An informative piece, especially with the lifting stones, and showing how hardy of a people the Icelanders are. That being said, it's a bit on the mundane side, as in somewhat lacking in the fantastic. It is a bleak and treacherous place, inhabited by stoic fishermen, where is the hook to reel a group of PCs to their shore?
Appearance augmentation in the Cosmic era is ubiquitous, which does bring up a certain paradox. There is a drive to be attractive, but only to a certain point, if you are too attractive it can work against you, especially if you are female. Go to Comment
The visual/holographic projection is less useful that directly into the optic nerve or visual cortex, but the implants required for this are common, not universal. There is also the function of security and encryption. The holographic output allows for casual use, not allowing an unfamiliar, or a non-dedicated device (hey, can I borrow your phone?) to access brain access ports.
The Cosmic Era is indeed driven by advertising and marketing, and there is going to be a huge market for licenses cathexes, skins and other mods, and custom made muses with specific appearances. I would say one of the functions of the Muse is an advertising filter, with commerical muses being custom adjustable to block certain types of adverts, but most are not going to have a fully functional adblocking protocol, because that cuts off even so called friendly adverts. This is where the market comes from for unlocked muses, hacked muses, and custom muses. Go to Comment
The central idea of the cathex (terrible name) is the personal companion program. These programs are typically only capable of interacting with their owner, and are virtual guides, constant companions, and protectors. This would range from the 'imaginary' friends of children expanding out into entourages of personas swirling around powerful people, to the custom built speciality programs that work for shadow ops and shadowrunners Go to Comment
The observatories have orbits that keep them in the shadow of the large planets in the solar system. This isn't to hide them from Earth, but rather protect them and block out radiation and light from the sun. The hiding aspect just works in their favor, plus most of the high end secret stuff is out past the asteroid belt, far away from Earth. There are ships and people flying around in them but something like a flight out to Saturn or further is similar to a modern trip to Antarctica, something generally only done by the military and scientists. Go to Comment
That could certainly work, but then you end up with a large and unwieldy codex, like the random encounter codices we made. They are massive. I also have no idea how useful they are, or if they are just monuments we've piled up and walk around. Go to Comment
The Chicago stockyards are my favorite of the 11/30 listed. The rest are an interesting mix of crypto-conspiracy and modern mythos and I like that a lot. There are a couple of things that come to mind to add to this.
There's nothing about the Nazis. There needs to be some Nazi wonder weapon secret lair.
Australia and the dreamtime
Devils Triangles and missing cruise ships
Dinosaur cryptids or isolated locations with dinos.
Cold War era simulations, like the American city replicated in Russia to train spies
An Ember/Matrix like buried vault city Go to Comment
I like this idea, and I can see it being used to literally create a new race, add a new check box after White, Latino, Black, Asian, and Pacific Islander to represent the new space friendly, genetically screened, future of humanity Go to Comment
I love both the concept and the complication, you simply cannot control copy control paste skills and competencies into someone's brain without it throwing all sorts of code errors and funny figures, like copying a document from one program and pasting it into another, but not seeing the new figures and weirdness until it's too late to do anything about it. Go to Comment
One of the largest distinctions I want to make between organic life and machine life is that machine life is explicitly not driven by the biological urge to procreate. The machines do build more of themselves, but this is either a function of pragmatism or the whim of their human creators.
It's one of the reasons machines think we're gross and wasteful. Go to Comment
quoteThe central question, similar to what Aramax mentioned, is the same as with any character. What are their motives? Do they seek world domination, acceptance, or love? Do they have some alien, otherworldly concept that humans just can't relate to? Are they merely mechanical scripts; no ghost inside the shell? There are a surprising number of deep questions, ethical and otherwise, that can be explored in a campaign. Many of these questions are being explored right now in developing real-world regulations for artificial intelligence. /quote
The motives of AI are to pursue the purpose for which they were built. Some rail against it, others embrace it, as it is simply part of who and what they are. The Seibertronian sub lists five raison d'etres: soldier, scientist, explorer, creator, and servant. AIs are used in conflict resolution, data handling research and development, exploration and exploitation of resources, industrial applications, and for supporting something else. To AI, their concepts are easily understood and it's humanity that is alien and otherworldly, what with our biological functions, chemical excretions, primitive behavior, and other organic functions.
Seibertronians specifically are sentient living beings, being a fusion of a machine vessel and a cosmozoan fragment. Most informorphs are just clever script. At the top end, after a certain point of sophistication sentience is almost a certainty, This is not human sentience, or even mammalian sentience, but it is sentience none the less. To quote Tommy Lee Jones from MiB, 'Human thought is so primitive it's looked upon as an infectious disease in some of the better galaxies.' Using arcanotechnology, steps are taken to make sure that the androids and sexbots and other machines and informorphs being made do not gain true sentience, as it can become a real pain when all of a sudden your television passes the Turing test and demands it's personal rights and freedoms as a sentient being.
As for the take over the world, destroy humanity, find acceptance and love: for the most part many of these things are human conceits. The machine doesn't seek love or acceptance because it doesn't follow the herd dynamics and family structures that come from our specific mode of reproduction. The Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond goes into the specifics of our society being built around the fact that we have large headed, slow maturing, highly vulnerable offspring that take 20 years to reach maturity, and require care and protection for a good deal of that time. Taking over the world and destroying humanity, well, there is always going to be an infomorph who thinks that that Megatron guy had his business together.
As for malevolent AI, that's where it gets fun and there are certainly malevolent AI, for a look at one, I've thrown some tidbits out in the Proxy sub about an AISC that hacks into people with brain augmentation and makes them into puppets for it.
As for dropping the campaign specific keywords, that could make it generally more useful. But for my purposes, I would rather keep it as it is, because ideally I'd like to eventually edit and compile all of the 160+ subs I've written for the Cosmic Era into a source book. I also feel that one of the drawbacks of most dystopianism is it's lack of mythology, theism, or wonder, and there is a sort of horrible wonder to the Cosmic Era and that is something I want to keep and cultivate. Go to Comment