Re: >H games (Was: 2001 Prometheus Award)

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Mon Apr 16 2001 - 12:21:44 MDT

On Mon, Apr 16, 2001 at 10:56:39AM -0400, wrote:
> --Well, Actually I rather think Shadowrun explores a more important
>aspect of transhumanism, at least when it applies to the near future.
>In Shadowrun, datajacks are used for *everything*, nearly everybody has
>one, even some mages despite the fact that it hurts thier essence.
>It's almost essential for life.

Yes. But how is that different from cellular phones? Should cellular
phones be regarded as a transhumanizing technology? My answer would
actually be yes, cellphones change (albeit slightly) what it means to be
a human, degeographizing us in an interesting way just as datajacks
would dissolve the interface between man and machine. However, as you
say the reasons people get this technology in are petty and fairly
practical. Few people get them as a way of enhancing themselves beyond

This is where I think SR does not do justice to the possible themes.
Instead of exploring the meaning of all these enhancements, how the
human condition is changed by the cyberware (and magic, in this case) it
mostly uses them as "cool powers". Of course, this is good for the game,
which is after all about action rather than philosophy, but I enjoy
games that really asks these kind of questions in addition to the
action. The problem is of course that few games really do this; this is
why I'm writing my own scenarios these days.
> And even in the main book there are the important but often
>neglected or ignored "Skillwires" which let a character plug a chip in,
>and they can access a skill from that chip, even if they don't actually
>know it. Kind of like borrowed memories, in a way.
This is a technology that would have enormous effects if used
effectively. A trivial example would be for a corporation to license a
library of skills, downloading them to linked employees as needed - no
need for training and in an emergency everybody can become a fireman or
security guard instantly. Add some coordination through the net, and
the secretary pool becomes a formidable opponent for shadowrunners ;-)

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

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