Re: Colonize Atlantis!

Anders Sandberg (
04 Mar 1999 20:06:33 +0100

"Billy Brown" <> writes:

> wrote:
> > Anders, I think any future scenarios must include
> > intelligence augmentation
> > and virtual people and hybrids a la Gary Egan's book "Diaspora"..
> If you want to be realistic, throw in advanced robotics, automated
> manufacturing, genetic engineering and extensive biological modification.

Hmm... check, check, check, check. Got all four (but not in the era when the colony ships were originally sent, except for some of the latest colonies).

> You can still avoid AI and nanotech if you want to, but you need to come up
> with a pretty good justification if you're setting a story centuries in the
> future.
> But role-playing games commonly accept a lower standard of fidelity in the
> interest of playability.

This is essentially the Vinge problem - if you believe (like many of us do) that change is going to be exponential, then most stories become either very near future, hopelessly weird posthuman stories, or you have to limit things a bit. Vinge did it in AFUTD and the prequel with his zones, many stories and games try to limit by postulating strict restrictions or a few suitable disasters to keep tech down.

In my scenario I have just softened the exponential a bit, and added some possible quirks (simply put, civilizations doesn't necessarily have to transcend, they can also go into attractors or diversify without transcending as a whole). It is not intended as serious futurology, even if I'm aiming for hard science fiction (O great gods of sf, forgive me for introducing FTL! :-)

> You don't want to spend your first three game
> sessions trying to explain the world to your players, after all.

I already have. It is great luck that 60% of them are transhumanists already, and the other have been exposed to these radical ideas. However, some of them might have a harder time swallowing a libertarian planet than nanotech :-)

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y