Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

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cappadocius cappadocius's picture
Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Hello! Screw introductory posts, let's get to the meat!

Uplifts in Eclipse Phase seem to suffer a little of the same prejudices as they do in-setting. They're often written off as weird little people in fursuits but no different than some Barsoomian or Brinker. And with apes and even birds, this may be true. But the lonely Octomorph, that most beautiful of the Uplifts, that most graceful of space-farers, he's smart, he's talented, but so little is devoted to his nature in the published materials.

To start with, there's the question of WHO got uplifted. There are only one or two species within each of the uplifted Primate categories (orangutans, chimps, gorillas), there's a couple of dozen Corvid or Psittacid species at the outside. There's over 100 species within the genus Octopus alone, never mind the two families that comprise Octopodidae. One suspects the Giant Pacific Octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) is either the firstest or the mostest, given how big it is and transhumanity's typical focus on charismatic megafauna, but there could potentially be more lines of FLAT octomorph uplifts out there than there are human morphs!

Baseline octopodes have NO auditory capability. Sound and hearing is as alien to them as the input from a fish's lateral line would be alien to a human flat. When uplifting birds and apes and dogs and kitties, you've got an animal that can not only already connect specific sounds to specific emotional states, but, more importantly, understands sound at all. We must assume that the brilliant men who uplifted the Octomorph gave them hearing, since they were adapted to speak, but millions of years of deafness isn't so easily thrown off in a mere transhuman lifetime. Music? Meh. Conversation? Meh. Do Octomorphs prefer visually-based, computer-facilitated communication - is there an octomorph equivalent of pre-Fall humanity's "deaf culture"?

Octopodes have an autonomic response that keeps their eyes oriented horizontally at all times - handy for free fall situations! One hopes the uplifting teams left the organs responsible for that on. On the other hand, a baseline Octopode's arms are semi-autonomous, with complex cortical structures with no direct neurofeedback connection to the brain. Octopodes have essentially no proprioperception! The only way an octopus can tell exactly what its limbs did upon the brain issuing a command is to LOOK AT THEM. They can tell when an arm is stretched, they can generally determine the individual textures of an object they're holding, but they have no way of determining the shape of handled objects by touch alone. The problem is that an octopus flat’s brain simply could not handle the cortical processing to handle all eight limbs with their wildly more flexible range of motion with the same degree of micromanagement that humans and avians devote to their limbs. With genetic engineering and computer enhancement, this problem could be solved – but has it? It would explain why Octomorphs don’t come with seven levels of Ambidexterity built into their base morph, wouldn’t it? Since Octomorphs are already used to their bodies operating semi-remotely, do they prefer this method when operating synths? Do Octomorphs "rig" in the Shadowrun sense, rather than outright resleeving like Transhumanity? Do they deal better, or worse, with strains of exsurgent virus wherein body and mind are increasingly divorced?

I eagerly anticipate the Eclipse Phase sourcebook on the outer solar system, as the Europan ocean and autonomist habs seem the most likely sources that will go towards answering my questions on Octomorphs.

Octopode pride!

Tell me, O Octopus, I begs
Is those things arms, or is they legs?
I marvel at thee, Octopus;
If I were thou, I'd call me Us.

-- Ogden Nash


[img]http://img7.imageshack.us/img7

CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Just as an aside, you might also want to keep an eye out for Panopticon, which supposedly will have an entire chapter (so maybe 50 pages or so if we look at the other books) devoted to uplifts.

Orangs are still better though :p Ook.

-

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Awesome, cappadocius. Don't forget that they also made them *huge*, and human-sapient. I just assume that they kept the physical shape, and replaced everything else. Even for mammals, we have to assume that they fundamentally human-ized the hell out of the nervous system… it explains any pesky 'science' issues.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Cephalopods also see polarized light. Great for seeing transparent objects in water, stresses in plastic and for writing messages and drawing art most primates cannot see. Not to mention making surface patterns that other cephalopods can read.
http://cephalove.blogspot.com/2010/07/what-cuttlefish-sees-that-you-dont.html

Octopuses appear to have problems distinguishing between mirror images. This might suggest an interesting trait for a character, or that they all have a tendency towards dyslexia.
http://cephalove.blogspot.com/2010/06/octopus-sensory-systems-part-1.html

Their brains are also very different from ours. The central part surrounds the esophagus, making proper table manners important if they want to avoid neural damage. The optic lobes look like they could be extended into a more cortex-like structure, making their brains fundamentally visually based. The basal lobe seems to be already like our premotor cortex, so maybe that can be extended into a new prefrontal cortex.
http://cephalove.blogspot.com/2010/06/view-of-octopus-brain.html

Incidentally, practically none of the chemical drugs intended for mammalian use will work as intended in cephalopods. They certainly use the same neurotransmitters, but in the wrong places. So they need their own versions, and may have drugs mammals will never be able to experience.

Extropian

cappadocius cappadocius's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

CodeBreaker wrote:
Panopticon, which supposedly will have an entire chapter (so maybe 50 pages or so if we look at the other books) devoted to uplifts.

I'd pay good solid cash-money or the rep of the creator's choice for an entire BOOK devoted to Uplifts.

CodeBreaker wrote:
Orangs are still better though :p Ook.

Therian Supremecist. :p

Tell me, O Octopus, I begs
Is those things arms, or is they legs?
I marvel at thee, Octopus;
If I were thou, I'd call me Us.

-- Ogden Nash


[img]http://img7.imageshack.us/img7

cappadocius cappadocius's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

All very true Arenamontanus! I bet most First Contact specialists have to spend a while doing psychology/social work with Octomorph communities, to get used to dealing with alien minds and physiologies. :D

Tell me, O Octopus, I begs
Is those things arms, or is they legs?
I marvel at thee, Octopus;
If I were thou, I'd call me Us.

-- Ogden Nash


[img]http://img7.imageshack.us/img7

The Green Slime The Green Slime's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

The more facts I learn about cephalopods, the more inclined I am to remove their uplifted descendants from my game. There's just too much about the creatures at odds with human norms, and bringing them remotely into line with such norms would require not so much an overhaul as a total reconstruction.


Time will perfect matter.

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Like I said. At least the novacrabs are Pods, so we don't have to explain their brains.

cappadocius cappadocius's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

The anthroponormative attitudes in this thread make me a sad mollusc.

Tell me, O Octopus, I begs
Is those things arms, or is they legs?
I marvel at thee, Octopus;
If I were thou, I'd call me Us.

-- Ogden Nash


[img]http://img7.imageshack.us/img7

The Green Slime The Green Slime's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Sorry squiddly, you're just too fucking weird. I have more in common with a tyrannosaurus than I do with you.

If somebody scooped out your freaky donut brain I'd be willing to give your body a test drive though, for laughs if nothing else.


Time will perfect matter.

Lilith Lilith's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

On the bright side, I'm a big fan of sushi and calimari, so you're always welcome around my ship for dinner, Cappa. <3

Quincey Forder Quincey Forder's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

RP wise, how should a player approach the roleplay of an neo-octopus uplift character (or NPC for the GM)?

Q U I N C E Y ^_*_^ F O R D E R

Remember The Cant!

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Or any uplift. I think the answer is 'we don't know'. :) Have fun with it. All we know is that they're 'human enough', yet still understand themselves to be non-human.

cappadocius cappadocius's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Quincey Forder wrote:
RP wise, how should a player approach the roleplay of an neo-octopus uplift character (or NPC for the GM)?

I think you first need to answer in your head how much octopus did the uplift team leave in that sexy toroidal brain when "normalizing" the character for transhuman society. Unless you've got a group that really digs on the cultural and sociological elements of transhuman existential horror gaming, you'll probably want to err on the side of more human than octopus.

Some keywords I would use to anthropomorphically describe baseline octopodes include:

inquisitive * shy * visually-oriented * obsessive * pragmatic * sedentary * solitary * quiet

A quick and dirty way to sketch out an octomorph, then, would be to have the character deviate obviously from one or two points in the tag cloud. Come up with a couple of "octopus culture" taboos - the octopus penis is detachable and typically found on the third right arm, so octomorphs may wear a sleeve on that arm (sincerely? ironically? is no sleeve a statement?) - and you can fake your way through an NPC enounter.

Tell me, O Octopus, I begs
Is those things arms, or is they legs?
I marvel at thee, Octopus;
If I were thou, I'd call me Us.

-- Ogden Nash


[img]http://img7.imageshack.us/img7

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

That is a very good approach. We might want to make similar tag clouds for other uplifts.

Extropian

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Remember the ideology that created uplifts to begin with. You don't uplift to make humans that look like animals. You uplift for the animal's sake, to advance its evolution, to let it partake in advanced society. The uplifted species can take their destiny in their hands and overcome the challenges they are faced with. Some people today speak of uplifting as a moral imperative once we are able to do it. After all, uplifted animals don't go extinct. They aren't dependant on humans not destroying their natural environment, or keeping them around as cattle, pets or zoo animals. In EP, how many non-uplifted animals escaped Earth? The uplift imperative was right.

So I'd expect they'd leave them as natural as possible, but of course upgrade their intelligence, sensory and motoric capabilities to let them function in a technological air-based culture, but also the social and emotional framework for it. They'd still be octopus, but of course they wouldn't be made as cripples, just like transhumanists wouldn't leave people with down's syndrome "natural". And if by some chance they left them as effective emotional and social cripples, many of them would upgrade themselves. If humans had to live among aliens, wouldn't we modify our brains so we'd understand the. And fit in and feel good about it? Isn't that what transhumanism is about?

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Quad post

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Quad post

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Quad post

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

See, I really don't see these as compatible, and it doesn't sound like all of your sentences agree either. The less 'crippled' you make them, the more 'human'. What else could we do? Evolution isn't teleological, we can't rely on just saying 'advance their evolution'. If we give them to social and emotional framework for (our) society… they're us. Can you 'upgrade intelligence' without using humanity as the model and metric?

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Well, I wasn't saying they'd be totally squid, but humanity is quite a varied bunch, even today. We have introverts and extroverts, athletes and potato couches, gamers and clubgoers, goths and fashionistas, soccer moms and suits, artists and engineers, and all sorts of combinations of them and people in between.

Would uplifted octopii be unable to hear or feel the position of their limbs? No. Would they feel uncomfortable out of water? No. Would they be unable to understand and relate to human emotions? No.

But they still might be distinctly octopii. Some might be very human, some might be very alien, but the majority would be well-functioning but just a tad different. Maybe like say the obvious cultural difference between your average American and Japanese, or even more so.

So basically, I disagree with the "octopii are too alien to work as uplifts" - they'd be made so they could function in transhuman society. I also disagree with the "they're just humans with more arms", that wouldn't be the point either. I like this suggestion:

cappadocius wrote:

Some keywords I would use to anthropomorphically describe baseline octopodes include:

inquisitive * shy * visually-oriented * obsessive * pragmatic * sedentary * solitary * quiet

A quick and dirty way to sketch out an octomorph, then, would be to have the character deviate obviously from one or two points in the tag cloud.

They sound just like engineers, don't they? ;)

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

We do agree, then. I thought you were saying that uplifts aren't basically human-ified animals. I'm not being anthropocentric, I just think we have no *choice*. There's a bit about this is the thread about uplifted lions (IIRC?).

King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Considering the female octopus instincts to care & tender 200 000 eggs, they could be the near perfect caretakers for anything vat grown.



"To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult."
Plutarch

cappadocius cappadocius's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

King Shere wrote:
Considering the female octopus instincts to care & tender 200 000 eggs, they could be the near perfect caretakers for anything vat grown.

Any kind uplifting organization is going to turn off the hormones that kill female octopodes after brooding their eggs and males after a few years of mating - we'll see how excited an Octomorph Matron is about raising a few hundred thousand eggs once she knows she won't die after all that grief.

Tell me, O Octopus, I begs
Is those things arms, or is they legs?
I marvel at thee, Octopus;
If I were thou, I'd call me Us.

-- Ogden Nash


[img]http://img7.imageshack.us/img7

cappadocius cappadocius's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Smokeskin wrote:
Well, I wasn't saying they'd be totally squid,

Sir, octopodes are not squids! Squids are dullards and savages compared to the gentle and benign octopus. Octomorphs have eight arms and no tentacles; they have eight arms and two disgusting tentacles armed with horrific barbed suckers!

If uplifting octopodes leads to squididity, then we'll have none of that, thank you!

Tell me, O Octopus, I begs
Is those things arms, or is they legs?
I marvel at thee, Octopus;
If I were thou, I'd call me Us.

-- Ogden Nash


[img]http://img7.imageshack.us/img7

Tyrnis Tyrnis's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

This is one of the reasons I'm looking forward to Panopticon. While one of my first EP character concepts was for an uplifted octopus, I've only actually played an uplifted raven. Ravens being carrion-eaters was something that he carried over even with his human socialization. Being a medical researcher, well, it was sort of like working in a candy store, though it's not very conducive to research when you snack on the experiments. Sadly, the game only lasted a couple of sessions, so I didn't get to go very in depth with my exploration of how he was human and how he was most assuredly still raven. I'm hoping I'll have the chance to dig deeper on issues like that in the game I'm trying to run for my friends in a few weeks (if they actually make characters.)

Quincey Forder Quincey Forder's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

well octopi could play a sport of their own!
I call it... (wait for it)
...SQUIDDITCH!

Q U I N C E Y ^_*_^ F O R D E R

Remember The Cant!

kindalas kindalas's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Since Panopticon is on it's way I figure I should get my own ideas down before it comes out and refutes/confirms my theories.

I have a feeling that the people who made uplifts were not originally trying to elevate lesser species and instead were selfish jerks seeking to develop better tools for transhumanity to use.

Because of this theory I believe that the brains of the respective uplift animals have been heavily modified to be compatible with a human ego. I also believe that the first generation of uplifts were in fact sleeved with psychosurgeried human egos and only by the 3rd or 4th generation were actual children raised. I also think that the 5th and 6th Generations were heavily expanded through forking of young (less then 5 year old egos) who were then allowed to divert off into unique individuals. I also believe that this complicated process was only used for the more exotic uplifts, (Whale, Octopus, Avian) where as the more human like uplifts (ape, chimpanzee, Neanderthal) were simply treated initially as exotic morphs that then went on to develop a society when they were able too.

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Quincey Forder Quincey Forder's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

My personnal theory is that it race between countries and/or hypercorporation
the goals could vary and would explain why several kinds of animals were uplifted
-Espionnage
-tactital warfare, like sending uplifted animals attack specific targets, sink specific ship by sticking bombs at critical spots
-work in hazardous place like deep under sea
-rescue in hard to reach location

Take a look on The Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes to find the reasons why thy uplifted apes

Q U I N C E Y ^_*_^ F O R D E R

Remember The Cant!

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

It seems likely if there was an economic advantage to using uplifts then many would be created for commercial purposes, more than were created for ideological purposes.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Uplifts only make sense economically if they are cheaper than automation like AI. Besides the cost of actually uplifting them each uplift needs to be reared to adulthood. An AI, once it is fully trained, can be copied indefinitely.

According to the timeline simple AI was around BF60-40 and was widespread BF 40-20, the time when the first dolphins and chimps were uplifted. There has been more recent uplifts in BF 20-0. While I can imagine early uplift projects expecting an advantage over those simple-minded AIs (after all, an uplift has a skill max much higher than an AI) this was likely not true for the later uplifts. So it had to be ideology driving the uplifting.

Of course, given EPs tendencies the official reason will of course turn out that the hypercorps wanted more kinds of masses to oppress :-)

Extropian

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

I'm willing to bet the actual reason was 'to see if we could'.

CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Yerameyahu wrote:
I'm willing to bet the actual reason was 'to see if we could'.

Agreed, with a little bit of 'why not' thrown in. The governments, or maybe the megacorps, were still the major powers back 20 years before the Fall. Could have been a not so friendly rivalry between nation states, much like the US/USSR Space Race.

First person with a Chimp who passes the Turing test wins.

Edit: And much like the Space Race, there may have been other technologies that developed along side. Brain state digitisation came after Primate/Cete uplift, it might be that the technology was helped along by an influx of cash from the Uplift projects. The futures version of Velcro.

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The Doctor The Doctor's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

cappadocius wrote:
Do Octomorphs prefer visually-based, computer-facilitated communication - is there an octomorph equivalent of pre-Fall humanity's "deaf culture"?

Possibly. I do not see why there could not be.

A mode of communication for octopodes appears to involve changing the texture and color of the skin, so it is possible that their mode of communication (and in fact, equivalent of music) might make use of smart materials that glow, change color, and change shape and texture in ways pleasing to the mind.

....and then my brain immediately goes to "octopus raver." I need sleep.

Quote:
Octopodes have an autonomic response that keeps their eyes oriented horizontally at all times - handy for free fall situations!

One would think that something so handy in a microgravity environment would be left intact.

Quote:
One hopes the uplifting teams left the organs responsible for that on. On the other hand, a baseline Octopode's arms are semi-autonomous, with complex cortical structures with no direct neurofeedback connection to the brain.

If nothing else, installing the cognitive multitasking implant would be easier (and possibly less expensive).



The Doctor The Doctor's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Lilith wrote:
On the bright side, I'm a big fan of sushi and calimari, so you're always welcome around my ship for dinner, Cappa. <3

How rude!

Do you play four $manipulator chess, Cappadocious? :)



The Doctor The Doctor's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

CodeBreaker wrote:
Edit: And much like the Space Race, there may have been other technologies that developed along side. Brain state digitisation came after Primate/Cete uplift, it might be that the technology was helped along by an influx of cash from the Uplift projects. The futures version of Velcro.

It is also likely that some of the lessons learned from the early rounds of the uplifting projects provided insight that was useful, if not crucial, in figuring out how to upload and virtualize brainstates. It would be certain that many of the early uplift experiments were failures, and those failures were dissected to learn what went wrong.



Lilith Lilith's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

The Doctor wrote:
How rude!

It's only rude if you don't share.

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

There's a very brief shout out to David Brin and uplifts on SciAm today: http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=too-hard-for-science-david-brin--ra-2011-04-29

(Also, this unrelated short post about ego-copying and death: http://www.overcomingbias.com/2011/04/what-is-em-death.html)

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Yerameyahu wrote:

(Also, this unrelated short post about ego-copying and death: http://www.overcomingbias.com/2011/04/what-is-em-death.html)

Wow that one is BS, he writes

But he’d usually expect that “he” would continue to exist through other copies. He wouldn’t consider this harm to be remotely as large as what we call “death” — the end of anyone who remembers our life in some detail. <\cite>

Oh yeah? I for one would certainly mind dying EXTREMELY much, no matter if some copy out there walks around out there still. Obviously any copy I have would feel the same. Spawning time-limited copies is murder.

CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Smokeskin wrote:
Yerameyahu wrote:

(Also, this unrelated short post about ego-copying and death: http://www.overcomingbias.com/2011/04/what-is-em-death.html)

Wow that one is BS, he writes

But he’d usually expect that “he” would continue to exist through other copies. He wouldn’t consider this harm to be remotely as large as what we call “death” — the end of anyone who remembers our life in some detail. <\cite>

Oh yeah? I for one would certainly mind dying EXTREMELY much, no matter if some copy out there walks around out there still. Obviously any copy I have would feel the same. Spawning time-limited copies is murder.

Good for you? He prefaces that quote be stating that he feels the opposite way. Doesn't mean that it is BS, in fact he could say the exact same about your opinion. Personally I agree that his position on the matter runs counter to my own, but that isn't the point. If the original can honestly say (truly honestly) that they would be willing to be the copy that was shut down, as the writer seems to posit he is, then it is a perfectly reasonable stance to take.

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CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

iPad double post.

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cappadocius cappadocius's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

When your species is eaten by roughly half of all the other uplifted species out there, and even if you don't get eaten, and you're lucky enough not to be the gender that has a built-in killswitch for after your eggs hatch, you still only get five good years or so, and you have tens or hundreds of thousands of siblings, 90% of whom will also be eaten before reaching maturity, and you can give yourself a crippling brain injury by eating too fast, one finds oneself a little more blasé about "dying" when reintegrating or deleting forks.

Octopode Pride!

Tell me, O Octopus, I begs
Is those things arms, or is they legs?
I marvel at thee, Octopus;
If I were thou, I'd call me Us.

-- Ogden Nash


[img]http://img7.imageshack.us/img7

CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Which neatly brings up the issue of ageing, and how being immortal affects the psychology of the naturally shorter lived members of transhumanity. Octopuses in the wild don't tend to survive very long as it is. But after the Fall their morphs come standard with biomods that effectively stop ageing. They are also much better protected from predatorial dangers, not many sharks call the Trojans home after all.

If humans start experiencing immortality blues after a few hundred years, how are octopuses supposed to keep up?

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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Here is an even more alienating claim: octopi do not have personalities
http://io9.com/#!5797153/how-i-accidentally-conducted-experiments-on-a-human
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18640-hdtv-reveals-brainy-octopus-has-no-personality.html

Basically, the study seems to show that octopi react in different ways to the same stimuli at different days, while birds and humans tend to react identically. This might be due to other factors of course (maybe octopi are extremely moody - they did use the Gloomy octopus after all :-) ) but I find the idea of a being with no fixed personality quite enticing. Even if uplifted octopi have stable personalities this might not be true for AGIs, for example.

(As for Robin's look at upload death and its plausibility/implausibility: consider whether you regard using forks as murder. Different people seem to come to very different conclusions on how forks ought to be treated. And as he no doubt would point out, the most copied uploads might not be the most normal minds.)

Extropian

cappadocius cappadocius's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

You say "no personality", we prefer "disarmingly quirky".

Tell me, O Octopus, I begs
Is those things arms, or is they legs?
I marvel at thee, Octopus;
If I were thou, I'd call me Us.

-- Ogden Nash


[img]http://img7.imageshack.us/img7

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

CodeBreaker wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:
Yerameyahu wrote:

(Also, this unrelated short post about ego-copying and death: http://www.overcomingbias.com/2011/04/what-is-em-death.html)

Wow that one is BS, he writes

But he’d usually expect that “he” would continue to exist through other copies. He wouldn’t consider this harm to be remotely as large as what we call “death” — the end of anyone who remembers our life in some detail. <\cite>

Oh yeah? I for one would certainly mind dying EXTREMELY much, no matter if some copy out there walks around out there still. Obviously any copy I have would feel the same. Spawning time-limited copies is murder.

Good for you? He prefaces that quote be stating that he feels the opposite way. Doesn't mean that it is BS, in fact he could say the exact same about your opinion. Personally I agree that his position on the matter runs counter to my own, but that isn't the point. If the original can honestly say (truly honestly) that they would be willing to be the copy that was shut down, as the writer seems to posit he is, then it is a perfectly reasonable stance to take.

Well, he specifically doesn't say that he'd be ok with dying. He said that he'd be ok with his copy dying. His "thought experiments" clearly demonstrate that he doesn't consider the issue from the copy's point of view, and that he doesn't think of a copy as a person with individual desires and rights. He seems to think the copy is there for his sake or something, and the copy should be thankful for being given life at all.

It really is BS what he's saying.

If someone held the position that they'd be ok with committing suicide if there was a copy of them running somewhere, that would at least be consistent. I personally think that suicidal tendencies are a sign of mental illness and people should be kept from doing it and treated (painful terminal diseases notwithstanding). If society doesn't have laws equivalent to that (and most do), I'd very much like to sign a contract to ensure I got treated if I became suicidal instead of succeeding in killing myself. Imaging if we one day can make copies of our minds and some irrational meme like "if there's a copy of you remaining it doesn't matter if you die" took hold and you actually wound up killing yourself. If society doesn't have laws protecting you from suicide (and most do), I'd very much like to sign a contract for protection against such memes, in exactly the same way I'd like a psychiatric system to save me if I got a severe depression and became suicidal.

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

I didn't intend for everyone to latch on to the link that *wasn't* on topic, and I don't want to help derail… but. :) Smokeskin, I don't see anything about 'specifically not saying he'd be okay with dying', so unless you're an Async in touch range with the author… heh.

What I do see is this: "Yes the copy might be sad when his year came to an end, knowing his detailed memories of that year would not last. But he’d usually expect that “he” would continue to exist through other copies. He wouldn’t consider this harm to be remotely as large as what we call “death” — the end of anyone who remembers our life in some detail."

So, he doesn't say what *you* said he says, nor 'specifically not' what you said he doesn't say. This is 'the copy would be more okay with ending than humans today are with dying'. I don't find that a hugely controversial (and/or 'BS') statement. I don't necessarily agree, at least in all circumstances, but it's not out of left field.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

I just asked Robin (he happens to be here in Oxford), and he happily said "Depends how you frame it in your head". Some people seem to be entirely happy to sacrifice forks, others won't. What really matters is who will be selected for economically. And he thinks the big successes of the uploading era will be workaholics that are pretty OK with sacrificing some forks for the good of the others.

He suggested the following thought experiment: suppose there is a "Cinderella drug" that will make you forget everything that happens tonight. You can take it and try weird stuff - go to wild parties, try new things, test your emotional boundaries in ways that would otherwise have changed your future outlook. But tomorrow you will completely have forgotten everything, except maybe for notes you write yourself. Is this a scenario you would desperately want to avoid because it would 'kill' you?

You can also consider the scenario where you get told there are good news about reincarnation: it really does exist, when you die your personal identity is transfered to a new child. It really *is* you, except that there is no correlation between your current self and the child - no information transfer, just a persistent label. Would this really be good news about being immortal?

(my suggestion is that further discussion is best done on the comments of his blog)

By the way, Robin suggested that uplifting might work by either taking animal brains and making them more human... or taking human brains and making them more animal. Which one is easier? It seems the second is. So maybe the dark secret of uplifting is that the uplifts are actually seriously warped humans...

(Talk about weird crossovers between threads and blogs...)

Extropian

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Nice, a pleasant accident. Would we call that 'uplifting' (except as a public-friendly euphemism)? What benefits would you gain from animal-izing a human mind (as opposed to creating a Beta)—higher Apt/skill max springs to mind. The Police Baboons seem equally plausible as 'downlifted' humans in baboon morphs.

King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Another motivation for uplifts to still retain quirks & instincts: it was the quirks that was the researchers main interests & to them it was only a bonus that the end result also spawned Turing test capable entities.

Economically Uplift research may have been a facilitator; Researched to ease development into the true research. Result data was then used to further development in skill softs, Ego sleeving, AI ,/ AGI (or into the main purpose; building Titans to harvest souls.)



"To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult."
Plutarch

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Re: Octomorphs in Eclipse Phase

Arenamontanus wrote:
I just asked Robin (he happens to be here in Oxford), and he happily said "Depends how you frame it in your head". Some people seem to be entirely happy to sacrifice forks, others won't. What really matters is who will be selected for economically. And he thinks the big successes of the uploading era will be workaholics that are pretty OK with sacrificing some forks for the good of the others.

First off, everyone seems to forget that the fork is a person. You wake up, thinking you're you, but then find out you're actually a fork, expected to do some job for the benefit of your primary ego and then just die happily. Most people probably won't just go ahead with the job. The normal reaction to finding out that you're sentenced for death is fear, despair, seeking revenge against your executioner, finding a way to avoid death, making the best of your remaining time alive. Doing what your executioner wanted of you is probably pretty far down on the list.

I don't really buy the "economic selection" argument alone. Unless the rich get significantly more children, or being poor makes it unlikely you'll put children into the world, you're not going to see a high ratio of people without normal self preservation instincts (and even then, it would take many generations). Otherwise all you'd see is the x% of the population who are mentally capable of forking getting rich.

With enough psychosurgery, you should be able to make people care about the success of your "ego pattern" rather than the specific instance of it that is you. It isn't unheard of that people let go of their survival instincts (to save your kid's life, kamikaze pilots, suicide bombers), so some framework is there, though I don't think any of those do it calmly or under anything but what they view as extreme circumstances. Getting them to do it for mere economic gain would take some work.

Another way could be that almost everyone who survived the fall were people who didn't mind dying as long as an alpha fork of them was out there. After all, normal people would find egocasting to be equal to death, they stayed on Earth and the vast majority of people in space were "fork-capable" - which with the Fall turned out to be a trait with quite a lot of evolutionary pressure.

Arenamontanus wrote:

He suggested the following thought experiment: suppose there is a "Cinderella drug" that will make you forget everything that happens tonight. You can take it and try weird stuff - go to wild parties, try new things, test your emotional boundaries in ways that would otherwise have changed your future outlook. But tomorrow you will completely have forgotten everything, except maybe for notes you write yourself. Is this a scenario you would desperately want to avoid because it would 'kill' you?

That is just memory loss, it has nothing to do with forking. The key concept is continuity of consciousness.

Compare it to this scenario:

Your mind is scanned, and tomorrow morning that scan will be used to create an exact copy of you. You are then offered a poison pill that will kill you after 8 hours, giving you the freedom to try weird stuff during the night. Would you eat that pill?

That describes forking more accurately, from the fork-to-be-killed's perspective. It isn't just memory loss, it is death.

The key concept is continuity of consciousness. Some claim that this is just an illusion, and we're in reality "dying" every fraction of every second, or consciousness itself is an illusion, so you shouldn't have any problem with discontinuing your consciousness. The problem I see with that is not only does uploading and forking become unproblematic choices, so does actual suicide without a backup.

Arenamontanus wrote:

You can also consider the scenario where you get told there are good news about reincarnation: it really does exist, when you die your personal identity is transfered to a new child. It really *is* you, except that there is no correlation between your current self and the child - no information transfer, just a persistent label. Would this really be good news about being immortal?

I don't get it. What is the mechanism of continuity here? If there isn't one, then you're still dying and then a copy is brought back.

Arenamontanus wrote:

By the way, Robin suggested that uplifting might work by either taking animal brains and making them more human... or taking human brains and making them more animal. Which one is easier? It seems the second is. So maybe the dark secret of uplifting is that the uplifts are actually seriously warped humans...

That will also depend a lot on why you're uplifting. Someone who wants intelligent octomorph workers, they'd pick the easiest route, which might well be from the human angle (interfacing with a new body type should be a lot easier than making an animal smart and social you'd think). Someone who wants intelligent octomorph workers without human rights would probably approach it from the animal angle. Someone who wants to uplift animals to help them would certainly modify the animal brain. And of course it might be really muddy, maybe someone really did start with human brains but pretended they started with animal ones for fame or legal reasons, and threw in some animal-like personality quirks to make the con more believable.

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