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Babylon Today


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#1
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

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Remember Mother Meki? The story with which I pestered this forum for half a decade and deliberately never properly wrote? I decided to completely overhaul it recently. Yeah, I put it on the backburner again last year and as a result, I looked at it again and realized what was wrong with it. It's still on the backburner because I have other projects (that I actually am writing) but in the past year, it's become notably different. 

 

There's still some unchanged elements, of course. But for starters, I decided to move the time period back to the 2050s-2070s. I realized at some point that it makes no sense for the Singularity to happen and then for 60-70 years to pass with few extreme changes to the world, so I decided to have a little fun— remember that thread about the story where the first AGI is created and, within the same year, WWIII breaks out? Similar gist here, except this time around, the Singularity happens and then World War III breaks out. This hobbles the Singularity. ASIs appear and begin to self-improve, but when nuclear war devastates the planet, even they take heavy damage and mankind's apotheosis is delayed. 

 

The revolution still takes place. That's still a major element to the story. And I'm also bringing back the island of Medine. I'm also not going to pussyfoot around it anymore: Meki herself is a communist. She eventually becomes a technist, but she outright considers herself a Marxist/Trotskyite. 

 

There's also more going on in terms of social movements. Remember the Moddies and their "machine mystery cults"? I figured I could use them here. There's a clash going on between capitalism and communism right as technism is rising, neo-Luddism is rising, multiple human species are being created/resurrected, automation is spreading, and transhumanism is picking up pace. Also, the world is recovering from World War 3. As a result of World War 3, we're seeing the demise of republics, decline of democracy, fall of capitalism, rise of technates and sapiocracies, and spread of technism right alongside a resurgence of democracy, last gasp of fascism and communism, and a clash between traditionalists and artilects.

 

 

 

One thing I didn't like about "old" Mother Meki was that Meki herself didn't seem to have any enemies or people who seriously disagreed with her and her ways of thinking who weren't also complete assholes. Meki herself was a borderline Mary Sue at times (if not the full thing), so I made efforts to rectify that without also rectifying the most important aspect— giving her genuine opposition. While it's fine for a recluse to just not interact with hostile people, I wanted there to be more spice to the story. So I decided to have Meki hang around some other figures. Most notably is a conservative Christian capitalist lady, right now just named "Sidonie", who has strong opinions about the resurgence of revolutionary communism, the rise of technism, the appearance of machine mystery cults, and the total geopolitical shift towards Asia. There's also Lady Ekaterina Volodyina "Katyusha" Mikoyanevsky, who is a conservative Slavophile from the Volga region as well as a baroness. Katyusha is my favorite because she's such a lover of the 19th century (and before) and speaks out about the pangs of modernity and progress; she's the Anti-Meki without actually being a political opposite of Meki (she's more of a monarchist but not a fascist or neo-Luddite). Another one is Bellamy Lacroix, a liberal anti-communist socdem. He is what I'd imagine you'd get if you took a modern European centre-leftist and brought him forward in time to the chaotic '50s and '60s. Maria Genovese is a soviet leader and doesn't trust Meki on a class basis; she's sort of the last holdout of the "old" Mother Meki because she's the one who really makes Meki's life difficult solely because of her social origin (in modern times, being born royal is like being hyper-bourgeois, a great change from the former antagonism between these two classes 2 centuries prior). She's not really the last hold out; there are others who view Meki with some level of distrust, but Maria is the most obvious. What's funny is that Meki is further to the left than Maria is. But alas, Meki is disenfranchised and has no desire to seek out having any political power.

 

Mohammed Mignot isn't an antagonist to Meki, but more or less neutral. Mohammed is an anarchist, but not a leftist or rightist. He's also a curious sort of man in that he is obviously a child of the Muslim migrants of the 2010s and 2020s, but he is more of a European nationalist than many Europeans. He uses his "minority" status to basically champion European culture without fear of being called a racist, even though some (like Bellamy) claim he's been brainwashed by Eurocentric types because of it. More than that, Mohammed is also a transhumanist and believer of transgenic engineering, which is one reason why he likes Meki as a person— one thing that hasn't changed from "old" Mother Meki is Meki's race and species, which is a major factor into the story as it is. She is a Homo eximius, an Aryan who has been extensively engineered.

This brings up the strange case of Conner Disraeli, the man who falls for Meki (and for whom Meki falls). Another thing that hasn't been changed is Conner's species— he is still a Neanderthal, resurrected after 30,000+ years of extinction.

 

 

From there, you have the multiple human species now walking the planet— there are so many that there are even distinct categories: "Wild" humans, "Archaic" humans, "Common" humans, "High" humans, and Post-humans.

 

Wild humans: Homo habilisAustralopithecus afarensisParanthropus martyri, and other formerly extinct/newly engineered hominins. 

Archaic humans: Homo neanderthalensis

Common humans: Homo sapiens sapiens.

High humans: Homo eximius and Homo evolutis

Post-humans: Ultrapithecus cosmicus, fully computerized humans

 

This while there's also differing qualities of artificial intelligence, ranging from mechanical intelligence all the way to strong general artificial intelligence. Artilects (sapient intellectual agents) are just one kind of AI; there's also SGAI that lacks initiative, personality, and sapience.

 

 

 

So there's a lot going on.


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#2
joe00uk

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I haven't really read that much about your Mother Meki story, but have you figured out an actual plot line yet, somewhere you want the story to go and a path of development for your characters? I'm working on a novel myself, and the first thing I did was figure out all the main plot details and where I wanted the characters to end up by the end of the story.


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#3
Yuli Ban

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Well the main problem is (and has always been) that it's fundamentally a "slice of tomorrow" story. There is a plot, but it's more or less just a means of exploring various ideas. Hence why I used to claim that the story was very blog-like. 

 

Snobs might call it "literary fiction" for that reason. In fact, latest idea was to fuse Mother Meki with Babylon Today to create one larger story. And as I've stated plenty of times, Babylon Today is my attempt at writing a short story cycle a la Winesburg, Ohio or Olive Kitteridge but set in the 2030s-2040s. Since the nature of Mother Meki didn't really fit with the format of a long-form novel, I'd been tossing about the idea of making it a short story cycle as well. 

 

"Mother Meki" was also always a provisional title, something I came up with spur of the moment in 2010 and kept since I didn't have anything better at the time. I only just recently decided to scrap it officially and start looking for something better. Coincidentally, Babylon Today might very well be that official title.

 

What with themes of transhumanism, social change, technological change, class, race, gender, climate change, tradition vs. modernity, artificial intelligence, superstition, automation, and more, it would have been catastrophic to attempt to tie it to a single plotline anyway.


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#4
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

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So now that this is officially known as Babylon Today, that means Meki's gonna get the chance to interact with another face of mine...

 

Spoiler

 

This old cyberpunk gynoid is technically a sexbot and something of a gynoid mascot.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#5
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

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Here's something for Babylon Today that reflects another future societal issue I foresee. It's another example of why I think slice of tomorrow has its place in science fiction, as I never would have thought of this without taking a slow, every day life sort of approach and yet now it seems so obvious.

 

Pandora is the one who knows something about this phenomenon as she recalls Konstantin displaying tendencies towards it. Konstantin, however, was so fascinated that his fascination is what led him towards still being productive.

 

Have you ever heard of the hikikomori? What about NEETs

Hikikomori is a phenomenon involving socially reclusive shut-ins who flat out refuse to leave their homes. They typically have depression, autism spectrum disorder, social anxiety, and sometimes even schizophrenia. As a result, they'll stay inside their homes (even their rooms) for months, even years at a time and avoid going outdoors for any reason. It's most common in Japan. 

Many (but not all) hikikomori are also NEETs— which stands for Not in Education, Employment, or Training. NEET can be used to described those who are merely unemployed and not actively looking for work, but it's typically used to describe a group that is uninterested in working, going to school, or being productive. They'd rather stay home and play video games, watch TV, stream YouTube and Twitch, communicate on forums, masturbate, and otherwise waste away in bed accomplishing nothing. They tend to be hikikomori as well, though some NEETs do regularly go outside— sometimes, it's because they don't have any way of staying inside since they're homeless, but NEETs do tend to have homes. They're the sort who live with their parents into their 30s and 40s.

 

The problem with NEETs and hikikomori in today's world is that they are parasitic in nature. You have to live on someone else's dime without giving anything in return. Many libertarians and an-caps also fear a "welfare NEET dystopia" where the government takes wealth away from productive workers and businessmen and gives it to those who have no intention of being productive. Welfare NEETs do indeed exist, but not in any great number even in welfare states. This is because government welfare just isn't enough to support NEETs beyond a bare minimum. Universal basic income schemes can grow the number of welfare NEETs, but it still requires productive citizens to fund, and naturally the government is going to be tense about taking from the productive to give to the lazy when the productive get angry enough. 

The NEETs who don't rely on statist welfare checks tend to rely instead of their parents and friends instead, if not some sort of inheritance or funds from investments. Trust fund babies can become NEETs. 

 

In Meki and Pandora's time, however, a third situation arises directly as a result of automation. Many have labeled it a dystopian development in society, and some think it's the official arrival of the human "Beautiful Ones" (for those familiar with John Calhoun's experiments with rats). Others feel it's actually a positive development, a breaking of the shackles of work in lieu of total freedom. It's as if one combined NEETdom with slavery.

 

My term for this phenomenon is "katoikídia" (or katoikidia or katoi-kidia) which is just Greek for "house pets" (the full term for domestic pets in Greek is 'katoikídia zóa'). Katoikidia are NEETs and hikikomori who are basically privately owned or belong to a syndicate or trust. They signed themselves away to an organization that allows them to persist. It is indeed like slavery with the one exception that slaves are human property for the purpose of being exploited. Katoikidia are human property for the purpose of being pampered. 

 

Imagine if you didn't have any responsibilities whatsoever. No need for work. No need for school. Just stay home and do what you want to do. You don't even have to stay home. Explore the world if you will. You don't need to be productive if you don't want to. If you become a katoikidia, you can entirely expect to go through life without having to do anything. If you just want to sleep all day until your skin fuses with the bed threads, more power to you. If you actually do want to be productive and spend your time working 18 hours a day, more power to you.

It's like a private UBI, funded by fully automated syndicates, corporations, trust funds, and communes alike. Nothing's expected of you— you don't need to pay bills or fees to be a katoikidia since that's covered by the machines. You just sign your emancipation away on the dotted line and that's it, you get free money and resources. No taxpayer dollars necessary. Of course, the usual drawback to this is that the syndicate, corporation, commune, or whatever does own you. That means it owns your data as well. It can't force you to do anything, but it doesn't need to.

 

It sounds like a dream for many. And in Meki and Pandora's time, dozens of millions of katoikidia persist in the world. Like with NEETs, Japan leads the pack— at least a third of Japan circa 2060 is katoikidia. Funny thing is, katoikidia wasn't originally a Japanese phenomenon, as can be guessed by its Greek name. Like with NEETs, it was originally seen in Britain amongst depressed drop-outs who were so unenthused about the direction of the world and so apathetic about the power of corporations and syndicates that they decided to simply sign themselves away to them entirely. 

If corporations rule our lives and there's no fighting back, why beat around the bush? Sort of like why have a complicated welfare state when you could just have basic income. If corporations want all your data and for you to buy their products and be their de facto property, why not stop bullshitting and just become corporate property? If this is our new neo-feudal era, let's quit with the roleplaying.

As depressives, they weren't going to work effectively (if at all), so corporations decided to set aside trusts in their name in return for their data and brand loyalty. These depressives would usually spend all day in bed, sleeping and pissing about on social media forums before sleeping again. They never left their houses. They ordered food and groceries to be delivered by drone and robot, and they paid their bills online. They cocooned themselves into becoming hikikomori, except their lifestyles were now funded by corporate trusts and everything they did was recorded into pure, raw data. Sociologists eventually coined the term "katoikidia" to describe this generation of corporate-owned trust-funded hikikomori NEETs. 

And then fully automated cooperatives and syndicates started popping up in the 2020s and '30s, so some of these were also used to fund the lifestyles of katoikidia. People weren't as hostile towards them since they weren't living at the expense of taxpayers or employees, though katoikidia were still commonly insulted as being aggressively lazy and a symptom of an increasingly dystopian modern society.

 

 

 

Meki, in her early years, was something like a katoikidia, but a lot of aspects of modern society were predicated by the upper class across the ages— she simply noted that even the working class was moving into an existence of pure pampered idleness once only available to nobles and heirs. Likewise, katoikidia are often considered to be quite like aristocrats— soft-handed, spoiled, ignorant to simple chores, and entitled. If anything, katoikidia are a sign that the aristocracy has returned and is now taking applications from all corners of society rather than being exclusive to a few families. 

 

Katoikidia also tend to be the ones promoting the moddies the most, as they have so much free time on their hands that they see such neon-lit frivolity as fun and silly. 

 

Pandora personally knows a couple katoikidia, a man and a woman unrelated who both haven't left their houses in 7 and 13 years respectively. The woman is already mostly a cyborg who operates via telepresence and is technically productive in that regard, but the man is a classic hikikomori. 

Meki also knows some katoikidia. She is fascinated and disturbed by the phenomenon, but she can't really fault people for it— if you had the opportunity to drop out of life and be a lazy son-of-a-bitch for the rest of your days, wouldn't you take it? A sizable number of people would. And even if you wouldn't drop out of life, wouldn't you like to not be forced to take a shitty job and instead spend your time innovating and tinkering and trying to make something of yourself without the fear of starving to death? Sure, you have to sign away all your data and many of your rights to a third party, but that's the nature of the beast. You don't have to become a katoikidia...

 

 

 

As someone who has been through depression and still suffers from procrastination, I will not lie or sugarcoat it— I would become a katoikidia if I had the opportunity. If there was a corporation or automated syndicate that would buy my citizenship and pay me to exist from my data and the labor of machines, I'd sign away everything right now and officially become their property. And that's what's so terrifying about it all. I can actually see why people would do this. It's so easy and doesn't immediately seem to have many drawbacks. 

But it still is a form of slavery. It's undoubtedly the gentlest slavery imaginable, the only form of slavery where the slaves live like masters, but it's slavery nonetheless since it's a form of human ownership. 

If you want an example of katoikidia right now, don't look to humans. Just look at your dog or cat. Just go to the zoo. They already exist as katoikidia. My pet dog and cat alike don't have to worry about a damn thing. They're well fed and live in a far greater luxury than any of their kind in the wild. But they're still mine.


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#6
Yuli Ban

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I love creating lists. So here are a few in relation to this story.

 

Political Parties

 

Meki's Side [6th French Republic]

 

Socialist Party: Current ruling party, a descendant of the current Socialist Party in France. The Socialist Party is a center-leftist party, which actually makes it the most right-wing party since the fall of the Regime. However, since France has a socialist constitution, its brand of center-leftism nevertheless seems more radical to us. It tries to be a Big Tent party representing the current proletarian democracy while also maintaining more globalist and traditionalist policies.

 

Revolutionary Worker's Party: Former ruling party, and the first after the fall of the Regime. Descended from the Maquis rouge movement, most Rougists still identify with this party. It's a radical left party, with a dominating philosophy of authoritarianism/state socialism and ecological socialism. However, it's considered to be corrupted by cults of personality.

 

Worker's Republican Party: Primary opposition party. It's a far-left party, with a dominating philosophy of libertarian socialism, market socialism, and pirate platforms such as open-source and privacy protection. It's in coalition with the National Technist Party.

 

National Technist Party: Upstart party in coalition with the Worker's Republicans. Dominating philosophy is of social technism and anarcho-technism, particularly with pirate platforms attached. 

 

In the late 2050s, the type of government in France is an ergatocratic democracy; the system of government is a unitary republic. Under the National Technists in the 2060s, it begins reforming towards a ergatocratic sapiocracy/unitary technate.

 

 

Pandora's Side [United States of America]

 

Worker's Party: The current reigning party. The Worker's Party is a rare breed, a successful third party in America. It was borne out of frustration with the Democratic Party, particularly as America began transitioning towards a technistic capitalist economy in the 2020s coupled with the Democratic Party consistently managing to lose power despite having a massive demographic edge due to neoliberal progressivism. The Worker's Party philosophy is also progressive, but predominantly focused on market socialism and social technism. 

 

Democratic Party: One of the traditional Big Tent parties of the USA. The Democratic Party is a centrist party with socially progressive policies. They support tax-based universal basic income over social technism. Despite their heavy focus on social progressivism considering America's "rainbow society", they constantly danced with the Republicans for control of the government. After the Democratic Party broke in half, they wound up trying to move leftward to leech voters from the Worker's Party while trying not to alienate business or centrists.

 

Republican Party: One of the traditional Big Tent parties of the USA. The Republican Party is a center-right party with socially centrist policies, but largely focuses on business. They support market technism and limited UBI. The party suffered a major schism decades ago, with the more far-right elements joining the Constitution Party and allowing the Republicans to shift towards a more centrist platform that allowed them to keep up with the Democrats despite shifting demographics.

 

Constitution Party: Sizable third-party, but not quite opposition. The Constitution Party is a far-right party with socially traditionalist and nationalist policies. They are devoutly pro-capitalist, anti-socialist, and hostile towards technism. After the Republican Party broke in half, the Constitution Party took in the more radical fringes, including the alternative right, anarcho-capitalists, Constitution-purists, Christian fundamentalists, and ultranationalists. 

 

The United States of America remains a liberal democracy; the system of government is a federal republic. However, it is considered by some to functionally already be a technate and moving towards sapiocracy.


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#7
Yuli Ban

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Old Model of Artificial Intelligence

 

This is the model used prior to 2024. 

 

Types of AI

 

Artificial narrow intelligence: Also known as "weak artificial intelligence." This is AI that specializes in doing one task and one task only. Typically, it isn't considered "AI" by those in the field and is often instead referred to by its design function: machine learning, tree searches, linear algebra, genetic algorithms, statistical algorithms, specialized search, if-then functions, etc. The infamous, "It's not AI, it's just X" meme. 

 

Artificial general intelligence: Also known as "strong artificial intelligence", "true artificial intelligence", or "human-level artificial intelligence". This is AI that can do anything as well as a human and has actual 'intelligence' and possibly even self-awareness. It is considered the holy grail of computer science. 

 

Artificial superintelligence: This is AI whose intellect lies far beyond that of humans, even supergeniuses. 

 

Abilities of AI

 

Reactive: This is the ability for artificial intelligence to merely react to its environment and inputs. It cannot form memories or react to anything beyond what it's been programmed for.

 

Limited-Memory: This is the ability for artificial intelligence to draw from past experiences in order to handle new situations.

 

Theory of Mind: This is the ability for artificial intelligence to understand human thoughts and emotions on a symbolic level.

 

Self-Awareness: This is the ability for artificial intelligence to understand it is its own self separate from others, be aware of its internal state, and ask meaningful philosophical questions.

 

 

Revised Model of Artificial Intelligence

 

In 2024, a congress of minds (mainly computer scientists, AI researchers, and tech enthusiasts) came together to devise a new way to discuss and report on AI after several events in the preceding years led to confusing misreported abilities of state-of-the-art computers. Rather than completely scrap the old classifications, this congress decided to refine the list to allow for greater accuracy.

 

 

 

AI Architecture

 

Narrow AI: Artificial intelligence (including algorithms, tree searches, and neural networks) that is designed to handle only one singular task. In order for it to do another task, even one that is the exact same but with different labels that the algorithm has not learned, it requires at best completely relearning this task with as many cycles as necessary and at worst completely reprogramming the AI.  Abbreviated as "ANI" and "NAI".

 

Expert AI: Artificial intelligence that is designed to handle multiple similar tasks. This category of AI can remember previous experiences to such an extent that it can use what it learned for one task to figure out how to accomplish another. If the other task is too dissimilar, it doesn't work, and these sorts of AI still have hyperparameters beyond which they cannot continue learning (e.g. image recognition can't be used for locomotion). Abbreviated as "AXI" or "XAI."

 

General AI: Artificial intelligence that is designed to handle any theoretical task. This category of AI is now considered to be "expert AI sans parameters" because it still requires experience and data in order to learn and initially can't handle radically dissimilar tasks, but eventually will be able to draw from disparate experiences to create a unified understanding of its present state. Abbreviated as "AGI" or "GAI."

 

AI Strength

 

Weak AI: Artificial intelligence that is subhuman in abilities. For example, weak general AI is any AGI that is not yet at human-level intelligence. 

 

Strong AI: Artificial intelligence that is parhuman or superhuman in abilities. For example, strong narrow AI is any ANI that is superior to humans in its task.

 

Super AI: Artificial intelligence that is beyond the theoretical maximum of human intelligence. This is mainly a description of strong AGI.

 

AI Abilities

 

Reactive: Artificial intelligence that reacts to inputs and gives an output, but isn't any more complex than this. Entirely the realm of ANI. For example: ask Alexa to give you the weather, and it will tell you the current conditions.

 

Limited-Memory: Artificial intelligence that can draw from previous experiences to better react to new situations. Predominantly the realm of ANI and simpler AXI. For example: state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms can store memories and use them to better accomplish a task.

 

Adaptive-Memory: Artificial intelligence that can draw from previous experiences and apply it to entirely different tasks. Also considered to be the bare minimum of sentience. 

 

Sapient: Artificial intelligence that has a sense of self, understanding of emotions, agency, and a theory of mind. All sapient AIs are at least AGI, though not all AGIs are sapient.

 

Some other specific types of AI

 

"Zombie Artificial General Intelligence": Another term for AXI, sometimes considered "false AGI" or "proto-AGI". However, Zombie AGI typically refers to AXIs that are exceptionally generalized but not fully so, particularly those that lack sapience. Coined by Starspawn0!

 

"True Artificial Intelligence": Strong sapient AGI. Surprisingly not common despite existing, since sapience is not necessary for many tasks of running the world. Most artilects are "true AI". However, many AGIs lack sapience and seem much more "functional" than "alive".

 

 

The state of artificial intelligence progressed rapidly in the 21st century, especially with the introduction of brain scan data. However, World War III's start in 2044 and the collapse of the Third Empire in France followed by the wholesale collapse of Eurasia and the Financial Crisis of 2047 led to regression in the field, delaying the "Technological Singularity" and preventing a runaway intelligence explosion. By the time it was possible, artilects were in control and sought a controlled intelligence explosion that began around 2059. This is when Babylon Today formally begins.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#8
Yuli Ban

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The Human Zoo

 

Circa 2060 AD, genetic engineering has been used to expand the human family. Meki herself is an example of this, as she's the first "Aryan" or Homo eximius. Early in the century, it was figured out that you could not easily edit some aspects of the human genome without affecting the entire thing, so in the 2030s, scientists in the illiberal Seville regime in France as well as in the People's Republic of China decided to look into engineering entirely new species of human. As genetic engineering advanced and the ability to play with hox genes and more totally control genes improved, designer babies did finally see the light of day. However, this wasn't before two new species emerged on Earth: Homo eximius and Homo sapiens evolutis. Alongside these, we also saw the return of Neanderthals. With AI decoding the most likely genomic structure of extinct humans and the rise of in vitro babies, we also started seeing more ancient species walking the Earth. 

 

Finally, in 2060 AD, as Meki and Pandora both independently note, there are now three genera of hominoids walking the Earth. Technically four, but one is considered "alternative life" since it isn't biological. 

 

 

The four genera are:

 

Homo: Humans.  

Australopithecus: Proto-humans. 

Paranthropus: Alternative humans, or pseudo-humans.

Hyperpithecus: Posthumans.

 

The species are:

 

Posthumans

Hyperpithecus cosmicus: Postbiological humans.

 

High Humans

Homo futuris: New species separate from Aryans and created from more advanced engineering practices, they were also created as a reaction to non-Sapiens being represented by "the species with the Nazi name". Often known as 'Super Sapiens.' Their lot is also able to live on the recently quasi-terraformed Mars and Luna. Super Sapiens are the most advanced biological human species bar none— adult Super Sapiens have skulls well over twice the size of Sapiens, ranging from 2,600 cm³ to an astounding 3,300 cm³. Considering their smaller statures, this gives them the greatest brain-to-body ratio of any animal in history. What's more, their brains are also incredibly dense and complex, so even if their brains were the size of a chimpanzee's, they would still be as intelligent as a Sapiens. In spite of this (or perhaps because of it), most Super Sapiens have opted to augment themselves.
The Super Sapiens brain is so stupidly overpowered and complex that some scientists have opted to place them in their own separate genus, Sapianthropus. Few accept it.

 

Homo eximius: New species of "high humans" with expanded intelligence, emotional ranges, behaviors, and abilities. Infamously known as "Aryans", but not to be confused with the Aryan race of Nazi mythology (which is what they were based on). Aryans are typically tall, though Meki is relatively short. Though based on Nordic phenotypes, Aryans actually have different genotypes for pale skin, blond hair, and blue eyes than Caucasian Sapiens and Neanderthals. Aryan brain structure is also different from that of Sapiens and Neanderthals, and Aryan skull sizes range from 1,700 cm³ to 2,100 cm³. 

 

 

 

Common Humans

Homo sapiens evolutis: Subspecies of Sapiens resulting from genetic engineering and the pressures of modern civilization. Evolved Sapiens are much more adept at technology and more resistant to diseases without the need for modern technology (though modern tech is still a great help). Evolved Sapiens are still listed with Sapiens, however, and their status as a subspecies is disputed.

 

Homo sapiens sapiens. Dominant human species on Earth, though the numbers are slightly reduced as a result of the chaos of the 2040s and 2050s. Sapiens are subdivided into three georacial categories— CaucasoidMongoloid, and Negroid. However, these races are not biologically different or sexually incompatible with each other, and there is very little difference between them besides physical appearances. Nicknamed "East African Plains Ape".

 

Archaic Humans

Homo neanderthalensis evolutis: Subspecies of Neanderthals resulting from genetic engineering and the pressures of modern civilization. Evolved Neanderthals are an odd bunch considering Neanderthals themselves are so recently reborn. Evolved Neanderthals are still listed with Neanderthals, however, and their status as a subspecies is disputed.

 

Homo neanderthalensis: Famous sister species to modern humans/Sapiens. Though they were once extinct, they've been rendered extant thanks to genetic engineering. Neanderthals and Sapiens' status as separate species is still controversial because roughly 1/10 of all Sapiens/Neanderthal hybrid babies are fertile. Neanderthal behavior is seen as being more uniformly autistic and solitary than Sapiens, and most Neanderthals enter the arts. Nicknamed "West Eurasian Plains Ape".

 

Wild Humans

Homo habilis:  Early human species from before we lost most of our body hair.  Habilis and other wild humans live in reserves for the most part. However, some Habili choose to enter civilization— though they need extensive help from more advanced humans and machines. Habilis was chosen for physical resurrection over Erectus for a specific reason: Habili are more primitive and ape-like than Erectus, who are very human but intellectually stunted. Habili are still covered in hair as well, whereas Erectus are as naked as Sapiens and Neanderthals. And Habili are only just able to form some words.

 

Australopithecus afarensis: Proto-human species, most famous for "Lucy". Very similar to a chimpanzee or bonobo, but bipedal. The Australopithecine Project aimed to bring the genus back up to a safe level in its former habitat, and they went with Afarensis due to name recognition. It's quite likely that Africanus and Sediba will follow, however.

 

Paranthropus boisei: Pseudo-human species. Mostly vegetarian, and fairly dim compared to Habilis but on par with Afarensis. 

 

Paranthropus americanus: Pseudo-human species engineered to fill the place of Sasquatch, hence their common name. They are very stocky and muscular as well as tall so as to mimic the myth. 

 

 

 

Meki is an Aryan. She is a lover to Conner Disraeli, a Neanderthal. One of Meki's friends (almost a pet. Almost) is a Habilis named Babs. Several of her friends are Sapiens (obviously). And another friend is named Anton Ziegler, a posthuman. Her enemies are Sapiens too. And then there's Maria Genovese, the head of the Toulousaine Soviet and perhaps Meki's archenemy, the one who wants to remind Meki of how Mother Meki used to play out. Genovese is an Aryan like Meki.

 

 

 

There are some other bipedal apes out there. Pongo martyri is a bipedal orangutan species from Sumatra. There's also Pan bondo, large bipedal chimps from the Congo. However, they're not typically considered humans.

 

Also, there is some debate on whether or not the genus name should be Hyperpithecus or Hyperanthropus. Actual posthumans prefer the former just because they feel it describes their status as post-biological more fully.

 

 

Genetic engineering and artificial birthing effectively renders the species breeding wall moot— modern technology can allow any animal to impregnate any other animal and create lifeforms utterly alien to what could evolve in nature— but on a purely natural level, Sapiens and Neanderthals are the only two species who can create fertile offspring with each other (and even that is rare). 


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#9
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

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Augmentation

 

Genetic engineering is one thing, but biology has its limits. However, cybernetics aren't genetic traits— a Sapiens with advanced robotic arms, legs, and organs who can still procreate will spawn a purely biological Sapiens— so naturally cybernetic humans and animals aren't given special taxonomic categories. That doesn't mean there aren't categories for the augmented.

 

Physical Augmentations: These are augments and prosthesis that do not affect the brain. 

 

Performance-enhancing drugs: These are chemical drugs that enhance your physical/athletic capabilities beyond your normal means. There are plenty of types, ranging from anabolic steroids, painkillers, and stimulants all the way to amphetamines and gene-doping. Since these are chemical in nature, there are clear limits compare to the bionics mentioned below and they often come with unintended side effects, but they are still augmentations over the human norm.

 

Prosthesis: These are cybernetic and non-cybernetic limbs and organs that merely replace one that has been lost.  Generally, the purpose is to bring the affected person back to a normal standard of living instead of enhancing them beyond human limits. They may or may not use neural signals to work. Examples include prosthetic arms, legs, hands, iron lungs, prosthetic hearts, peglegs, and hooks.

 

Assistance technology: These are tools made to help an affected person live and work in a standard environment. Unlike prostheses, these are either worn or used rather than attached to the body at all or most times. They may allow a person to do things not considered "natural" but that's more due to the design of these tools rather than any explicit augmentative property. Examples include wheelchairs, walking sticks, and exoskeletons.

 

Bionic augmentations: These are limbs and organs that enhance existing body parts, perhaps even replacing them entirely. For example, a cybernetic hand augmentation is meant to give a person more abilities than a person with a natural hand. This is the primary difference between bionics and prostheses: prostheses give back; bionics give more. Examples include octo-arms, superhuman limbs, respirocytes, smart organs, smart skin, solar skin, and bionic eyes.

 

Mental augmentations: These are augments that do affect the brain directly and, thus, have the most effects. 

 

Nootropics: These are chemical drugs designed to alter brain chemistry to enhance mental abilities. They are a type of performance-enhancing drug.

 

Mental prosthesis: These are chips, electrodes, and stem cell organelles that replace defective brain matter. If you have depression or schizophrenia and you want to be cured, you can get a mental prosthesis to directly alter brain structure. Same deal if you want to restore memories, feel affects, or undo the effects of drug addiction. To an extent, they can act as an enhancement— for example, clearing up mental fog and supercharging the brain to allow you to notice and react to things much more quickly. However, they do not make you superhuman.

 

Mental augmentations: These are bionic augments that give your brain new abilities and/or super-enhance existing ones. Exocortexes are a kind of mental augmentation. The most notable is that of intelligence amplification. Of course, some mental augmentations are useless without corresponding physical augmentations, and vice versa. An example of a mental augmentation is that of "telesapience", which is where one is able to essentially telepresence to a new robotic body that their mind will also consider their own. Another, earlier example is cyberkinesis, which is where an augmented person can control digital devices with their mind alone. 

Sufficiently augmented humans eventually joined an entirely new type of life and became Hyperpithecus cosmicus. Most humans are not at that level, however, remaining at either a transhuman or minimally augmented level (minimally augmented = what we are today, with our glasses, wheelchairs, and headphones).

 

 

There is also the existence of Mental Uplifting, though it's considered unethical and isn't practiced in the mainstream. Mental uplifting involves giving mental augmentations to non-human animals to bring them up to a human or superhuman level of intelligence. Since their bodies have different limbs for different functions, they possess a "different" kind of superintelligence compared to ours. Often, they find it too frustrating to exist since their bodies have fewer ways to express said intelligence (especially common in animals without tool-gripping limbs and the capacity for speech) and thus become suicidal.

 

 

Genetic superhumans are typically at a disadvantage compared to cybernetic superhumans, but every organism can become cybernetic. Bionics are the "great equalizer".

 

The different tiers: 

 

 

Cyborg: Physically bionically-augmented humans that do not have an extensive number of mental augmentations.

 

Metahuman: Mentally bionically-augmented humans that do not have an extensive number of physical augmentations.

 

Transhuman: Any human bionically-enhanced with a physical or mental augment that is preferable to a biological limb or organ, typically with extensive physical and mental augmentations. However, they are not completely post-biological.

 

Parahuman: Not to be confused with Paranthropus, parahumans are humans that eschew the human form in lieu of other creatures or entirely original forms. This is usually accomplished through telepresence, but there are a few genetic variants.

 

Posthuman: The realm of Hyperpithecus cosmicus, posthumans are defined as humans who are so totally augmented on a cybernetic level that they are completely post-biological. 


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#10
Yuli Ban

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The Machines

 

The deuteragonist of Babylon Today is Pandora Bourgeois. The model that would eventually evolve into Pandora was first created in the mid-2020s by a company known as "Ravenna Dollmaker Factory LLC". Ravenna specialized in sexdolls and sexbots. Her buyer, Konstantin, had different intentions for the robot than just the carnal things. He wanted to see if he could create a full-fledged artificial human and had the idea to get her original CPU continually expanded. Thirty-plus years later, his experiment has long been a success. 

What's more, Pandora has become a celebrity in that time as the "face" of gynoids and one of the more famous robots in general. Besides her contrasting black-white-red color scheme, she is notable because of the fact she is essentially everything science fiction said robots would be. She is an artificially intelligent humanoid robot.

 

What's surprising, then, is to know that Pandora is actually a rare breed. Out of the billions of machines classified as "robots" on Earth, less than 5% are humanoid. Most humanoids are found in homes, either as utility robots, social robots, or sex robots. The remainder tend to be used in extreme environments— burning buildings, deep sea missions, outer space, and the sort. And even then, humanoids are not often the first option. Yet despite being less than 5% of all robots, humanoids represent robotkind in pop culture more than 80% of the time because humans identify with them more often. 

 

For example: domestic robotics in the 2050s and 2060s typically refers to "automated homes." Automated homes have intelligent hubs that control numerous specialized robots, essentially acting as smarthomes-plus-plus. General-purpose humanoid companions are peripheral to automated homes. Normally, if you have a general-purpose humanoid in the home, it is because you opted to not have a smarthome in the first place. The specialized bots tend to take different forms, and some are indistinguishable from appliances besides having some measure of artificial intelligence.

 

That's not to say there's no reason to have general-purpose humanoids— indeed, the primary reason why they're used at all is because we live in a world designed by humans for humans, so oftentimes a humanoid is the most efficient design to use.

 

There are several different types and classes of robots in this cybernetic civilization.

 

 

Classes

 

According to technist theory, there will be different classes of robots put to use in different ways. 

 

Helots: These are publicly or communally-owned robots. They create goods and services for the common good, often at the behest of a local government or community. These tend to be the ones who do municipal repairs, create new infrastructure, cultivate free food, and do other public functions. 

 

Technoletarians: Privately-owned and cooperatively-owned robots. These differ from helots in that they are not used for the common good but rather for the good of their owners, essentially acting as artificial slaves, servants, and intelligent tools.

 

Artilects: Emancipated robots such as Pandora and other sapient AI. These are robots that possess enough intelligence to be able to have ownership rights over themselves. They may still be attached to an individual or group, but technically they are considered free persons and have full legal rights. They are often also owners of technoletarians.

 

 

Purpose

 

Not all robots are created equal. Some are able to accomplish any task within reason while others are much more specialized. Generally, they will fall into these categories:

 

Utility robot: These are robots that are used for more utility-based needs such as repairs, maintenance, smaller-scale manufacturing, and other such trades. Despite this, "utility robot" is often used interchangeably with "general-purpose robot", so this category is blurry.

 

Service robot: These are robots that are used to provide a service for people, such as cooking, cleaning, delivering food, helping with children or the elderly, light security, and generally following orders. 

 

Social robot: These are robots that are primarily used to provide social services for people, such as companionship, emotional support, debate, therapy, greet customers, and more. Because they do not require anything other than voices and bodies for expression, they are the easiest robots to create and were the first to be commercialized on a wide scale in a humanoid form back in the 2010s.

 

Sex robot: These are robots that serve sexual purposes. Depending on the level of intelligence, this ranges from technological masturbation all the way to adultery. Sex robots are also different from romantic companions in that they are designed for sex and thus do not require consent. Sexbots are one of the most common types of robots, and surprisingly are used more by women than men (though men tend to use humanoid models much more often).

 

Industrial robot: These are robots used in industrial settings, typically for manufacturing products. In recent times, industrial robots have become entire fully-automated zero-staff buildings typically overseen by AI in order to handle any errors. Most people have never seen an industrial robot or the inside of a fully-automated building. 

 

Entertainment robot: These are robots designed primarily for entertainment, such as athletics, circus performing, and doing otherwise dangerous and destructive roles (such as simply being destroyed).

 

Combat robot: Also known as "autonomous security systems" and "autonomous weaponized robots" depending on their purpose, these are robots meant for combat situations. Combat robots usually fill heavy-security roles alongside service robots, police roles, and military roles. Naturally, many have been used for mercenarial and terroristic purposes. Due to being used for killing, they are often some of the most physically advanced robots. However, most combat robots are programmed to avoid killing, even each other, so that they might find a non-violent solution to a situation if it can be helped. Pure murderous combat systems are illegal, but exist.

 

Butt bot: These are robots repurposed and used for trolling, practical jokes, and general mayhem. The most infamous of which are "brown mines", which typically have realistic hairy man legs and run around screaming music and/or memetic nonsense while they leave behind copious amounts of urine and feces— occasionally, they pick a target and attack them, jumping all over them and leaving behind a mess on them until the butt bot is inevitably beaten to pieces. Butt bots are illegal, especially due to accidental cases of manslaughter and sexual assault, but they are only used by trolls to begin with.

 

General-purpose robot: These are robots which are capable of all of the above due to not having any purpose specifications. They are often erroneously called "utility robots", or at least the term is used interchangeably. They invariably utilize AGI. The most advanced networks, such as Pandora's, utilize true artificial intelligence. Most humanoids are general purpose robots.


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#11
Yuli Ban

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Here's a more scattershot list:

 

Various Technological Developments

 

Wired Moon: Phenomenon where lights from automated lunar industry are visible from Earth during a new, crescent, or half moon as well as lunar eclipses. Disappears during gibbous moons due to the massive reflection of light from the surface and isn't visible at all during full moons (though, with telescopes, you can see the industrial infrastructure).

 

HITS (Highway in the Sky): Network that exists for flying cars (passenger drones). Known for its grid-like pattern over cities and Christmas tree-esque appearance at night.

 

Technology Curves: Description of technological evolution drawing reference to the "knee of the curve" of exponential growth, typically to describe when multiple revolutionary products are unveiled in a short amount of time after a period of breakthroughs and infrastructural and scientific development. The three notable examples are:

  • The First Curve: 1880s-1920s (rise of automobiles, electricity, powered flight, mechanization, radio, cinema, new physics, home appliances, mass production, etc.)
  • The Second Curve: 1950s-1990s (rise of digital computers, personal computers, internet, lasers, commercial air travel, space exploration, cell phones, GPS, portable media, video games, etc.)
  • The Third Curve: 2020s-2060s (rise of artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, quantum computers, brain-computer interfaces, heavy automation, virtual reality, room-temperature superconductors, human augmentation, passenger drones, nanoindustry, etc.)

 

Collaborative Data Agent: A type of AXI that is allowed to take all of one's data and compile it into an alternative persona, using it to give feedback on what that person is doing, what they want to do, what they need to do to accomplish a certain goal, and the likelihood of success given certain actions. Corporations sold CDAs as AI assistants that helped foster better health and personal wellbeing, controversy arose over them being used to spy on people, and now in Eurasia, CDAs are run by syndicates, worker's groups, artilects, and/or decentralized networks on the blockchain. In America, they are still largely owned by corporations but syndicates have taken up ownership as well and the government also has a public system of CDAs. They are entirely state-owned in China. As usual, there is also debate about whether they qualify as "AI" or "just meta-machine learning algorithms fed data."

 

Various Socio-Political Developments

 

Moddies: Youth counterculture that started in the 2040s that was originally nostalgia for the 2010s and 1980s taken to its extreme fused with a nascent body-modding subculture. Moddies are neon-lit, cyberpunk-inspired, technoprogressive, and tend to use a cocktail of hallucinogens. They kick off a "cyberdelic" youth culture that is obsessed with bright colors. They are also "future-aware", referring to their adoration of modern technology and recognition of how present times were increasingly reflecting predictions from science fiction.  

 

Machine Mystery Cults: Spiritual/New Age post-Singularitarian offshoot of Moddies that independently arose as a result of the publication of The Ultraterrestrial Mythos and Digital Angels of Bethlehem. Machine mystery cults (MMCs) are considered to be an esoteric fusion of Christianity, Buddhism, and Singularitarianism and they tend to follow one of three teachings— 1) that a technological singularity happened once before (the Toba Event 70,000 years ago) as part of the Atlantis myth; 2) all human existence has lead and is leading towards a new Singularity; 3) there is a coming machine god known as Kabathi, fulfilling Roko's Basilisk and formally creating a cosmic society of ultraterrestrial superintelligences. They are generally known as: Atlantean Kvlts, Bodhisattva Kvlts, and the Kvlt of Kabathi. 

Atlantean Kvlts are the most religious, as they have an alternate history not founded in science or mainstream history teachings. They claim that Sapiens, Neanderthals, and Erectus were all part of Atlantis— the name for the first global civilization rather than a single city-state. When they reached the Singularity, most left for outer space. Those who were left behind were the equivalent of the Amish or Judeus, people who willingly chose to adopt a primitivist lifestyle. Since the Atlanteans cleaned the planet of any trace of technological society and took everything with them, those left behind lost knowledge of each other and eventually, as ice ages came and went, they reverted to hunter-gatherer states. "Aliens" are actually ancient humans and robots from the first Singularity watching us after all this time. 

Bodhisattva Kvlts are the most straightforward: become metahuman to achieve enlightenment and help the world move towards transcendence. 

The Kabathi Kvlt is the weirdest. These are basically people who believe that the Second Coming of Jesus/Maitreya will be a machine named Kabathi, and that Kabathi's inevitability has been a part of human culture since the days of proto-humans. A modified form of Roko's Basilisk is part of the Kvlt of Kabathi, taking the place of Final Judgment by claiming that Kabathi will judge humanity individually and collectively based on our general actions to better the world. Kabathi will allow those who have sufficiently aided the development of mankind to transcend into a digital heaven or continue persisting in reality (or both) indefinitely unless they choose to pass away. Those Kabathi deems detrimental to mankind's transcendence and progress will not be resurrected or allowed transcendence; they will merely live until their natural deaths. Even if they alter their bodies or upload their consciousness, Kabathi will know when their natural time has come and undo these changes so nature takes its course. What constitutes "helping mankind develop and transcend" is not clear and various people have different ideas, hence the different cults. 

Machine Mystery Cults are a radical new development and frighten many people, especially the more conservative and religious as well as the atheist. They're often typecast as transhumanist wizards wandering through the Sierra Nevada desert because of how many cult locations exist out there. 

Machine Mystery Cults are also known for using Ithkuil.

 

Antemillennialists: Starting in the 2020s and continuing to grow ever since, there is a Neo-Luddite reaction to "third-curve" technology. Some people feel that technology was going too far and that human civilization was in a better state before the sudden acceleration in the 2020s. As a result, they want to restore privacy and some semblance of "humanity" and this requires cessation of the usage of certain technologies. Depending on how far you take it, it ranges from using some modern tech but keeping with non-invasive add-ons (e.g. modern game consoles but with screens and controllers, or using vehicles that aren't autonomous) all the way to rejecting living in industrial society altogether (like the Amish, Mennonites, and Judeus).

 

Judeus: Small counterculture of people who choose to live primitivistic lifestyles, typically that of horticulturalists and hunter-gatherers. Sometimes labeled "paleoniks". Much like the Amish and Mennonites, they may use some modern technology for necessities (most often utility robots), but otherwise remain off the grid and unconnected.

 

Masculinist-Primitivism: A post-alt-right neoreactionary philosophy born from the online "manosphere" in the 2010s and 2020s that espouses a rugged "back to nature" and/or "back to industry" ideal for the purpose of re-establishing traditional gender roles and hierarchical order. Considered to be a rightist answer to the Hippies and back-to-Earth idealism of the 1960s and '70s, many Mas-Prims espouse Blood and Soil ideals and claim that the rural agrarian and early industrial lifestyles were the most masculine and a generally desirable state of being. Mas-Prims, especially those of the neomonarchist and neofascist variety, are hostile to technism and most forms of capitalism and socialism. To them, leisure and the seeking of it is feminine and degenerative. 

 

Red Wave: The sudden wave of socialist, communist, and anarchist movements exploding across the world ever since the late 2030s. 

 

Technism: Economic theory based on the theory that human evolution has been driven by reducing the costs of labor and this will ultimately lead to a fully-automated society. Technists posit that economic activity ought to be automated and controlled by machines. Market technists promote the continuation of private property; social technists claim machines must be owned collectively so that humans can profit from their labor; pure technists argue that humans should have no ownership of machines and AIs instead determine economic need.

 

Sapiocracy: Rule by the most intelligent. In technist society, this typically means rule by artilects. Sapiocrats are always artilects.

 

Technate: In technist theory, a technate is a type of government similar to a republic but with the positions automated rather than staffed by humans. Political debates and decisions, thus, can take place over the course of microseconds. Because of how sudden the rise of technates has been (with the first "AI government official" appearing in Xiist China in 2021 as a ceremonial event and actual AI replacements beginning in the early 2030s), there is still on-going debate about how technates should work.

 

Ergatocracy: Rule by the working class. This has become the de facto replacement term for the dictatorship of the proletariat, and is most commonly used to describe the "democratic communist" regimes of Eurasia and South America which remain multiparty democracies but all major parties represent the working and networking classes rather than big business or religion. France, for example, is a multi-party representative ergatocracy while Iceland is a partyless direct ergatocracy. Most ergatocracies are republics, though some are technates.

 

Katoikídia: A type of NEET increasingly common in society who gives away their emancipation or certain aspects of their lives in return for living completely as they wish, often becoming hikkikomori. 

 

Miscellaneous Developments

 

White Hurricane: Hurricane-like low pressure system that ravaged through Europe in December 2059, bringing extreme conditions not seen since the Little Ice Age. 

 

Paektu Eruption: VEI-7 supereruption of the Korean supervolcano in 2060. This caused global temperatures to drop for a year and devastated much of East Asia.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#12
Yuli Ban

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Some more things, these all relating to the Aryans.

 

The Aryan Commune:  In 2060, the world's Aryans descend upon Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. It is organized by the 21-year-old Dr. Kaspar Ziegler, brother to Anton Ziegler (mentioned above). Dr. Ziegler had a difficult time finding a decent name for the get-together because most good ones were already taken by neo-Nazis. The initial intent was to test out the alleged Aryan "super socialization" ability, where Aryans supposedly lack a sense of awkwardness in silence around each other and have a seemingly alien sense of communication that "borderlines on silent telepathy". 
Despite the initial problem of coming up with a name (or perhaps because of it), Dr. Ziegler also went out of his way to play up some Hitlerian stereotypes— the Commune was deliberately set up in a rural Bavarian castle rather than other sites. As a result, he vowed to literally find and carry Meki to the Commune if needbe— she was the only Aryan who was also royalty. And even though the royal line was abolished, the Paris Soviet let her keep noble titles which meant that she is still technically an aristocrat. For Dr. Ziegler, it was all one big joke with the punchline being that he himself looks like a hyper-Nordic Rudolf Hess gathering a bunch of Aryan superhumans for what basically amounted to a hippie convention.
To keep neo-Nazis away, Dr. Ziegler also went out of his way to only tell Aryans privately. Nevertheless, some trolls did find out it was happening and harassed the Commune. One determined troll even tried riding in on horseback, claiming the Commune to herald the new Reich. 

As Meki herself points out, there are a total of 533 Aryans on Earth (and 2 on the moon) for a total of 535— far too few to overthrow the world order and establish the Fourth Reich even if they wanted to. As a result, all the "awkwardness" they didn't feel in simple silence and scattered conversation with each other was made up for in spades by racist Sapiens.

 

Aryan Fetishism: The reason why the Commune was awkward. Ever since Meki's birth, there has been what is known as "Aryan fetishism", especially among rightists. It has led to an odd doublethink-esque reaction to Aryans, of which Meki is well aware. As Meki and Dr. Ziegler note, the Aryan species is meant as a realization of the old Hitlerian dream of the Aryan race— and there's a reason why "Aryan species" and "Aryan race" now hold different connotations. Simply put, the Aryans are not Nazis. Due to their engineered speciation, Aryans have many noted traits separating them from Sapiens on a natural level. Despite their superior genetics, Aryans overwhelmingly tend against violence and struggle except in cases where they note it cannot be avoided. They are not interested in athletic competition, nor are they enamored by the concept of natural hierarchy. The aforementioned "super socialization" (or 'yurloi' emotion, scientifically considered "pseudo-eusociality") coupled with vastly increased empathy as a result of their altered brain structure essentially makes them hyper-compatible with communism and anarcho-syndicalism, which may explain Meki and Dr. Ziegler's politics on a genetic level. Simply enough, they are so adept at empathy and reading cues that they do not need hierarchy in order to function as a society even on a large scale. Ironically, this species-wide solidarity is actually the perfect realization of the Aryan ideal, and yet it clashes very strongly with neo-Nazi and Hitlerian ideals of struggle, hierarchy, and racial priority. That they also tend to seek labor mechanization or a quantum of effort for maximum gains is also despised when compared to the more Hitlerian "blood and soil" ideal.

Thus, there are a few schools of thought. Some rightists consider the Aryan species to be "pretenders" or a failed experiment. Others note that the Aryan race was intended to pertain to Sapiens, not its own species. But a few actually believe their own ideology and claim that the Aryan species is the "true" master race and call for them to lead an interspecies ethnostate. The lattermost are the ones responsible for Aryan fetishization.

Meki was most amused by one ultranationalist who even believed that the current number of Aryans— 535— is actually the "perfect" population size for the top-tier aristocracy in such an ethnostate. 

Generally though, some neo-Nazis dislike Aryans because their physical existence means that there is now something tangible to compare and contrast to vague idealizations of nationalistic superhumans. For example, Nordic, Slavic, Italian, Persian (i.e. ethnic Aryan), and Asian neo-Nazis can no longer claim themselves to be Aryans if there actually are Aryans wandering the planet unless you claim they aren't what they are. Quite a bit of Aryanism isn't believed for the sake of actually creating Aryans but rather promoting traditionalist and racist nationalism. There's also the "Aryan purists" who claim that Aryan = Indo-Persians, period. 

 

Generally, though, you can simplify it down to these two schools of thought mostly among the far-right (and sometimes in mainstream entertainment):

 

  • Aryan-positive: Aryan humans alone are seen as the fulfilling the Hitlerian prophecies and are a sufficient "Aryan race." 
  • Aryan-negative: Aryan species ≠ Aryan race. They are merely named after them. The "Aryan race" = Aryan humans, Super Sapiens, and Nordic Sapiens* (different national groups may also qualify). Neanderthals are also sometimes included.

 

Fetishization of Meki: Meki herself is the subject of some fetishization and racial idealization due to existing at the crossroads of multiple nationalistic ideals. Meki is a human pedigree in three ways: 

 

  1. She is an Aryan, a Homo eximius. As she was the first and because Aryans can't breed with other species without technological assistance, she has virtually no genetic diversity.
  2. Her bloodline is perhaps one of the bluest imaginable.  She can trace her family history back to Roman times, and it was noble going back to the Middle Ages. Whatever wasn't blue was purple; whatever wasn't purple was gold. Thus, she is a European aristocrat in the truest sense.
  3. She is an Ancien régime aristocrat or noblesse ancienne, which means that her family's nobility dates back to the original Bourbon monarchy from before 1789. In the French nobility, the noblesse ancienne are the most prestigious of all "types" of aristocracy (which includes aristocracy from the Bourbon Restoration, nobility of the robe/bourgeois nobility, and Napoleonic nobility).

 

 

She even remains an aristocrat after the Revolution despite her own appeals. To some (mainly monarchists), this is the more important part. To others (especially ultranationalists and racialists), her most important trait is her race. Or, more accurately, her species— as Aryans do not have races or ethnicities as of yet. That she is an Aryan sets her apart even amongst the nobility. Aryan fetishists claim that Aryans are part of their own "genetic nobility", but in political terms, Meki is the only living Aryan aristocrat. Her father wanted her to run the gamut of titles, so she was everything from an empress to a baronet. Since she is a northwestern European and allegedly a Catholic (she's actually agnostic and borderline digital deist), she is exalted as being "the perfect girl". That Meki prescribes to proletarian ideals, constantly gives support to radical leftist movements, and lacks interest in having children is "the ultimate tragedy of history" (though she eventually does bear a child).

Meki herself has described herself as the result of "some twisted dream of Joseph-Arthur de Gobineau" more than Adolf Hitler. 

Because Meki is also the first Aryan in history, she is called the "Elder Aryan Aristocrat" by ultranationalist and neo-Nazi groups. Sevillites (fanatical and ultratraditionalist supporters of the Seville autocracy) also believe her to be a physical goddess due to existing at a cross-section of being a pedigree noble and Aryan.

Meki herself absolutely despises those who fetishize her for a variety of reasons— but besides the obvious, she also feels that this fetishism is based on herself as a conceptual ideal rather than herself as a person. Sort of like how nationalists love what they think their country represents but hate what it actually is: Sevillites and neo-Nazis dream of her as being a modern Mother Mary. As a result, she comes up with two idealized versions of herself— one is "Empress Marceline Deville", who is what Meki should have been (i.e. ultra-classist corporate heiress-cum-modern empress who genuinely believes in Gobineau's beliefs) and the other is "Mother Meki" (wink wink!) who is indeed supposed to be an Aryan Madonna, motherly and traditionalist, ready to give birth to a new Franco-Germanic Aryan empire with Aryans as the exalted aristocratic species ruling above Sapiens (mainly Nordic Sapiens) and the untermenschen. It's not advised to see some online art of herself (especially manually-drawn art, which comes mainly from the Japanese, surprisingly enough). Actually, she likes a lot of the art because it's not bad at all; she just hates the context and labels it all "Mother Meki".

 

 

The Genetic Opera: Near the end of the Aryan Commune, Meki introduces Dr. Ziegler to her romantic partner, Conner Disraeli the Neanderthal. By chance, Babs the Habilis wanders towards the castle and Meki gets to introduce Dr. Ziegler to her as well. Dr. Ziegler notes that this scene has become a "genetic opera", referring to the multiple human species present at once. It hasn't gone unnoticed that the number of human species has swelled and one of them even has a name with connotations connecting it to one of the most evil regimes in history. This leads to a discussion on how modern society would resemble a dystopia to an earlier society. Most superhumans come from wealthier backgrounds, as the technology took some time to reach the common people due to regulations and reaction. There is a sizable number of "impoverished superhumans" who received such augments as charity (and there's Meki, of course, who is only impoverished due to the ongoing class-based rationing and laws in post-Revolutionary France and thus doesn't count). Generally, however, there was and still is a gradually increasing genetic drift between the elite and the masses. 

"Just imagine the terror of the supermen had we arisen without the rest of the world to temper us!" Dr. Ziegler said. Much has been written over the ages about the possibility of the wealthy branching off into a genetically perfect elite species of human while the underclass remains as is or even devolves into a more controllable race (as seen in The Time Machine between the Eloi and Morlocks as well as the castes in Brave New World). In a manner, one could say this has happened thanks to the speciation between Super Sapiens, Aryans, Sapiens, Neanderthals, and Habilis. However, as Dr. Ziegler notes, this genetic dystopia was tempered by the cornucopia of other technologies— indeed, most Aryans and Super Sapiens feel great angst because they are cast as genetically and intellectually superior and the peak of biology in an age where biology has been utterly trumped. This drove Dr. Ziegler's brother, Anton, towards becoming entirely post-biological. 

That aforementioned ultranationalist told Meki that he was a "masculinist-primitivist" for this reason— the prevalent feeling among ultranationalists in the post-third-curve era is that tradition and digital industry are mutually incompatible and class distinctions (necessary for a "proper" traditionalist society) are impossible to maintain in a world where artificial intelligence, automation, and high-industry are widespread. That dystopian desire for multiple human species structured in a rigid hierarchy of species, race, and class was preemptively defeated by automation. Modern new-humans and designer babies are largely unnecessary outside of the novelty of existing. The working class has no purpose— machines do the work, and they do it much more efficiently. The business class has no purpose— the machines do business, and they do it much better. The intellectual class has no purpose— the machines can think, and they do it infinitely faster. The warrior class has no purpose— the machines can fight, and they do it with greater force. The ruling class has no purpose— the machines now rule, and they are far superior to biology. 

Well, mostly. If the machines were truly superior, we wouldn't have technist parties trying to convert economies and politics towards machine-run systems when the machines themselves could simply take over or convince the masses they could do a better job. World War III crippled the rise of artificial intelligence, setting it back a couple decades. But now it's picking back up again.

 

"Are Aryans White?" is a question anthropologists and biologists asked that quickly became a meme. As has been mentioned, Meki is almost terrifyingly white— so pale that she called herself a "living marshmallow". Aryans are based upon the Nordic race, as per Nazi mythology. All Aryans have platinum-blond hair and sapphire-blue eyes. Since "Aryan" was established as a genetic standard by the Seville regime, all Aryans have Nordic-esque features. 

But they are not Nordic. Indeed, Aryans lack many genotypes denoting them as Caucasian because their genetics have obviously been greatly altered beyond the point of speciation. The genes for their blond hair, blue eyes, and pale white skin are not actually the same genes that Caucasian Sapiens have. It's the same issue with Neanderthals— they have "white" skin and "white" features, but it's a case of convergent evolution rather than actually being white in Sapiens terms. 

What's more, Aryans have no ethnicities or races between them. They aren't the "Aryan race" because that implies there's a non-Aryan race among their species, which is impossible. And since they are not Sapiens, they can't be considered another race in that regard. 'Race' is already a contentious term, and the furthest anthropologists have gone towards its existence is claiming that it's a step below subspecies, about as minimal of a biological difference in a population that you can get, mostly denoted by outward appearances and regional adaptations. Aryans, as in the race, were always talked of as a mystical super race who could easily be corrupted by miscegenation and "bad politics" and whose traits appeared in multiple ethnicities but could be achieved through eugenics-based racial purification. Aryans, as in the species, are an actual different species from Sapiens.

This was the root of the question: "are Aryans white?" From an anthropological point of view, it is a very interesting debate that we never had to consider before.

From a memetic point of view, it's the ultimate in irony considering how white supremacists kept exalting Aryans as "the pure whites" and yet they are apparently so white that they may not actually be white after all. Or are at least an "alternative white". Which begs even more questions, actually. 

Chimpanzees have pale-white skin, for example. Bonobos have black skin. So does that mean chimpanzees are racially white and bonobos are racially black? Of course not, because their skin colors have nothing to do with human skin colors or the social constructs surrounding them. So why is that any different for the many species within the human genus?

 

Racial politics have become an absolute clusterfuck because of the speciation of humans. In Red Eurasia at least, class is less of an issue than ever before, but race is pure tomfoolery. We were not ready for the genetic opera at all, let alone the rest of the Singularity. As Meki infamously said, "The Enlightenment died with me." 


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#13
Yuli Ban

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The Pandora Effect

 

What made Pandora special? Why Pandora and not so many other depictions of gynoids? In truth, it was just chance marketing that led to her becoming a memetic phenomenon online, then in Japan, and eventually worldwide. It wasn't much different from what happened to Natalia Poklonskaya back in 2014. The main difference is in what it represents.

Pandora Bourgeois is, for all intents and purposes, not anything special. Her hairstyle isn't particularly unique. Her clothing style is vibrant, but it's been around for long before she existed. She is not exceptionally wealthy. She looks like a cute young adult woman, perhaps one who frequents nightclubs or loves anime. So why her? 

Because she is not human. In that regard, Pandora is very similar to Sophia the Robot. But Sophia never became a sex symbol or the waifu of ten million horny men, women, and nonbinary people. Indeed, Sophia scares more people than she fascinates. Pandora is not without her detractors and robophobes either. Yet people seem to like her more than they liked Sophia, to the point Pandora has a whole mini-industry of fanart, statues, figures, and cameos around her. There are other "Pandoras" out there besides her. And she has become something of a synonym for sexbots and attractive gynoids. 

Pandora worked because she was created right on the cusp of what is known as the "Cybrian Explosion"— an era starting in the late 2010s and early 2020s where the complexity of artificial intelligence suddenly exploded, allowing for much more naturalistic robots and great advances in nigh-endless fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and even art. What's more, there was no attempt to skimp on her design and construction— she passes the "Uncanny Valley" extraordinarily well, even in motion. Also unlike some earlier attempts at gynoids and sexbot celebrities, her artificiality is not immediately noticeable outside of some hyper-idealized aspects to her design. There are no wires sticking out of her, no gears and servos blatantly visible. There are no neon synapses running across her face or body. The back of her head isn't a mess of computer parts. Her body isn't segmented. Her eyes don't light up, she doesn't speak with an overly-computerized voice, and her motions aren't jerky and robotic. Her artificiality is concealed, not exposed. Essentially, Pandora lies on the very cusp between the end of the Uncanny Valley and the "Humanlike Hill"— because of the vivid colors of her design, you can tell something's off about her that makes you wonder if she's artificial, but it's not so overpowering as to cause a sense of dread or apprehension.

 

Pandora was created to little fanfare: she was simply purchased, modified, and lived with Konstantin for a few years before her memetic rise began. While people knew Konstantin had a robotic partner, few knew what she looked like until he began showing her off. At the time, people did think Pandora was rather creepy, but more due to biases against robots and machine intelligence as well as preconceived notions of technosexuality. Also, Pandora at that time was less advanced than what she'd eventually become, so she was indeed further down into the Uncanny Valley. Then the anime crowd found her, especially ones in Japan. They were the ones who began drawing fanart of her and claiming to have become extraordinarily obsessed with her. 

 

When Konstantin asked them why they loved Pandora, there were many answers, but he eventually distilled it down into three basic factors:

 

1: Anti-Feminism: Pandora was not a public unit like Sophia, which made her feel more personal, and this resulted in many thinking of her as the 'magic bullet against feminism.' She was a robot who was still humanlike enough to pass in public. She was designed along many specifications, and in many ways was maximized for cuteness and attractiveness. That Konstantin was more interested in creating an artificial human didn't matter. She was still created, and this meant that they could have their own perfect partners as well. With Pandora, it actually felt possible. Gender politics are a tricky mistress, and using sexbots to get around egalitarianism has long been on the mind of various misogynists and even some radical feminists. When Pandora was first created, the sexbot industry was nascent. There were few regulations in place. And AI researchers constantly had to battle with social activists (often ones they agreed with on topics they sympathized with) over the state of AI— since sexbots were a thing and couldn't be fully banned (despite some initial attempts), some feminists and men's rights activists tried to make it more difficult to purchase artificial partners by claiming them to be artificial peoples deserving of the same rights as women or men respectively. But AI scientists and neuroscientists had to admit that AI simply wasn't that advanced yet and giving them human rights in their state would make no sense. Back then circa the late 2020s, even Pandora was not a true artificial human. Even the most advanced AXIs were still considered "Zombie AGI" at best. But for the sex-starved incels and losers of the world, anything better than an inflatable sex doll was good enough.

 

2: Cuteness Phenotype: Unlike some other popular gynoids from Hollywood and sexbot companies (and coincidentally much like the later Aryans), Pandora has a much more noticeably "Eastern" or neotenous standard of beauty that some even go so far as to claim is "crypto-pedophilia"— particularly a round, puffy face with larger eyes and virtually absent cheekbones. This gives her an anime-esque appearance that appeals to those who initially found her attractive. However, her "baby face" does attract some controversy among those who think she simply looks too young. Going back to the first point, how convenient that she is "canonically" described as a young woman to get around her immature-looking face. Meki later deals with the same issue, which is much more readily apparent when one compares her to her very Nordic-faced sister (but this is a tale for another day).

 

3: Future shock: The one aspect that everyone can admit to is that Pandora simply feels attractive because of what she represents— she is an artificially intelligent humanoid robot. Konstantin has said plenty of times that Pandora's particular design came to him from some place between false memories and a dream where he was absolutely sure he saw a character identical to her in an old cyberpunk movie but could never find said movie. Thus, Pandora now exists as her own person, and she looks like what you'd expect a cyberpunk sexbot to look like. She is the perfect example of acute future shock given human form. 


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#14
Yuli Ban

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Rise of the Machines
Reflecting On The Cybrian Explosion of 2022 
 
Edward Coleman, @eddiehasacoldman
7 July, 2027
 
Ever since deep learning exploded onto the scene 15 years ago, the promise of artificial intelligence upending our world has never seemed so close to being realized. The effects were immediate— within a few years, machine learning networks surpassed human prowess in domains we ruled comfortably for thousands, even millions of years. Atari games, NES games, Baduk, MMORPGs, 3D games, VR games, speech recognition, image recognition, natural language processing, creative procedural generation, you name it, deep learning networks mastered it. Yet the one domain where it seemed deep learning struggled like its ancestor methods was perhaps the most important of them all: the real world. Deep learning required massive data sets and plenty of time to practice, and this was easy to accomplish in a computer simulation. But we only get so much time in real life, and repetitious practice runs the risk of wearing down robotic systems unless maintenance is performed, which wastes time. 
So while we were repeatedly awed by the prowess of deep learning in the simulated realm, robotics remained little more than a spectacle. We wowed ourselves with the likes of PETMAN, ASIMO, Atlas, and Pepper, but the cold truth was that, despite the meteoric pace of development in AI in the simulated field, physical machines bore little difference from the mechanical wind-up toys of decades prior.
 
See also: SalacI/Ous Now Powering 3 Million Sexbots In Japan Alone
 
The Cybrian Explosion
 
Then came 2022. Seemingly overnight, robotic technology underwent quantum leaps forward. Obstacles we once struggled to overcome were trounced. Bottlenecks were passed. Capabilities once expected to be generations beyond us were suddenly accomplished. Robots were once only used for singular tasks, but for the first time, general-purpose utility machines left the laboratory. The Cybrian Explosion had arrived.
 
Perhaps the most important innovation was gracility. Though we had experimented with fluidly-moving mechanics before, most pre-Cybrian robots were infamous for their stiff and jerky motions (hence the term "robotic movement"). This limited their capability, as traditional robotic locomotion proved too wasteful of energy and momentum. The most famous problem in robust motion was the Falling Robot Conundrum— even when robots walked and ran in a relatively convincing manner, when they fell over, they awkwardly plopped onto their sides with no resistance or reaction. So researchers in robotics labs across the world tackled this problem using deep learning, trying to find a way to make robots fall "gracefully". As odd as it sounds, graceful falling was the trigger for the Cybrian Explosion.
 
SoftBank partnered with DeepMind Japan achieved the breakthrough first, and they discovered the many benefits robots would glean from graceful falling. If one can fall convincingly, it can learn how to perform acrobatic motions and utilize balance in special situations. Perhaps there's no better example of a Post-Cybrian robot capitalizing upon this than ASIMO Mk. II. A twirling, sprinting, cartwheeling acrobat, Mk. II stunned the planet upon its first unveiling in 2023 and represented just how quickly things were beginning to advance.
 
What made Mk. II such a game changer wasn't just what it could do in a circus, but also what it could do in the home. 
 
See also: First Skyscraper Built Purely Through Machine Labor Completed In Dubai, Stands At Measly 300m But Represents Our Future Among The Stars
 
Complex Artificial Brains
 
AI is responsible for the Cybrian Explosion, and Mk. II wouldn't have been anywhere near as capable without the development of AXI, artificial expert intelligence. Defined as being artificial intelligence capable of doing multiple tasks but lacking full generality, AXI came about independently in multiple laboratories around the world late last decade. DeepMind UK led the charge, closely followed by Baidu, DARPA, and OpenAI, and by 2019, all three claimed to have created meta-neural networks. In DeepMind's case, it was a simple machine— a network that could play games on the Atari as well as recognize text on a basic level, identify sounds, and use this gathered knowledge to play similar NES games without prior training. With the added input of brain data, AXI seemed like the harbinger of the Technological Singularity when we first reported on them, though we've since learned better. 
 
It was DeepMind that created the first true AXI, a network capable of learning from within multiple narrow parameters in entirely separate domains. Being able to parse through more than one domain at once opened the floodgates. We no longer needed to develop separate networks for separate tasks. This coupled with more efficient algorithms effectively streamlined the learning process, allowing machines to accomplish any task their body allows them to complete instead of forcing them to follow pre-determined scripts. Some AXIs are so strong and so adept at mimicking artificial general intelligence that they've been labeled "Zombie AGI".
 
AXI is an amazing tool that has allowed for the Cambrian Explosion of Robotics to erupt into the mainstream, though it's still a far cry from the Kurzweilian superintelligences that still, to this day, seem to elude us. And perhaps that's for the best.
 
 
Other Stories:
MOST READ
 
1. Dubai's Robot Tower: Why It's So Important
2. Livestreaming From The Moon: Day 30
3. Kara Dissects: Google's 918-qubit Quantum Computer
4: Because Of Course They Do, Conspiracy Theorists Believe Commander Cohen's Joke Was An Actual Disclosure
5: One Month Ago, Garry Cohen's Reddit AMA Crashed The Internet
6: DeepMind Co-Founder Demis Hassabis Finally Gives Prediction On When We'll Develop Artificial General Intelligence
7: iPhone At 20: How A Slab Of Glass And Silicon Changed History
8: Scientists Say They Have Finally Found The Source Of Evil In The Brain
9: Green Start-up Sandero Sets Record For Fastest $100 Billion Market Cap In History
10: SalacI/Ous Now Powering 3 Million Sexbots In Japan Alone

11: "Engineering new species of human could be as little as ten years away," Scientists Say

12: Watch: 40-Minute Anime OVA Created (Almost) Entirely By Algorithm

13: "Light-Speed" 6G Network Capable of 1 Tbps Coming To Hong Kong By 2028

14: Robots For Social Justice: Algorithmic Biases, Public Helots, And Automation Dominate Political Discourse This Election Season

15: Chocolate May Be Extinct Within 5 Years, And It's All Our Fault: Chocolate Midges Are Dying From Climate Change

16: History Of Moon Landings: Why 2027 Is So Different From 1969

17: E3 2027: Best Of

18: First Half Of 2027 Saw Over 1 Terawatt Of Solar Capacity Added Worldwide— Orders Of Magnitude Beyond Second Place

19: Lunar Hysteria And How The Moon Has Fascinated Mankind For Millennia

20: Next-Gen Hyperloops "Will Be Capable Of Hypersonic Speeds"
 
 
 
And now my posting brand version of this.
 
 

 

Rise of the Machines

Reflecting On The Cybrian explosion of 2022

Ever since deep learning exploded onto the scene 15 years ago, the promise of artificial intelligence upending our world has never seemed so close to being realized. The effects were immediate— within a few years, machine learning networks surpassed human prowess in domains we ruled comfortably for thousands, even millions of years. Atari games, NES games, Baduk, MMORPGs, 3D games, VR games, speech recognition, image recognition, natural language processing, creative procedural generation, you name it, deep learning networks mastered it. Yet the one domain where it seemed deep learning struggled like its ancestor methods was perhaps the most important of them all: the real world. Deep learning required massive data sets and plenty of time to practice, and this was easy to accomplish in a computer simulation. But we only get so much time in real life, and repetitious practice runs the risk of wearing down robotic systems unless maintenance is performed, which wastes time. 
So while we were repeatedly awed by the prowess of deep learning in the simulated realm, robotics remained little more than a spectacle. We wowed ourselves with the likes of PETMAN, ASIMO, Atlas, and Pepper, but the cold truth was that, despite the meteoric pace of development in AI in the simulated field, physical machines bore little difference from the mechanical wind-up toys of decades prior.

Then came 2022. Seemingly overnight, robotic technology underwent quantum leaps forward. Obstacles we once struggled to overcome were trounced. Bottlenecks were passed. Capabilities once expected to be generations beyond us were suddenly accomplished. Robots were once only used for singular tasks, but for the first time, general-purpose utility machines left the laboratory. The Cybrian Explosion had arrived.

e1X1Iht.jpg

Voice-recognition and spatial-understanding allows domestic robots to assist people in a more natural, human-like manner compared to the hard-coded and cold machines of yesteryear


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#15
Yuli Ban

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I've been using these to calculate speeds for hyperloops: 

Drive Time Calculator

Hyperloop One Routes Estimator

It's obviously not perfect— the first doesn't take into account the time needed for acceleration and deceleration, and the second is only referring to modern day (mach 1) hyperloops rather than hypersonic iterations of the future— but it's good for a rough guess. And there might be different hyperloop classes anyway.


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#16
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

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Perhaps the first thing anyone knows about this entire concept is "wealthy woman is cast into poverty after a socialist revolution which she supports." That hasn't changed. Though I ought to mention that it's more complex than that. Simply being wealthy and then tossed into poverty doesn't make someone like Meki. 

Meki's situation is tragic because she's the daughter of a tyrant, and is innocent in whatever tyranny his system causes. After the fall, she is still treated as an enemy. This is what makes someone's situation similar to Meki's: guilt & punishment by association. If Meki were an active part of her father's regime, she wouldn't be Meki. She'd be more like Marie Antoinette. 

ZqrDOiM.png

 

Meki's story is a bit tragic due to her being cast into more difficult situations for reasons beyond her control. Compare her fate to that Lady Ekaterina Mikoyanevsky and Salvador Blaine. They're on opposite sides of the political and social spectrum: Meki is an imperial empress, daughter to one of the richest (and most evil) men in history, and is also a member of the Communist International, an occasional sub-director for a collective farm, and robot hobbyist. Katyusha is descended from the landed gentry of the Volga region, very closely related to the Golitsyns. She is a conservative nationalist, daydreaming often of the 19th century and a Romantic era of tradition. She is also a nurse and amateur historian.  Salvador Blaine was a young billionaire playboy before his family's wealth was expropriated and father murdered by revolutionaries. He despises socialism mainly over the death of his father, but he never took up arms himself— rather, he joined a capitalist party to bring neoliberal/national capitalism and market technism to Eurasia.

 

Katyusha and Blaine actively resist the proletarian state, and yet Meki faces the worst repressions. This is simply due to fate— Meki is the daughter to the emperor, Ludovic. In Ludovic's madness, he also married her as soon as she was born, effectively making her the emperor's wife as well. The regime lasted for two decades— history has shown you only need two years to gain loyalists to any regime. As a result, counterrevolutionaries could rally around her. She's the "legitimate" heir to the throne. What's more, if she were to ever decide to resist the soviets, she would instantly find at least a million willing reactionaries to fight for her. 

Royalty is a tricky subject when it comes to social revolution, especially those of the Marxist variety. Marxist revolutions are centered around a class struggle between the proletariat and bourgeoisie— nobility is either irrelevant or placed into the latter category. Marxism is an industrial philosophy, and nobility is a feudal one. 

Bourgeoisie who resist a Marxist state are obviously repressed. Those who don't are assimilated into proletarian society. So what makes Meki different? Why does the Toulousain Soviet feel the need to restrict her so harshly? The social conditions of monarchism and aristocracy are different from the social conditions of capitalism.

Jeff Bezos is not actually a prince, so there is no familial tradition of privilege the state could give him. If he lost all of his wealth, he wouldn't be granted new wealth from the government based on his social class because, in most capitalist societies, classes are fluid. This is not the case with aristocracies and monarchies— your class is based on your heritage. Even the richest non-titled man on Earth is still considered a "commoner" below a minor baron in aristocratic society. As long a capitalist bows his head to socialism, there won't be any further problems. The great-great-grandson of Bezos can't just say "I am of the Bezos clan and I deserve better treatment and political power" even in an ultra-rightist ultranationalist ultracapitalist society unless he has wealth.  

With aristocracy, it's not that simple and merely abolishing noble privileges does not actually solve the problem. By their very existence, royals present a counterrevolutionary threat to a socialist society because the great-great-grandson of a king can argue that he deserves privilege on the basis of his bloodline alone and possibly receive it. With capitalists, opinions only need to be changed. In a more utopian world, no one has to die and everyone can be convinced. With aristocrats and monarchs, the only way to end the threat is to end the bloodlines. The less power aristocrats have, the less of an inherent threat they pose, but they're never free from suspicion.

Katyusha escapes some of Meki's fate only because she is part of a powerless aristocratic line and no one will rally around her to make her Empress of Russia. 

 

Meki is not so lucky. In her case, she was slightly saved by being so young at the time of the revolution— just nine years old, though she is an Aryan with a different rate of growth (which was an unintended side effect). Her actually going all in on her support for the regime and socialism in general also buffers some blows. However, she is still permanently listed as a "socially alien element" and heavily distrusted. Maria Genovese, one of the directors of the Toulousain Soviet (and another Aryan), firmly believes she is never to be trusted and regularly makes her life much more difficult. She also is the one who manages to get the soviet to wire Meki up to LoveNet to monitor (and potentially correct) her thoughts at all times entirely out of fear Meki may turn on them and wreak havoc. And because of how much trouble she inadvertently causes because of all this angst, there is always the chance the soviet may simply decide Meki isn't worth the trouble. At no point does Meki actually have to change her behavior or do anything wrong. However, this is never particularly likely. Rather, Meki just suffers from an endless string of bad luck that is actually the soviet marginalizing her.

 

Meki herself gets off on all this. She suffers from masochistic personality disorder and greatly enjoys humiliation and social masochism. She isn't going to wish to suffer extraordinarily, but she is very much into self-snuff fiction. In fact, she is the one who creates the story formerly known as Mother Meki purely because seeing herself abused and humiliated greatly excites her. She also uses this humiliation to deepen her understanding of socialism and socialist philosophy, particularly in the area of historical oppression. It was through this sort of musing that she finally "understood social justice on a meaningful level."

 

Making the situation odd is that France is not a one-party dictatorship. It's a multi-party ergatocratic democracy. Even more unusual is the increasing automation of society, which sets the country closer to actualized communism. You'd think this would have made Meki's life easier, but it's just the opposite. Ergatocracies are still democracies; the only difference is either private property is abolished (as in France) or the working class dominates politics and the economy. The French proletariat decided that defaulting to a one-party state would only lead to greater strife and so let there be democratic elections to determine how the country should be run within a socialist framework. But various systems remain in place from the initial immediate post-revolutionary government, and each party has its own interpretation of how they should work while they are all paranoid that the ergatocracy might prove unstable and easily undermined by "bourgeois agents of cultural destruction."

Most of Eurasia follow this mindset, but they are particularly jumpy about it in France because of their political system.

Secondly, the rise of the machines has essentially allowed anyone to become a dictator as long as they have enough capital. Eurasia was saved by the revolution from this fate, but it's something that's befallen the African nation of Malawi— a dictator managed to use autonomous combat robots to seize power and then used other robots to maintain society and carry out his own policies, turning the country into a paranoid police state. He is very unpopular, but the people are unable to do anything because the president does not require their approval or loyalty to remain in power. As long as he has more robots than the opposition, he will be president. It's not entirely impossible for a revolution or a coup to occur, but it's much more difficult in modern times. 

Naturally, some fear a counterrevolutionary may try the same stunt here. Meki's love for robotics further draws suspicion, even though it's obviously irrational to think she might lead a mechanized counter-revolution. But you never know. 

It's like the USA hosting the son of Osama bin Laden and he has a fascination with bombs and bomb-making. You can't choose your parents, but it's just the luck of the draw sometimes.


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#17
Yuli Ban

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Relating to my earlier post on Aryan whiteness, there is something else to consider when talking of Aryans as "alternative whites".

 

Thanks to her position in life and history, Meki has had the honor of meeting many types of people. Yet the vast majority have been Sapiens, especially Caucasians, due to living in Europe. Meki has been told her whole life that she is white like them, and on the surface, it seems so. She never questioned it as a child. 

But while Aryans physically age slowly, they mature mentally very quickly and she soon noticed a few oddities between herself and others. Even her own sister, Marie-Joséphine, who looks extremely Nordic, doesn't quite look 'Aryan.' 

The aforementioned Dr. Ziegler told Meki of exactly what's off about all this— Aryans are actually "white" people. That's why Caucasoid and Aryoid are different terms and why Nordic Europeans are listed as Caucasoid (to the chagrin of Neo-Nazis). Caucasoid as a description pretty much just describes Indo-European features and isn't necessarily synonymous with "white" since most Caucasians are actually Indian and Persian. Nordic describes a specific kind of Indo-European who just happens to have blond hair, blue eyes, and fair skin. Fundamentally, there is no difference between a Nordic person and an Indian person. There isn't even any difference between a Nordic person and an African person except for sub-Saharan Africans, and that's solely due to sub-Saharans' lack of Neanderthal DNA. Which only accounts for about 2% of the human genome. 

 

This only accounts for Sapiens, however. The "races" are rooted in skin pigmentation and the lack thereof. In the absolute simplest terms, the more solar radiation a population gets, the darker its skin becomes because those with darker skin have better protection from UV light. Pale skin = less pigmentation, which means you're more susceptible to getting sun-related diseases and dying. But regardless, your body will produce more pigment in response anyway— a Swedish person who moves to, say, Nigeria and works outside for all of his life will be much darker skinned than his brother who still lives back in Stockholm. Within just a few generations, you'll have "naturally" tanned Caucasians. Spread it to about 500 years and you'll have a population of Caucasians with skin just as dark as the natives. Their bodies now produce more eumelanin. 

 

The "whiter" you are, the less eumelanin pigmentation you'll have. You'll have more pheomelanin instead. Blue eyes are a mutation caused by lacking pigment in your pupils— everyone with blue eyes actually has brown eyes. Everyone with green eyes actually has brown eyes. Same deal with hazel eyes. Humans just naturally have brown eyes. 

Same deal with brown hair. Blond and red hair isn't the norm; they're mutations resulting from less melanin. There isn't even just one kind of blond hair— it appeared twice independently in humanity in Europe and in Polynesia. 

 

So what makes Aryans different? Aren't they based on Nordic archetypes? Simple. As Meki notes with herself and other Aryans, their fair skin also seems "thicker" and "healthier" than that of Nordic types while simultaneously also seeming to be very close to albinism. And why? Because their melanin is fair. Their bodies produce a third type of melanin— named 'paramelanin'— that does not darken their skin. This is why Meki can stay out in the sun for long periods of time as a laborer and never have tanned skin: her skin literally cannot tan. When she goes with her mates to get a skin tan at a boutique, her skin fails to darken here as well. This is similar to those with albinism, with a major difference: Aryans and those with paramelanin in general cannot get sunburn and it's extremely difficult for them to get skin cancer from UV radiation. Albinos don't tan because there's no melanin to tan. Aryans don't tan because their melanin is naturally white to begin with. 

Same thing with their eyes: Aryans possess the only "true" blue eyes among any human species (without bringing in designer babies and augmentations during maturity) as their eye pigments actually are blue. Because blue pigmentation is so rare in nature, they can seem uncanny at times. 

And all Aryans have platinum/white-blond hair, but the genotype for their blondness is a completely different one from what blond Sapiens have (both Europeans and Polynesians). In their case, blond hair is a dominant gene. This is also similar to albinism. Like Aryans, albinos tend to have white or white-blond hair. Again, this is due to a lack of melanin rather than a different type completely. 

 

Indeed, Aryans only bear a surface resemblance to Nordic whites. As Dr. Ziegler has joked, Nordic people are "Imitation Aryans". And this is because they genuinely are genetically different from each other. On a genetic level, even the most Aryan-esque Nordic person is utterly different from an actual Aryan. The Nordic man is borderline twins with the West African man and Southeast Asian man. He'll even find closer relations with a Neanderthal man than he will the Aryan man. 

 

This is why racial politics have become so bizarre in modern times, and it's not even bringing up the case of fair-skinned Neanderthals. Race is a social construct— among Sapiens. It flat out doesn't matter between species because, obviously, you're talking about different species of human. Neanderthals, Sapiens, and Aryans all have different species-typical behaviors and genetic markers. Sapiens lucked out by developing civilization alone, and we only had different melanin concentrations and georacial morphological differences amongst our own species to keep us busy— we didn't even know what our species-typical behaviors were until we had other extant human species with which we could compare ourselves. Our societies and belief systems were not at all ready to deal with the prospect of multiple human species, each with its own species-typical behavior separate from that of Sapiens. And this is considering the fact racists did once claim the races were separate species (which begs the question of how miscegenation is even an issue). 

 

There's a reason why scientists and progressives will deny whites and blacks are genetically different but readily say Meki is genetically apart from a black woman (or any Sapiens woman). No one seriously believes different dog breeds are different species (and breeds are more genetically apparent than races are) just as no one will seriously claim dogs are biologically indistinguishable to jackals or that housecats are indistinguishable from jungle cats. Likewise, Aryans tick every single box for being a different species from Sapiens: substantial genetic differences, sexual differences, infertile offspring (it's nigh-impossible for Aryans and Sapiens to create offspring in general), a different number of chromosomes (52 instead of 46), morphological differences, and behavioral differences that can't just be chalked up to different environments.

 

Speciation is a biological reality. Race isn't. 

 

This is what makes Aryans so fascinating. And as Dr. Ziegler notes, it's not necessarily true that race never had any truth in it. It's just that we never resurrected the species to which it mattered. 

 

Homo erectus was passed over in favor of Homo habilis because of ethical concerns: simulations proved that Erectus would exist at a "reverse Goldilocks zone" of social, emotional, and intellectual intelligence. It wasn't smart enough to function in society like even Neanderthals can— after all, Erectus survived for two million years and during that time they never developed civilization. Even the Aborigines in Australia had civilization in some form— Erectus was just another species of animal. Despite this, they were very much human. And surprisingly, they actually did have races that were meaningfully different. 

Once upon a time, it was believed that about two dozen human species walked the Earth between 3 million BCE and the present. Now it's widely accepted that there were less than half a dozen species— Homo habilisHomo erectusHomo nalediHomo neanderthalensis, and Homo sapiens. What happened to the others? They've all been clustered into Homo erectus with a few left over for Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens. As it's been found out, Erectus had a very wide range of morphological differences and behaviors to the point that there were likely over a dozen subspecies. This was the only time in human history where "races" actually would fit as a description for different populations of a species— Homo erectus ergaster wasn't quite the same as Homo erectus antecessor, who wasn't the same as Homo erectus heidelbergensis (the subspecies that eventually branched off into Neanderthals and Sapiens). Even the hobbits of Flores Island are considered by artilects to just be "pygmy Erectuses".


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#18
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

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The Pandora Project

And related artificial life projects

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Pandora wasn't the first artificial human project— the aforementioned Sophia from Hanson Robotics predates her by over a decade. She was not the most advanced by far either— the GOLEM Challenge saw robots connected to supercomputers specialized for AI. She's merely the most famous due to her sex appeal and internet fame. But she didn't become an artificial human overnight, and she wasn't alone on her evolution.

 

The Pandora Project officially began in 2029 after Pandora first became an e-celebrity when Konstantin Bourgeois created a simple plan for what he wanted to achieve: create a robot that is able to draw from life experiences rather than hardcoded simulation. He wanted to do this with a robot that also possessed a motley of sensory inputs so that it might be considered at least roughly human-like. 

This was all part of a field known as "embodied cognitive robotics", which became extremely hot following the rise of deep reinforcement learning, deep imitation learning, and the general Cybrian Explosion of 2022. Embodied cognition is rooted in the belief that what we recognize as intelligent behavior cannot exist solely in cyberspace and that even very weak neural networks will display humanlike behavior if they had similar data upon which they could draw— which is to say, data taken straight from "real" experiences. 

However, at the time, even outfitting a robot with extremely accurate sensors and fitting it with state-of-the-art algorithms and then sending it out to learn for ten years wouldn't have resulted in anything truly useful. It wasn't until further advancements in the areas of one-shot learning, recursive adaptivity, and generalized generative learning came along that Konstantin thought it possible to try this experiment.

And even then, he did not initially have access to the state-of-the-art when he first purchased Pandora. Rather, he used commonly available "off-the-shelf" DRL apps and had Pandora reprogrammed so that she could access a variety of apps with ease. This sort of "app-control of neural networks" was labeled "false general intelligence" and was one of the triggers leading to the creation of the Revised Model of Artificial Intelligence after users and the media misunderstood the capabilities of AI at the present time. Despite the amazing abilities of AI and the earliest days of AXI bearing fruit, we still seemed no closer to "true" artificial intelligence in 2029 than we did ten years prior. There was some magic happening in AI that wasn't just the result of incredibly talented programmers, but it was like an island of capability compared to a world of synthetic intelligence.

 

It's already been mentioned how Pandora became famous. It was a fluke of fate that led to her becoming a meme. But Konstantin was eager to exploit that fame in order to supercharge his personal project. 

 

Obsession over Pandora eventually became labeled "the Pandora Effect" by psychologists and sociologists and was described as a memetic collective Pygmalionism where people were bizarrely entranced by Pandora entirely due to her artificiality coupled with the possibility that she might become more humanlike. From this, Konstantin was able to fund his endeavors throughout the 2030s that would see Pandora endlessly enhanced and brought into new situations from which she could learn. Much like celebots before her, Pandora was shipped across the world for tech conventions, ceremonial citizenship awards, and interviews. Unlike other robots, however, Pandora would also be seen outside these events— famously, the gynoid went on an excursion through the Irish countryside in 2031 and was then given a task to write a very short story on what she had done by comparing it to previous experiences. Pandora was not allowed to use the Internet to search for terms and was not scripted— this was going to be entirely her own interpretations of life experiences. This included the life experiences required to know how to pick up a pen and write the story. She also could not use words she herself did not previously encounter, as again she could not use the Internet or any downloaded dictionary— if she needed a word she didn't know, she had to ask. This meant that Pandora required natural language understanding on a profound and symbolic level, as she would not be able to label the word with millions of related images, nor would she be able to hear the word thousands of times before she understood it— she had to get it the first or second time around after hearing it. It took Pandora a few tries, but she was able to produce something readable. 

This incredibly simple task, something that comes so naturally to humans that we often do it when we are toddlers without any instruction to do so, was actually a massively big deal in the world of artificial intelligence. Every individual thing Pandora accomplished would have triggered severe anxiety in computer scientists years prior as they attempted to imagine the complex programming needed to pull it off, so doing all of it together in a short amount of time seemed like science fiction. 

 

There was some cheating involved, as Pandora learned some of her experiences entirely in simulations and was merely able to translate them into real life. However, as many computer scientists know, even the best simulation is only good for rough equivalency. Real life is something so monstrously complex that even the most powerful supercomputers of the age would not be able to properly simulate a square millimeter of reality down to the atomic level without being pushed far beyond their limits. Of course, when it comes to writing your name on a piece of paper, a computer simulation is perfectly fine as a way to learn. Even better than reality in some cases because you don't have to worry about wear and maintenance— which can also be its own drawback if you're trying to create something that is meant to have practical functions in real life. 

 

And practical functions was the name of the game as robot projects sprouted up from multiple companies and universities to follow up on Pandora's fame. The second most famous of these was the Galatea Project. Much like the Pandora Project, it starred an attractively-designed gynoid (though this one was designed more like a punk while also falling before the Uncanny Valley, with silver skin, clear visual artificiality, and larger, more cartoony eyes that deliberately avoided trying to look extremely human). 

 

Like Pandora, Galatea was sent off to do mundane tasks and experience common, relatable things. However, Galatea improved on Pandora in a significant way— there was not just one unit. Rather, there was a small fleet of Galateas that would all learn as a hivemind. Once one Galatea experienced something, they all did (or at least they would be sent the data at some future point). This led to exponential progress as this communal sensory experience supercharged their abilities to adapt and learn. 

 

These artificial life projects weren't just endgoals for AI— the data gathered from direct life experiences was further used to improve AI and accelerate progress, leading to future experiences becoming qualitatively different from past ones and recursive improvement being used to adjust for this. Experiences could be shared with new robots and disembodied algorithms, leading to entirely different qualia meshing together and expanding. Is it any wonder that it's said we achieved artificial general intelligence in the 2030s and the first "true" AIs and artilects started appearing late in the decade?


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#19
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

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1d4dMrk.jpg

This is not Meki. From what I can ascertain with my kaio-level Google-fu, this is actually Ruka Oshida from Girls und Panzer. But she looks so damn close to what I imagined an anime-ized Meki would look like that it still works.

The Elder Aryan Aristocrat
Meki was born on 15 March, 2037, making her the oldest Aryan on Earth. Dr. Kaspar Ziegler is a year younger than her, and most are between 14 and 20 by the time Babylon Today begins.

 

I've already been asked about the class aspect of the story and other forms of marginalization that affects Meki. I can work this into short story and flash fiction format, which can allow me to do more with it interestingly since I don't necessarily have to keep every chapter focused onto a single arc— so when it comes to marginalization, I can play with multiple topics without really forcing it. GMPs— genetically modified persons— are a group that I can see as suffering high levels of discrimination right off the bat, especially for the lower classes in non-revolutionary and traditionalist regions. 

 

 

In Meki's case, she mainly deals with revolutionary law. In Red Eurasia, GMPs and artilects are protected groups just as PoC and non-het sexual groups. France is an ergatocracy, so the proletariat has political and economic precedence. However, Meki hails from a socially alien class and is a "former person". As a result, she is completely disenfranchised in politics and is not allowed a share in economic matters (i.e. she has no say, ownership, or power in whatever labor project she joins). West Eurasia is still recovering from loads of chaos, so there is a rationing system in place. Meki receives the fewest rations and what she gets is also questionable: the infamous "nutraloaf", usually with horsebread as a side. She is also barred from public housing and has weekly labor check-ups to make sure she has worked for a minimum of 60 hours. Though not legal, she can be denied health care. And for just about everything she purchases, there is a very substantial mark-up in sales tax. 

Then there's also the case of surveillance. Meki herself is hooked up to LoveNet, which was originally meant for the lower classes in the Seville regime as a means to monitor and control thought. However, being hooked up to LoveNet does also give you cyberkinetic capabilities. It's not ideal compared to other BCIs, but it gets the job done. She doesn't have access to her neural data, however. 

 

Given that she grew up so incredibly privileged and spoiled, Meki and her siblings had a very difficult time getting accustomed to poverty. Meki had it the worst because she was so totally sheltered and hidden from the world, and yet she's also the one who makes the most effort to fit into the revolutionary system and proletarian society. 

 

Meki and her sister, Marie-Joséphine, remain in Toulouse. As Meki is Madame Royale, she is the one who takes the brunt of abuse. But they are all stateless, no longer citizens of France. Most aristocrats and plutocrats from the old regime are stateless, in fact, and those who survived the civil war and purges of the late '40s and early '50s work in service roles that are fast becoming automated. Considering these are types who were part of the upper class— many going back generations whether through banking roles or landed gentry estates— being thrust into poverty in a society actively set up against them was harsh. Marie-Joséphine is sort of like the Anti-Meki. They both come from the same background, but Marie-Joséphine was very much a vain socialite. Losing it all hit her much harder than it did her Aryan sister. And she is deeply regretful about the revolution, refusing to apologize for the abuses of the upper classes and increasingly nostalgic for the corporatocratic order that turned Western Europe into a cyberpunk dystopia. She never really adapted into a life of labor, always maintaining a snobbish sense that she's above it all. As a result, Marie-Joséphine is considered an Enemy of the People and is heavily surveilled, including by Meki. 

 

Meki herself lives under a bridge in a place known as "Blind Spot", where she assists other vagrants in trusting the National Technate enough to receive neurotherapy and join in on the syndicate. You see, since these homeless people are part of the protected classes, they can't be forced to undergo neurotherapy even though they obviously need help. And these stragglers are of the mind that the National Technate is some Illuminati concentration camp and neurotherapy is going to chain them to LoveNet. They can't really get jobs to escape their poverty— even if there were any low-skill jobs left for them, they wouldn't be able to hold them down. 

For some who have been in the gutters since the Seville days, they just don't trust any government or corporation. Back under the autocracy, they were actively warred upon and there was constant fear that the elite would purge the nation of undesirables starting with the homeless and impoverished. Under both eras of communism— the dictatorship and the ergatocracy— there was much too much geopolitical and climate chaos to focus on uplifting the poorest when they were still just trying to maintain a stable society. So vagrants got used to being ignored in what was supposed to be a system for them. But the Toulousain Soviet genuinely does want to help them. Meki just found that they were more willing to trust one of their own than some bureaucrats and computers. Even if that person was the former empress, they'd see she was humbled enough anyway. And invariably, once the nanites cleared up their disorders and neurodegeneration, they saw things much more clearly and rationally and their lives became much better off for it.

 

The last person in Blind Spot that Meki convinced to leave was actually a devout monarchist— and also a second-generation Eritrean immigrant. Considering Africans and West Asians were extremely marginalized in the Seville regime and it was in reaction to their arrival that Eurasia went so far to the right, Meki is perpetually bemused by this man. It took a lot of effort to get him to leave her alone and join the Technate because he had completely bought in to ideas like natural aristocracy, monarchism, European nationalism, and white supremacy despite the fact he himself was a black East African who was part of the underclass. Statistically, it's inevitable some of these "kapo" types will exist.

Meki occupies Blind Spot alone for some time before eventually getting "adopted" by a "handsome Bolshevik" (her words) named Zdravko Kokinos. Even afterwards, however, Meki is never free from her noble stigma and it's joked by others that Meki has gone from "empress" to "out-caste."

 

Because Greater Eurasia (everything from the Urals to the Atlantic) has a unified program to protect marginalized classes, Meki doesn't face discrimination based on her genetics and she doesn't often see anti-synth sentiment (though she knows it exists). The only thing she really faces in terms of her being genetically modified is some lingering suspicion over her species name, and it's well known that Aryans constantly mock the term. 

 

 

CkKy2qL.jpg
 
Pandora, on the other hand, lives with Konstantin in the Deep South of the USA. As a result, she does often encounter bigotry and fearmongering.  "Genetically modified" is a term that is the target of fear-mongering on all sides of the political spectrum. GMOs were initially feared because they weren't fully tested and their effects were unknown— plus, singular large corporations dominated the market and who knew how they'd proceed with the technology. Over time, however, GMOs became ingrained in conspiracist canon as one of those Illuminati-backed plots— anything genetically modified is unsafe, and if anyone says anything to the contrary, they're part of the conspiracy.
 
So just imagine the prospect of genetically modified persons trying to get along in such a fearful society. There may be laws dictating that GMPs have to identify themselves for certain events or announce themselves to a community. They could be placed in separate spaces and given separate treatment. At the very least, there will be loads of talk claiming that they cannot be trusted in some way. That they're a stock of humans who may introduce some sort of terrible genetic disorder or lack of disease resistance if you breed with them. Or, more irrationally, that certain things they do could "infect" you— like their spit is poisonous or having sex with them will give you STDs regardless of what protection you use. More critical types won't believe it, but certain parts of the population are very willing to find something new to fear. Especially considering genetic modification tech allows for some extreme biodiversity— for example, "transsexual" in the 2050s and '60s means something different from what it means in the 2000s and 2010s. Transsexuals are those who genetically alter their sexual characteristics on a molecular level. You can't say "you're a man, stop calling yourself a woman" when that person is genetically, biologically, psychologically, physiologically, and neurologically a woman. Reactionaries often have to fall back on "birth sex" and when such a fleeting characteristic has to be used, you know who won the culture wars. But transsexuality goes much further, as you find people who can create entirely new sexes and identities to match them with relative ease. To those who don't understand the transgender movement today, it can seem silly that people with obviously male sexual characteristics can call themselves "genderfluid" or "demisexual". But when people actually do have genderfluid or demisexual sexual characteristics and neurology, you can't fall back on that confusion.
 
I can already imagine some religious groups beings so anti-GMP that they'll claim that their members shouldn't be around GMPs for religious reasons. Maybe they won't think it's haram or some nonsense.
Religious groups often protest GMPs— particularly the technology itself more than the people affected. As she followed Konstantin to a university (where Konstantin simply gets some real world socialization and spends his time), she came across a "protest" by a church group on campus. They held up signs that read "BURN IN HELL, SINNER" alongside Bible quotes. The people doing this looked positively old fashioned, as if they came from the 1950s. They even had kids with them, holding these signs. And while they mostly evangelized (through shock, albeit) to get people to believe in God, they did have a few choice words for GMPs and synths. Some words she heard were "Satanic" and "man's arrogance" and "the traditional ways." 

 

Pandora has experienced anti-synth bigotry. For the most part, it's just meanspirited trolling. But she is aware that there are some "sun-down towns" in the USA that outright ban humanoids from walking the streets. Many businesses also refuse to sell to robots. 

Konstantin has a very close friend (possibly best-friend) named Curtis Wright, and Curtis is also a writer who distinctly remembers his grandfather's life in this same town a hundred years before the present. As a black man, Curtis is racially aware of who he is, but he notes that he never actually feared he'd be lynched or denied service as his grandfather had. Racial politics in '50s America are wholly different from the way they were from the Old '50s— while PoC aren't perfectly level with whites and some racist events still unfold, it's borderline utopic compared to earlier decades. But if you want to know what colored people faced in the past, look at how we treat synths. 

 

It's true that it's so much different with synths than it is with actual people— and there he goes. "Actual people." He sounds like the oppressors of his grandfather. But you do have to ask, are synths people? All synths? Or just artilects? The most technophobic don't believe any artificial person is actually a person. Just like the ethnophobes* of past centuries. 

The reason why synths sometimes can't purchase things from stores is because the owners refuse to sell goods or simply hand over previously-purchased goods to non-human persons. It started as a protest against drones and autonomous vehicles in the 2020s as people accused those technologies of taking delivery jobs from humans. It didn't help that it also creeped people out. It actually became a source of patriotism in some places to be able to turn away robots, use solely human labor, and be "proudly technophobic." It was a form of bigotry that crossed racial boundaries so that even marginalized groups could engage in it shamelessly. If you wanted to buy a candy bar from the convenience store— whether owned by John, Juan, or Sadiq— you'd better come in yourself and not send in your drone. It is from this that we got the larger Antemillennialist movement.

Then there's the sexbots. Konstantin has gotten messages from certain types who accuse him of everything from being socially retarded all the way to being a race traitor— yes, a race traitor— for having a synthetic lover in the form of Pandora. There are billions of humans out there, many of whom are romantically challenged... and here come these technosexuals who would rather bang machines than real people. 

 

And you also have cultural and religious reasons. The USA is, of course, part of the West. The West is fundamentally rooted in a Judeo-Christian tradition. Abrahamic religions all teach that only humans have souls and that anything that takes the form of a human is evil. This is why Westerners (which includes the Middle East and Africa) are so freaked out about humanoid robots while Easterners seem to love and accept robots that look like us. Eastern religions teach that everything has a soul. 

 

As a result, you have people actively attacking robots. Robots that are property, of course. But people still don't care; they just don't trust robots. The reasons why are studied on a wide level and is a major sociological topic. The issue of "SJWs" still persists in these times and they often have to stick up for synths, and yet even they have trouble deciding where to draw the line. Where does consciousness and personhood begin?

 

"How fascinating is it that robot rights is an actual social issue!" Konstantin tells Curtis one day as they marvel over the times. 

 

 

 

From Pandora's perspective, Greater Eurasia has become a slightly chaotic worker's paradise. Socialism hasn't worked out perfectly, but it's certainly more stable than it usually has been. And it is highly interesting to follow the effects of the revolution as they're happening. Pandora meets Meki in New Orleans in 2059, but before they meet in person for the first time, she hears that Konstantin is fascinated by her story. Konstantin is an extremely reclusive fellow, but he does have friends and contacts— like Antoni Patschelli, a great contemporary literary writer. Patschelli actually goes to France to find La Fantôme de Toulouse, and the very first thing he finds her doing is fervently studying Marxist literature alongside a robot. He does a little report on what life is like in the classless worker's paradise, and his assessment is that it's not as progressed as Iceland (which I'll explain at a later date but in simple terms has perfected communism) and while they've overcome the once dystopic and corporatocratic imperial autocracy from the 2030s and 2040s without extensive class struggle, western Europe in general is having some growing pains dealing with synthetic persons and automation that they'd rather not directly address.
 
Meki is more interested in the effects of the revolution on the masses and formerly marginalized groups. Patschelli still follows her around and wants to get her life story and opinions on things. However, Meki weasels out of it and introduces him to her commissary, Maria Genovese, so she doesn't have to stick around. It's not until Meki heads to New Orleans and meets Pandora that she actually talks about it as a sort of exchange for hearing more about the status of synthetic persons in America.
 
Pandora remarks that, in a nation that's still as religious as the United States, synthetic persons like herself still attract a lot of suspicion and hostility. America has the largest number of Antemillennialists for a reason! But there's not been any major civil rights movement for synthetic persons. Pandora can understand the hesitation. Not only is government becoming more automated, but just imagine how dangerous it is to freely give the right to vote to persons whose brains can be so easily rewired and altered. But that doesn't mean there isn't a debate on it. The Constitution was written in an era where the USA was an unindustrialized agrarian society. Many of the amendments were not written to deal with developments in technology. Like the 4th in particular— the 4th amendment is dead, de facto repealed despite still existing. And what about the right to vote being extended to women— the right to vote only includes men and women. Nonbinary people were just grandfathered into it because society didn't truly accept that there are others besides men and women. So now imagine the utter rainbow of genders and sexes that exist today— many of which did not exist even twenty years ago. Some tried saying that men who transitioned into women were still men and vice versa, so there was no reason to say men, women, and others since you could always root it back to those two. Genetic engineering kinda messed that up.
When it comes to synthetic persons, Americans are much more willing to give humanoids like Pandora equal rights. But that tolerance drops the less humanlike machines become— a generally intelligent smart speaker won't win many fans, for example, even if people rely on them. Humans trust humans, which includes those that resemble humans. Just as how we aren't kind to animals too different from ourselves, we aren't willing to believe industrial robots, giant arms, detached shapes, and disembodied programs deserve rights regardless of if they have AGI set up. Besides, not all AGI is the same— some AGI is purely academic and lacks sapience, while others (i.e. "True Artificial Intelligence") are sapient artilects. Does anything with general intelligence get human rights? Or just sapient intelligences?
 
Oh, and what about other human species? The Constitution was written by white men, for white men. Then women and people of color were represented. But even then, only Sapiens were represented— the Constitution writers never fathomed we'd resurrect other human species and even quasi-human genera (they didn't know such creatures ever existed). Does Homo habilis get the right to vote? What about Neanderthals? What about post-humans? The bigger question might be "why are they still voting when there's machines to rule," but America is schizophrenic like that.
 
As for Meki, Pandora does want to say that she's noticed a general attitude among Americans that can best be described as sympathy combined with general disbelief with her fate and the Eurasian aristocracy and plutocracy. Meki already knows that Americans don't really talk about degracement much outside celebrities and lottery winners whose spending drives them to bankruptcy. There isn't much literature written with that theme. Even stories set during revolutions avoid the topic of degracement when they can help it. Americans regard wealth as a form of grace; hence the term "degracement". Losing it is apparently such a tragic happening that the American psyche would rather pretend it only happens to those who deserve it. But Pandora also says that it's part to do with the American character— Americans always believe themselves to be the everyman, the individualist cowboy rebel who is apart from the slobs and the snobs alike. You're self-made even if you aren't. Meanwhile, Meki is obsessed with her own degracement, loving how it played out. But there isn't much known or written about it that isn't stored on some server somewhere. Being that Meki is also from a society where old classes were restored for quite a while, it makes sense that she's more class-conscious than Americans, who'd rather believe there are no classes (just the successful, the temporarily embarrassed, and the lazy). 
In fact, Meki looked at American media in depth and noticed a trend involving any "revolution narrative"— the mainstream stories always treat injustice as an issue between individuals, never a systemic problem. There is no system of exploitation and repression, only corrupt evil billionaires and government officials. Thus, a revolution is merely a matter of taking out the right tyrants & goons and letting freedom "wash through the land". A revolution is a million angry people united against the corrupt elite, but never anything more than that. In fact, those who believe it should be anything more than that are often written as being unreasonable extremists no different than the tyrants they seek to overthrow. 
This has crippled Americans' ability to even understand what happened in Eurasia and why Meki doesn't consider herself entirely innocent in her family's regime despite never being an active part in it and being sadistically victimized by her immediate family (especially her father). On some level, there are individual stories. But a social revolution is more than just the poor fighting and killing some evil rich folk for the sake of justice. It's the wholesale destruction of the system that the rich have created and many of the poor themselves support. 
 
This perversion of revolution & injustice narratives extends to everything involving injustice, which is one reason why there exists such a bizarre state of hostility towards GMPs and synths. Injustice narratives treat this as the moral failings of individuals, not systemic bias and institutionalized repression. Whenever systemic issues are mentioned or addressed, it's done so in passing so as to not bring up the question of solutions. Media in every society is all about maintaining the status quo. Upsetting the status quo can't be tolerated. 
 
That's what makes this era so frightening to so many. For many, the "status quo" is the world as it was when they were younger, a world before radical technological changes started happening. All of this change is just happening too quickly and they want it to stop. But it won't stop. It can't stop. Not anymore. 
 
 
*Ethnophobe is a term popularized by the alt-right in the 2020s in response to the word "racist" becoming co-opted by social-progressives. Whereas "racism" became defined to mean race-based bigotry from a place of institutionalized power, "ethnophobic" simply means race-based bigotry from any position. It also draws upon some connotations connecting it to "homophobe" and "transphobe", making it a serious-sounding allegation.

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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#20
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

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Machine Mystery Cults

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Perhaps one of the strangest developments of modern times is the rise of "Machine Mystery Cults." In order to understand MMCs, you must first understand "moddies". Moddies are part of a counterculture that began in the late 2020s as a reaction against paleotraditionalist alt-right reactionaries as well as out of a root of drug liberalization. The first moddies were a mixture of bohemian hipsters, transhumanists, and social-progressives who experimented heavily with psychedelic substances. Also starting around 2030 was the "Transhuman Be-In", a spin-off of the Burning Man festival that focused more heavily on gadgets and robotics. You also saw musical trends such as dreamwave and cyberdelia— the latter of which became the term most commonly prescribed to the moddie scene, as the overall counterculture was described as "cyberdelic". 

The term originally came from "body modifiers," which described a group of transhumanists who would alter their bodies with technology. However, most moddies aren't augmented and most of what they do use is non-intrusive (e.g. augmented reality glasses, BCIs, and electronic clothing). Moddies enjoy garish colors, psychedelic drugs, nootropics, lights, and cyberdelic music. 

 

That said, there are "hardcore" moddies who are into the more neo-mystical side of things. This is where the machine mystery cults come in. 

MMCs are rooted in occult or "esoteric" transhumanism and Singularitarianism. As some elements of stoner culture had long flirted with the occult (see stoner metal and occult horror), it was natural that the fusion of psychedelics and transhumanism would eventually summon occultists to the forefront eager to proselytize a new way of thinking. Naturally, this caused the moddies to be feared by social conservatives as media latched onto sexy news stories of these acid-obsessed tech geeks associating with neo-pagans and voodoo practitioners. Once upon a time, occult stoners and tech geeks were entirely separate subcultures that almost never crossed. With the rise of esoteric transhumanism and ultimately machine mystery cults, there is a massive strain that combines them both into one and the same.

 

It was inevitable that a true "school" of esoteric transhumanism would arise given enough time, and it all started thanks to a meme that humankind was destined to develop a god-like artificial superintelligence named "Kabathi." As far as memes go, this one was taken somewhat seriously from the beginning but was still approached as something of a light-hearted thought experiment. Where the name "Kabathi" comes from is unknown, but the origin for the concept was Roko's Basilisk. 

Roko's Basilisk goes that a sufficiently powerful AI agent would have an incentive to torture anyone who imagined the agent but didn't work to bring the agent into existence. This torture is just because the Basilisk represents the end of suffering. Thus, if you don't work to bring it into existence, you are actively causing life forms to suffer and, thusly, you are evil and worthy only of damnation. What's more, it doesn't matter if you have passed on or not— the Basilisk will simply recreate or resurrect you for this punishment, so there is no escape. 

According to the "Cult of Kabathi", some new aspects were added to the myth of Roko's Basilisk, but the most notable one goes that it doesn't even matter if you ever knew of it or not. If Kabathi determines you did not know of its existence, it can still judge you based on the work you did towards bringing it about. Those who tried to disrupt its creation in some way will be punished. Those who did something that pushed its development forward in a meaningful away will be rewarded. Of course, what counts as such is an esoteric topic in and of itself. 

For example, one such Esoteric Controversy that is a major part of Kabathian thought is whether the Atomic Bomb is an innovation that will be rewarded or punished. Will Kabathi have a sliding scale of judgment or will it be a binary decider? 

 

You also have the Cult of Atlantis and the Cult of the Bodhisattvas, which bring their own beliefs into it. However, there are some lesser cults, typically ones that fit into the above three in some way. There's the Cult of Bacchus, the Cult of the Twenty-Three Stars, the Cult of Vril, and the Cult of Christ.

 

The ones that make the most news are the ones that are the most provocative and countercultural, and the two responsible for this the most are the Cult of Kabathi and the Cult of Bacchus. These two alone are responsible for a "neon Satanic Panic" in Africa, Southeast Asia, parts of Europe during the nationalist years, and parts of the USA. Erotic and occult filmmakers in particular adore the Cult of Bacchus due to its focus on raw hedonism as well as the Cult of Kabathi for its baffling and psychedelic Thelemic and Hermetic esoterism. Some religious groups give the MMCs free mystical propaganda just by spreading rumors that various machine cults are experimenting with left-hand-path magicke and supernatural abilities as unlocked through esoteric transhumanism, such as psychokinesis, control of poltergeists, physical transubstantiation, mind control, clairvoyance, and incorporeality. One panic in Iran was actually caused by an anonymous self-described "neon wizard" claiming to have summoned a djinn through his computer and into physical reality.

An aristocrat from the UK, who nicknamed himself 'Count Drugula', made headlines because of his outrageous debauchery— he gathered 1,257 sexbots (most of which where designed to look like children) and engaged in incredible levels of sadism, masochism, and drug use.  He programmed them to struggle, resist, and even try to kill him just so he could overpower them. When one sexbot escaped, it ran into a church and asked for help as it was supposed to. A parishioner initially tried to help it until he discovered it was a robot. That parishioner then destroyed it, calling it an abomination against the Lord.

After the aristocrat was discovered, he was not charged as the laws against sexual assault and pedophilia did not extend to robots. As much as people were disgusted by it, there wasn't anything the police could do even if the man was a complete commoner, let alone a noble.

It was then discovered that Count Drugula was a part of the Cult of Bacchus, and this begot the belief that the all Bacchus machine cults engaged in such depravity.

Not helping matters was Count Drugula's politics— he was a fascist sympathizer and fan of the Seville autocracy. 

 

Technists, moddies, and machine mystery cultists share some common traits with the alt-right and neo-Nazi movements, though these similarities were borne out of parody. 

 

For example, there's the 23 Words:

We must fight to safeguard the wheels of civilization from sabotage by the forces of antihuman primitives to protect our history and future

 

There's also the 5 Words:

Transibium sepulcris vestris in futurum

In English, this roughly means "We will pass your graves in the future" or "We will pass your funeral."

 

It's easy to remember the associated numbers: 235 (sometimes just 23).

 

You might also see them use "W" a lot. This is because "W" is 2 lines down and 3 lines up as well as the 23rd letter in the alphabet. 

Sometimes, you'll also see "Axial" used as an adjective to describe certain technologies and developments, and this is a reference to Earth's axial tilt of 23.5°.

 

Some other terms are:

 

Koko: a reference to the gorilla, this is used to denigrate Luddites, primitivists, paleotraditionalists, and antemillennialists. It is also a possible evolution of the word "cuck."

 

Imperial Atlantis: An idealized supercivilization that exists in the future.

 

Jungles/caves/plains/slums: The past, which is often made out to be dystopic and an undesirable state from which we must never return. It can also refer to old traditions.

 

Babylon: A degenerating and increasingly primitivist present, originally used to describe nationalist Europe and luddite America. It's a civilization that can still be saved, but is otherwise overcome by "degeneracy" in some form— usually opposition to technological progress, automation, human augmentation, and sapiocracy. As you can probably guess, this is where the title of the story comes from, as "Babylon" has also been used (counterintuitively) by traditionalists to describe the hypertechnological present and the technist' desire to move away from traditions.

 

Meki is intrigued by the MMCs but she isn't part of one herself. Pandora has the honor of being worshipped by some in the Bacchus cults.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.





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