling. Some suggested a simplistic, unambiguous language, almost mathematical in nature. Others preferred a rich variety of nuances and expression power, with plenty of synonyms and poetic phrases. Many wanted to include elements from existing languages, either due to their inheritance or because they just happened to like those languages.

Hundreds of suggestions for the new language were put forward, and a myriad of votes were held, until the decicion was finally made. The poetically minded thriumphed greatly. The new global language, called "Unilingo", included a streamlined, yet flexible grammar, combined with a huge vocabulary of words and phrases, both created from scratch and borrowed and adapted from existing languages. Basically, the design goal of the language (still, actually, under development) is that any thought expressible in any other language should be expressible as easily in Unilingo.

According to a commonly-agreed-upon statement, the new language sounds "kind of like a blend between Chinese, French, and Swahili, but more beautiful". The spelling rules use an exact sound to letter association. Many complained that the language was unnecessarily complex and big, taking many times longer to learn than more simple suggestions. It was nevertheless included in the basic speedgrowth packages, and most colonists would, if not use, at least understand the language.

The further development of the language uses the approach of free contribution. It's naturally accepted that people will invent new phrases and impressions while using the language. However, it's also possible for anyone to file changes to the actual language database to be included in the next skill patch. The process will accept any new word or phrase, unless it's contested (and they usually are) on grounds of not fitting the grammar, style or existing vocabulary of the language. If contested, the suggestion is put to a vote.

Unilingo is also the default language taught to all the colonists on the Seed missions. Data on older languages still exists in the database, but mostly, everyone's expected to speak Unilingo.

((English is used to simulate Unilingo in our RP.))

Re: Lore: The Technocracy

Organized Haggling

At the time The Technocracy was formed, humanity had long ago recovered from globewide catastrophes such as overpopulation, the spiral of violence, and global warming. In fact, the standard of living was far beyond necessity all around the world. Automation was rapidly taking over the last unpopular jobs still plaguing mankind. Most people could live their lives doing work that inspired them, or do no work at all, without having to worry about their material well-being. Most governments provided their citizens with material goods such as food, accommodation, and clothing free of charge. Jealousy between those who chose to work and those who chose not to was steadily going out of fashion.

Capitalistic economies did not vanish on their own but they became less and less central to the human condition. Most found the concept of spending their lives trying to increase their bank account absurd or disgusting. The more popular reasons for working (if you did) were to bring joy yourself and others, to satisfy your curiosity, or the embettering of humankind (though many considered the latter rather pompous attitude). And even though working for the sake of money was something you'd accept with a frown, doing business to maximize profits was shunned by most - usury had reclaimed its place among the deadly sins.

These attitudes made it possible for The Technocracy to pull its support for money as one of its first acts. With no government backing, money soon lost its value. Instead of buying goods, the citizens of The Technocracy had to file a request for them. The requests were processed within minutes by one of the Administration Assistance Units and if the goods were available they could be retrieved from the nearest sharepoint. For services, a matchmaking application in the Internet was used to help find someone providing the needed service (for free).

People still weren't pleased with their lives, of course. However, the things that made the grass greener had shifted away from material wealth. Instead, people measured their success in life by the inventions they had in their name, their friends, families, their popularity and lifespan. And of course, power.

The votes used in the everyday decicion process of The Technocracy became a sought-after commodity. Just like politicians in earlier societies, some would make promises, distribute gifts and favors, or even lie to be the recepient of as many vote delegations as possible. A black market emerged around the voting. Other things traded were the more extravagant of material goods not provided to everyone, invitations to parties, sex, inventions, high-end expert health-care... However, votes soon became the new de facto currency due to their government-backed value.

Vote trading was, of course, highly illegal and publically dispised. However, studies showed that at nearly one half of the world's population had taken part in it at least once in their lifetimes. It has been claimed that many of the most powerful people in the world rose to their power by very carefully organized illicit haggling.

Re: Lore: The Technocracy

The Lamb and the Lion

During the era of the Technocracy, everybody loved nature. More specifically, some liked huge parks with trees, bushes and flowers arranged as representations of historical events. Others enjoyed walking through gardens with genetically engineered giant flowers in all colors of the rainbow. Many preferred house lawns cut short and tidy. Natural wonders in simulated environments were another story entirely. And, of course, some econostalgics liked to create natural parks to emulate real natural environments as closely as possible.

By the time of the Technocracy, there wasn't really any untouched natural environments left. The original rainforests had long been gone, the sea had been mined and colonized, and even Antarctica had three hotel chains with theme-loyal swimming pools. Later, new rainforests had been planted, seas cleansed out by various massive projects, and with decreased greenhouse effect, even the polar ice caps had started to recover. Human effect didn't go anywhere but it had shifted from abuse and destruction to simple meddling.

As previously mentioned, some groups aimed to create natural parks that emulated the untouched environments from earlier eras as precicely as possible. Other groups worked in opposite directions. It was a popular opinion that much of the phenomena still present in the natural world was barbaric and not part of a civilized new Earth. Combinations of genetic engineering and biochemistry were used to free animals from such barbaric urges as "carnivorism" or "aggressive dominant behaviour". Experimental parks were created, the most popular with tourists being the famed lions and lambs sharing a pasture in the Paradise Park 50 km from Jerusalem.

Re: Lore: The Technocracy

My Life as Martian

The colonization of Mars became long before the Technocracy. By the time the Technocracy was formed, the fourth planet had a stable population living in a terraformed world. The landscape was still considerably more arid and the temperature was far below terran standards - and the rusty red color was still present all around - but nevertheless, woods and fields and even seas surrounded the sparcely populated settlements. The atmosphere at sea level was about as thick as mountain air on Earth but it was fully breathable. The population total of Mars had stabilized around 150 Million.

Life on Mars was, especially at the polar areas, considerably harder and less prosperous than on Earth. The poor soil and cold weather caused agriculture to require a lot of machinery that had to be maintained. The planet, as well as the terraformed climate was still not completely understood, giving scientists lots of questions to solve. Even industry required more manual labor, since the automatization hadn't had the centuries to develop into a self-repairing, self-providing system. An average able-bodied adult on Earth did about 13 hours of work per week, while on Mars the same number was 29, and on the polar regions 49. Lots of goods were imported from Earth, of course, but space travel was still too costly to provide the masses on Mars with the same standards of living as the common Earthling.

Naturally, this made Mars very popular on Earth. The untamed frontiers inspired countless stories of heroic prospectors defying the forces of nature. Many travelled to Mars in search of adventure, challenge, or bragging rights. Upon realizing how unromantic a ten-hour work day could be, many quickly returned to Earth but others fell in love with the sense of purpose present in many of the Martian colonies - something difficult to find on Earth.

This was only one of the reasons why a somewhat separate culture developed on Mars. The other had to do with stellar cartography and the theory of relativity. The limitation of speed of light causes a delay of five to twenty minutes in all communications between the two planets. This didn't, of course, prevent a fully connected Internet, but everyday communications were seriously hampered. The delay was simply too much for the attention span of most, when idle chit-chat - the basis for the community spirit in most subcultures - was concerned. As a consequence, Earthlings and Martians, while still tightly connected, tended to form their own subcultures. This was less of an issue in professional matters such as scientific research.

The Technocracy governed both of the planets, of course. When votes concerning both populations were taken, people waited.

Re: Lore: The Technocracy


In the Technocracy, no one needed to excersize for health reasons. Muscles and other relevant organs could be stimulated using medical technologies. Basically, you could develop an athletic body in the course of a few weeks.

Earlier in the history of mankind, when these technologies first were made widely available, the world became populated by muscular people, men in particular, everyone trying to look more impressive than the person next to them. Aesthetic ideals soon adjusted, however, and during the Technocracy most people simply went for a body that's healthy and practical with whatever they liked doing.

And some still liked excersize and sports: the feeling of moving by your own power and the exhausted extacy afterwards. Some of these people got themselves more potent bodies, capable of more speed or stamina. But the arena sporting the most tuned physiques was definately spectator sports.

There were still some naturalist sporting subcultures prohibiting any use of medical aids (which they called "doping"), but few bothered to watch them when the alternative was way more impressive. ((To be continued.))

In the tower, the floatbeds grant people with healthy bodies capable of the things most colonists need. However, they don't have the more potent drugs so some colonists still spend time improving their physique in various gyms.

Re: Lore: The Technocracy

The Naming Merry-Go-Round

The name of the governmental entity formed as the nations of the world united was, as stipulated in the agreement, "The Global Union of Democratic Peoples". The next year, it was shortened to "The Global Democratic Union", as a majority vote felt the reference to peoples as separate entities was outdated. The Global Democratic Union was the longest-surviving name of the global government: it took a full 11 years before it was changed to "Assiciation of Independent Citizens", then quickly to the simple and to the point, "Earth".

At the time of the launch of the Solidarity, there was an active unofficial committee, made up from people who at the moment had received most transferred votes on matters of governmental nomenclature. Due to constant fluctuations in the flow of votes, the power balance never stayed stable long enough for one name to stick around for long. The hobby, however, remained alive. As for people referring to the governmental entity, the name "The Technocracy" had long ago become the de facto standard.

It's unclear from how this rather ironic name originated, or how it gained the popularity it has today. It is, however, being used in most official and scientific texts (though usually with the option to display the current official name in its place). And that's how it was referred to in the speedgrowth training.

Re: Lore: The Technocracy

The Age of the Obvious

From historical writings of doctor Amma Tut, Cambridge Learning Hub.

The 20th and 21st centuries, in the ancient Gregorian calendar, have been described as an age of great scientific hubris. Due to a relatively large number of scientific breakthroughs and in a relatively short period of time, people of this period believed they'd have all of the universe worked out by the end of the 21st century. They thought that, barring a cataclysm of global scale, the rate of scientific innovation could only accelerate. It is due to this attitude that many historians with a humorous inclination like to call this period The Age of the Obvious.

It is true that the people of that time made an unprecedented number of discoveries - a record never to be challenged in the times to follow. However, this wasn't due to brilliance or hard work as much as it was because the people finally agreed to let go of completely fallacious beliefs. These 'world views' had practically kept people from recognizing the most obvious aspects of the physical world throughout the preceding millennia. Hence, it's no wonder that things such as penisilline, nuclear power, and electronic computing were invented and developed so quickly.

By the end of the 21st century, this process had already slown down considerably. Discoveries were still made on a regular basis but they were further between and of lesser importance than those that came before. Hype technologies, such as quantum computers and nanotechnology were developed but they proved to have far more obstacles and limitations than predicted. One reason for this was - and still is - that the capacity of the human brain is simply limited. One needs to do more and more studying simply to understand the basic concepts science deals with these days. Recent speedlearning technologies have alleviated this somewhat, and, not surpricingly, caused another wave of unfounded hope of quick progress.

History has shown us the truth, and history will show it again.