The creation of the artificial brain took a number of decades from its inception to it's completion, and rather than being created in a single lab, it was the culmination of years of work by hundreds of scientists and engineers in dozens of facilities. One of the ways that arcanotech is created is through a farming system, with a single central facility coordinating the work of many satellites, which themselves are only aware of a very small piece of the project they are working on. This is done for the outward reason of making espionage more difficult, but for the more practical reason of limiting the amount of insanity causing factors that a location is exposed to. Older facilities that were more contained were found to be more vulnerable to critical and catastrophic tech failures that resulted in destructive, dangerous, and expensive dimensional fatigue events.
Dr. Winninger might be credited with creating the first artificial brain, but his work was built on two things that are largely ignored; the years of work by others that went into the subsystems and the foundational technologies that underpinned his work, and the alien head recovered from a DFE in the Myanmar region of the ACPS.
Cymek: The term cymek is uncommon, and usually misused. The correct usage of the term cymek is the application of an artificial brain in a human body, along the lines of anyone who has any sort of invasive brain implant. This is most often a corrective measure for victims of cranial trauma, or for compensating for a disability. The minority of implants are used for military, espionage, or other subversive purposes. Most people who sling the word cymek do as as a slur against people who are ingratiated to machines or display what appears as unhealthy attraction of favorable opinion towards machines. It is also a slur referring back to AISCs using humans as surrogates, aka proxies. Finally, any person demonstrating a lack of personality is often labeled a cymek, in reference to patients who have undergone frontal lobe transplants and had functional computer lobotomies.
A moderately powerful dimensional fatigue event erupted in Myanmar after the destruction of a prototype Chinese warship. The event drew some interest, but was quickly exploited by the Glassenheim Foundation. The wreckage of the ship had been consumed and transformed into a bipedal humanoid titan, and the Foundation's warship was able to destroy the robotic alien and return with it's head and core. The head was examined, probed, and dissected by scientists of the Foundation, and the things learned from it were instrumental in creating the fundamentals of cybernetic brains, both in organic transplants, and in the cortices used by robots and androids.
The nanite rich fluid extracted from the cranium is still being examined.
Mentat: A mentat is a cymek, a person with cybernetic brain augmentation. The term is specific as a mentat has a special set of parietal and temporal lobe implants that functionally give them eidetic memories, the ability to calculate mathematics at computer speed, and other mental abilities common among savants and computers. These cymeks are then given special training to make them the 'perfect' hybrid of man and machine, combining the non-linear and irrational cognitive leaps of the organic brain and the flawless precision of the electronic brain. Mentats are used in advisory roles, work in think tanks, and are part of long term planning operations.
Mentats are frequently drug users, specifically mind altering, or neurostimulating drugs, which allow them to crunch data faster, or change their perception of the information being examined.
The first augmentations were done be accident, with lab assistants being contaminated with nanite samples from the Myanmar Titan. The nanites gravitated to the brain and started a process termed metalomorphosis. The brain tissue underwent conversion to metal and mechanical components. The victims and later test subjects invariably went insane or died as a direct result of the experiment. Cloned brains were found to be useful for later testing, with the nanites being able to complete their work before the termination of the host body. These completed alien brain implants were reverse engineered, and the information learned was doled out to gifted researchers like Winninger.
Menton: Mentons are diet mentats, lacking the cybernetic brain implants. Almost all mentons are clones, and are given extensive computer and brain stimulation and training during their incubation in the creche tanks. Once decanted and oriented, these clones are able to quickly and efficiently examine and sift through data, and are considered valuable parts of various military intelligence agencies, government and corporate think tanks, and R&D departments. They have the advantages of being cheaper to create, are not vulnerable to computer hacking, have fewer and less severe ego issues, and are not as long term an investment. This is balanced out by the fact that the typical mentat can run circles around a menton, just as a menton can leave an unaugmented human in the dust.
Prior to the recovery of the Myanmar Titan, the realm of brain augmentation was creeping along, with primitive analog modifications, like the brutal Wachoski probe. There were upgrades available, but they either required making room inside the head, or had to be grafted to the spinal cord, creating synaptic dissonance and cognitive lag. The Titan accelerated neurocybernetics by centuries, allowing for the eventually creation of the artificial brain, and then it's application and exploitation.
The cymeks were created first, humans with partial brain transplants, as mentioned elsewhere these were functionality upgrades, and laid the cornerstones for advanced and tactical brain augmentation. The mentats were created later, exploiting the synergy between human and machine intelligence, initially as an experiment to explore creating suprahuman level intelligence. It was found to be successful, but expensive. The information learned from the Mentats were used to create the Menton training programs, for less expensive options.
Hyper intelligence doesn't come for free. There are two costs, the financial cost and the mental cost. On the financial side, neurocybernetics are among the most expensive cybernetic components available, and the surgeries are likewise invasive, costly, and require sometimes lengthy recovery periods. The mental cost is that as the intelligence increases, there are more and more personality quirks, mental tics and other issues.
How it works on the Character sheet: whatever the system, there is typically a human max for the attributes. A basic augmentation can raise the intelligence attribute to the max human for the cost of one mental flaw. After that, each additional level of intelligence incurs it's own new flaw. Once intelligence has been raised to double human max, the next levels cost two mental flaws each. Thus, incredibly intelligent people can be created, but eventually require very carefully controlled environments to operate in. Mentats are only limited by their madness for max intelligence, and mentons can only be raised to human max intelligence plus one.
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? Responses (1)-1
Followed the Maw link to Cymeks here, to see what they are exactly, and i love the multiple meanings of the term, as well as the description. Could be an insult, could be mis-used, could be help for traumatized brains, not just straight-up 'enhancers', etc