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Offline Ria Hawk

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Techno-babbly
« on: November 01, 2006, 01:08:53 AM »
I need some assistance with some realistic techno-babble.  Can someone suggest a logical way for someone to essentially replace the memories and identity of another person so thoroughly that they've basically created another person?  Modern or near-future setting, magic isn't out of the question, but I'd rather avoid it, and brainwashing only goes so far.

Edit:  Wulf suggested a combination of brain altering drugs injected into the temporal lobe coupled with some pretty hefty hypnotic suggestions/re-education.  I like it, but if anyone can think of something simpler...
« Last Edit: November 01, 2006, 02:07:39 AM by Ria Hawk »
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Offline manfred

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Re: Techno-babbly
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2006, 03:29:37 AM »
Re-program, simply.

The breakthrough research of the lately disappeared Dr. Rodenberg made it possible to interconnect functional parts of the brain with a computer interface.

Of course, a human brain is not suited for programming in the common sense. However, with the right stimulation and drugs can be important memories
suppressed, and the brain set on a more cooperative mode. With a little virtual reality, the person can be persuaded that what it sees is real, and accept it as a
part of its genuine memories

The technology might be just there, it's the knowledge that is missing. So, get your noble genius that wants to cure people shocked into a catatonic state... and let him disappear. Mix in a shadowy organisation, shake, do not stir. ;)
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Offline MoonHunter

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Re: Techno-babbly
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2006, 10:40:32 AM »
In "When Gravity Fails" (a George A. Effinger novel) the cyberpunk "skill chip" is taken to the next level. Mod chips carry full personalities. Some just adjust your attitudes (still you, but "Gung HO"! Still you, but have the attitudes and some of the skills of a "Porn Star"), others completely overwrite your personality and memories (the degree depends on the Mod and the user's will). Moddies have simple feedback wiring installed in their neural channels, just like skill chips.

The surgery to have a mod is simple by cyberpunk standards, finished and recovered in three hours. Mods chips can be totally internal, unable to be swapped out and generally un-noticable by everyone. However, you could have a tail tell silver spot above the hairline in the back of your neck.

There is a great suppliment for Cyberpunk 2020 (still available from R Talsorian  http://talsorian.safeshopper.com/9/22.htm?148) that covers this entire subject (and the setting).
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Offline MoonHunter

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Re: Techno-babbly
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2006, 10:44:30 AM »
Edit:  Wulf suggested a combination of brain altering drugs injected into the temporal lobe coupled with some pretty hefty hypnotic suggestions/re-education.  I like it, but if anyone can think of something simpler...

Actually this is not that hard.  You don't even need to go to injection to the head. Simple, modern, psychoactive hypnogenics, and a few hours of work, can literally remodel a person's personality with memories. Span this over three days with a skill hypnotist and a few extra details (such as planted faked photos, personal effects, stuffed toys you won at the fair last summer, etc), and the process can hold for a long time. If you train them to seek out their psychologist if they feel fuzzy in the head, they will return to their "psychologist" for a bit of retraining any time their conditioning drops.

 
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Offline Kinslayer

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Re: Techno-babbly
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2008, 03:24:51 PM »
Messing about with someone's head is creepy.  Abusing technology to do so only enhances the creep-factor.  So, let's max out the creepiness with wee little beasties.  What could be more creepy than little bugses crawling around in your brain. 

Grey Worms are microscopic parasites that live within the cerebrums of chordates.  The larger the brain & higher the body temperature, the better host that animal makes.  Humans are ideal, but large herbivores work fine, too.  Grew Worms are able to tear through the blood vessels and enter the brain.  As they eat intra-cellular matter--and are famished from their journey--they consume what would otherwise be a minor stroke while the rip seals.  Grey Worms reproduce asexually, and stay within the host until its death.  From there, they encyst themselves and are eaten when a creature accidentally bites the soil while grazing, or for humans, when food is fertilised with contaminated tissue and not washed properly.

More diabolically, some shadowy organisations have begun injecting Grey Worms directly into their victims. Even a single cyst placed in the victim's food, or under the skin with even a scratch, will have Grey Worms reproducing & altering the brain within the hour.

Once they are inside the brain, the Grey Worm makes itself right at home.  A fairly passive parasite, it does little direct damage to the brain.  No neural cells are harmed, and few resources are consumed.  As the process of encystment & spreading to a new host is both difficult and risky, the Grey Worm's survival habit is to instead interfere with the host as little as possible. 

What the Grey Worm does is move things around a bit, like rearranging furniture.  The host is not impaired, but personality changes are evident.  These are subtle changes, and not usually noticed in cattle or most other hosts, but in humans, the changes to memories and outlook can be dramatic.  As the overall functioning of the brain is unaffected, the conscious mind attempts to make sense of the new patterns of thought, and what it thinks it remembers.  Only in rare cases are major skills--such as language or walking--hampered, but changes such as gaining religious fervour or losing loyalty to one's nation are surprisingly common.  Minor details--nevertheless quite troublesome to those familiar with the host prior to infection--are also very common, such as food preference or manner of dress. 

The Grey Worm infestation is there for the long-term.  There are no ways to remove them without also killing the host.  Most of the changes in personality & memory are stable shortly after infection, however in some cases further alterations can occur years later, usually when something (such as a bad flu or a really drunken bender) stir the worms up & cause them to again reorder the neural pathways.
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Offline Chaosmark

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Re: Techno-babbly
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2008, 11:02:22 AM »
My question is, does it need to be long-term, or just short-term? Long-term, Moonhunter's method would probably be the best way to go. If it's just short-term, there are simpler and much cheaper ways. What comes to mind is the simple brainwashing that was used in Communist Russia, and is still used in China today.

You repeatedly punish someone (starvation, beatings, etc.) for what you don't want about them, then reward them for what you do want them to be/do. If you keep this up for a while, and keep them isolated from others who can offer them support to resist the brainwashing, the effects can last for months. In China, other prisoners actually enhance the effect of the brainwashing, making a person either accepted or an outcast based on whether or not they conform. It's amazing what people will do and become to be accepted, especially in an environment where literally EVERYONE accepts or rejects you. All you're really doing here is retraining the person to be what you want them to be.

The 'letdown' a prisoner will experience after the brainwashing ends will last for roughly the same time period as the brainwashing held.

Endnote: I know you said brainwashing only goes so far, but depending on how long it needs to last, and the environment it needs to last in, brainwashing/retraining as mentioned here is one of the best ways to get results with a minimum of psionics, hypnotism, and drugs.
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Offline Kassy

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Re: Techno-babbly
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2008, 10:10:41 AM »
I don't know im not really into near future/ future games im more of a medieval, swords and magic etc gal.

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Offline Cheka Man

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Re: Techno-babbly
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2008, 03:20:02 PM »
How about brainwashing/lack of sleep, mixed with the right kind of drug or drugs and lots of *planted items* to back up the new identity?

Offline CaptainPenguin

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Re: Techno-babbly
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2008, 04:27:12 AM »
Simple memetic recontextualization. You see, doctor, a human being bases their identity on their individual interpretation of the environmental cues around them and in their past; certain patterns of interpretation become popular through societal pressures, and these are "memes". Through application of simple pineal serum therapy, we can recontextualize the subject's interpretation of the cues which they experience. This, combined, with some easy memory reconstruction, can make what amounts to an entirely new person.
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Offline Kinslayer

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Re: Techno-babbly
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2008, 07:55:44 PM »
For an effect that exactly duplicates another person, or a certain personality template (like Zealous Patriot) an electronic device is implanted in the skull.  Simple (though random) changes can use the much simpler and efficient expedient of Grey Worms (above).  The Engram Reordering Pineal Amplification and Modification Chip, or ERPAM-chip is first pre-programmed with a set of conditions and responses.  These are gathered from the person to be emulated, or someone exhibiting the personality traits desired for the template.  When implanted in the person to be altered, the chip responds to conditions in the brain that are either similar to the desired response (a positive signal), or are counter to that response (a negative signal).  The ERPAM-chip then re-conditions the host brain with electrical stimulus to the pleasure and pain centers of the cerebrum.  More complex behaviours are mapped to similar areas of the pre-frontal cortex.  Thus, whenever the implanted person performs a certain behaviour--or indeed even thinks a certain way--the ERPAM-chip responds with either a pleasure reward or pain punishment.  The degrees of pleasant or unpleasant responses can be modified by the pre-programmed template, or remotely operated by a controller.  If, for example, a social malcontent was to be reprogrammed to love the Beloved Leader, and hate all forms of literacy, they would receive a minor pleasant sensation whenever they see a poster of our Beloved Leader, and a strong pleasurable sensation whenever they feel actual love for him.  Contrarily, that deviant malcontent will feel an unpleasant feeling if they think about someone reading, and intense pain if they ever attempt to open a book themselves.  Should retraining beyond the programmed template's capacity be needed, for example, an aversion to authority figures emerge as a result of implantation with the EPRAM-chip, an operator could broadcast a 'nice' wave prior to entering the cell, and a 'hurty' wave if the subject fails to use the proper polite forms of address. 
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