Solarchives

18 posts / 0 new
Last post
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Solarchives

I have a loose idea for an adventure, and solarchives show up in it. Do any of you have interesting experiences with how solarchives have been used in the game?

Extropian

Anarhista Anarhista's picture
Re: Solarchives

Other then it's primary function, not many from the top of my head. Maybe as a nice bundle of information about (trans)humans for other alien races (who want to conquer us, else it wouldn't be fun ;) or what would you take with you when going through stargate... ooops Pandora's Gate while Sun is going nova... (yeah, yeah: time, white dwarf, whatever... :)

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.

Pyrite Pyrite's picture
Re: Solarchives

It's an interesting question exactly what the Solarchives are. Massive system-wide wiki project? That would be nice, but as it stands many of the polities in the inner system seem to practice too much information control to allow that.

Who maintains it? The Argonauts? That's really the only option that makes sense.

'No language is justly studied merely as an aid to other purposes. It will in fact better serve other purposes, philological or historical, when it is studied for love, for itself.' --J.R.R. Tolkien

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Solarchives

Pyrite wrote:
It's an interesting question exactly what the Solarchives are. Massive system-wide wiki project? That would be nice, but as it stands many of the polities in the inner system seem to practice too much information control to allow that.

Who maintains it? The Argonauts? That's really the only option that makes sense.

The description in Gatecrashing suggests that they are reference libraries, probably a combination of high quality information collected by hand by experts and everything meshspiders could download in addition, to make a comprehensive overview of a domain. I suspect there are plenty of wiki-descendants, but probably they are rather splintered by now.

I suspect there are many sources, but the Argonauts are likely very active here.

My adventure idea is essentially that I want to make the Eclipse Phase take on Umberto Eco's "Name of the Rose". Set at an Argonaut habitat devoted to building a proper library of the information of transhumanity, with researchers making solarchives as a profitable side activity (somebody has to pay for those server upgrades!)

The fun thing about this is that in many ways this would be an inversion of Eco's monastery. There the monks were preserving the information, hiding it from the outside world and each other. Here open access rules: everything is supposed to be transparent and available to all. But I suspect interesting things can happen inside the perfectly transparent library too. Should forks be included into the collection? Is it acceptable to accept payment for services - or pay for data? Just think of Wikipedia politics, ubiquitous surveillance and information hazards.

Extropian

Sepherim Sepherim's picture
Re: Solarchives

Yes, it is acceptable to pay for data. I'm sure Stellar Intelligence offers several databases for sale. And probably the Argonauts accept donations in both cash and also information to add to their database for exotic or rare items of knowledge (though probably they would give them out for free still if you can't pay).

The mind is information... hack it!
+4
http://tribulaciones.es/

Caretaker Caretaker's picture
Re: Solarchives

Arenamontanus wrote:

My adventure idea is essentially that I want to make the Eclipse Phase take on Umberto Eco's "Name of the Rose". Set at an Argonaut habitat devoted to building a proper library of the information of transhumanity, with researchers making solarchives as a profitable side activity (somebody has to pay for those server upgrades!)

Could be fitting to place such a 'monastery' habitat in Sol's corona. Maybe the habitat receives periodic raw-information downloads from the mesh, then moves deeper into the corona for an isolation period in which time: the experts manually process the raw data, and when the habitat comes back-out it uses some kind of solar-eruption-based communication technique to do a data burst of the results updating the inner-system mesh.

Sepherim Sepherim's picture
Re: Solarchives

I don't think the Solarchives are centralized in any way. Though the idea of one habitat doing it in reverse from the Name of the Rose (be it in the corona or elsewhere) is pretty nice and dramatic, transhumanity has been constructing a fully de-centralized mesh, so I don't think they would centralize the solarchives. I would picture it more like a recognition people grant to publicly accessible databases of high quality, be them corporate, from a university, from a habitat, or any other possibility.

The mind is information... hack it!
+4
http://tribulaciones.es/

King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: Solarchives

Well for the theme of Eclipse Phase take on Umberto Eco's "Name of the Rose

Ghost in the shell, second gig spoilers

Regarding the secret text that kills people & the eclipse phase twist of a open archive - tben I think of the individual eleven essay in Ghost in the shell,

there was the plot of that the essay ,"Individual Eleven", a known historical text that suddenly becomes relevant, despite that everyone thinks it can be aquired, no one seems to be able produce an actual written copy of it. Anyway it spread a basilisk hack. (the essay isnt a genuine historical text, its the a orchestrated selective virus, that has been hidden with a "perfect" credible historical identity.
gits sac 2gig episode 12 "IN: To Those Without Even a Name."



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

Caretaker Caretaker's picture
Re: Solarchives

Maybe the monks are actually restoring pre-Fall scans of books from a recovered source such as the library of congress/google-books... when the "Individual Eleven" basilisk hack is introduced.

What if the text was actually written to a paper (or animal skin) book by an exsurgent sometime in ancient earth times intended to become a basilisk hack virus in the future once the book is read from digital scan.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Solarchives

Yes, the trope of poisonous or forbidden knowledge being unearthed at the Argonaut research is an obvious and useful adventure seed. The only problem in my opinion is that it has been done several times. Information hazards might be an obvious element (and might be why Firewall is involved). But I think it would be interesting to have an adventure that is not just about stopping xrisk of the week, unearthed by naive researchers/corrupt corps/crazy singularity seekers.

The same is true for having the station separating itself from communications periodically: great for creating a locked room setting, but it has been done.

As you can see, I am making things hard for myself by trying to avoid the obvious tropes. In Eco's book much of the story revolves about *limiting* access to information, whether by walls, prejudice, ignorance, intrigue, ideology or the physical limitations of medieval society. I want to make a story that deals with the opposite end of the spectrum: what bad things can happen in a community devoted to openness and the spread of knowledge, where it is hard to hide information. Think of it as a murder mystery set on Wikipedia.

As I envision the station it has a core library of carefully vetted and curated information, accessible to all and inscribed on read-only long-lasting hardware with remote backups. Surrounding this is the research front: taking data from out there and organizing it so that it can be included. This means cross-checking it, adding the right metadata, combing through it for forgeries, spam and viruses, all the menial and deep tasks of archival science. This might also be where the big conflicts are: what to include? how to frame controversial information? what standards to use?

My take on the process of making solarchives is that many groups do it, but a few do it well. So these groups are in high demand to make portable compendia of everything a gatecrasher team, new polity or hypercorp research outpost might need. Similarly other products from the library are useful: education programs, simspaces and indices.

Another aspect - and this is where I really think there is something to work on - is making simulations of the past. If you have a lot of data you can infer things not in the data. What if there is something in this process that sets the action in motion?

Extropian

King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: Solarchives

Well for the adventure seed regarding basilisk hack text adventure seed, to further mirror in the name of the rose - the conspiracy doesn't want it to be known that they are storing specific harmful hacks.

As for simulations, there is the ship of Theseus paradox (what happens to a original that has its components replaced) Or when a imitation succeeds the "original" -though both those troupes are also somewhat overused.

For example a simulspace shakespear ai writes a marvelous new play (its somehow leaked into the public), how is the plays creator recognized?



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

Caretaker Caretaker's picture
Re: Solarchives

Arenamontanus wrote:

Another aspect - and this is where I really think there is something to work on - is making simulations of the past. If you have a lot of data you can infer things not in the data. What if there is something in this process that sets the action in motion?

Just brainstorming:

What if the monks are bioconservatives, they reconstruct famous historical authors ego as infomorphs -then force them to rewrite their books with anti-AI/anti-uplift sentiment.
The rewritten work is falsely presented to the transhumanity public as the original work.
for example: In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Cowardly Lion betrays Dorothy and eats her.

(other altered titles: Asimov's I robot, Pinocchio, George Orwell's Animal Farm etc).

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Solarchives

It is interesting to see that everybody thinks of the Argonauts as monks :-)

Caretaker wrote:
Just brainstorming:

What if the monks are bioconservatives, they reconstruct famous historical authors ego as infomorphs -then force them to rewrite their books with anti-AI/anti-uplift sentiment.
The rewritten work is falsely presented to the transhumanity public as the original work.
for example: In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Cowardly Lion betrays Dorothy and eats her.

I would probably not go with the bioconservative and directly distorting angle for my own adventure, but a corrupt and deliberatively distorting library is a fun idea: in fact, this might make a wonderful setting in (say) Jovian space. Just look at this week's Futures story:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v486/n7402/full/486286a.html
After all, rewriting and "rediscovering" texts lost in the Fall might be a great way of spreading propaganda. Sometimes they have the original to go by, sometimes they just make things up, and now they are experimenting with author-skinned AIs.

The risk here is of course that the disinformation might get believed: a plausible lie originating in the MiniTruth system is taken for real by the authorities who now want to track down the original information... dragging the originating re-editor with them, since he is the expert on the writings of the historical person, who apparently knew too much.

In the more "clean" Argonaut setting I am thinking of, the biasing and fictionalising aspects of research might still matter. Sure, we have lost the second book of the Poetics, but big simulations and constraint-satisfaction models produce a fairly consistent estimate of what it should have been like. How much can that be trusted? What research can be based on such newfangled methods? What if subtle biases from the originating researchers get built in? The level of conflict this could cause is nothing to sneeze at: scholars *care* about these things, especially in regards to important works.

Hmm, there might be a temptation here to go further, to try to create extrapolations of what authors might have written. A bit like "A history of bitic literature" in Stanislaw Lem's Imaginary Magnitude, where AI skins write Dostoyevski's unfinished and unwritten works. And of course, some people might want to make AGI versions of their favourite authors (a bit like Keats in Simmon's Hyperion duology). But at what point does mere imitation end, and a strange form of continuation begin?

Extropian

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Re: Solarchives

Caretaker wrote:
Just brainstorming:

What if the monks are bioconservatives, they reconstruct famous historical authors ego as infomorphs -then force them to rewrite their books with anti-AI/anti-uplift sentiment.
The rewritten work is falsely presented to the transhumanity public as the original work...

I'm sure that there will be people who would cry foul. While humanity's records and history was damaged during the fall, there should be enough remaining integrity in what remains that people should notice that the new pieces don't fit. Plus, many experts of the given works may have survived the fall. Given that many habitats tend to restrict communications and don't always share information, many such experts might be thought dead or otherwise... until they make a serious effort to refute these forgeries. To expand on that idea, if experts can survive, maybe some of the authors survive as well.

In the end, these bioconservatives will probably fail in whatever it is they are trying to do. Without the resources to delete or replace data on a large scale, they'll probably only succeed in creating controversy and making some converts. Many factions will fight this, trying to keep information pure and accurate, considering this attack to be among the worst kinds of evil. Others will would want to protect their own interests, and will likely fight this to the extent that will protect their interests. Some of these interests groups may attack the whole movement anyways, figuring it to be more efficient to make a decisive victory as whole, instead of beating a few opposing works but leaving them still creditable by association with those not beaten. A few isolated or tyrannical factions (most notably the Jovians) may help spread this propaganda as it'll help their interests. Others may not care at all.

It may make an interesting story and adventure though.

Sepherim Sepherim's picture
Re: Solarchives

If you don't want an x-threat approach to the issue, you might want to make it a conflict inside Transhumanity. Maybe it is Stellar Intelligence that's seeding the hacks (or whatever) in the database, in order to destroy it as a competing element, and isn't aware of how quickly it may spread in an open society (or doesn't care). Or maybe other databases, or philosophical groups.

In the end, players would have to decide if the good that comes from open knowledge is worth the risk it means to everyone.

The mind is information... hack it!
+4
http://tribulaciones.es/

Caretaker Caretaker's picture
Re: Solarchives

The Argonaut Solarchives could be something of a wikileaks. Maybe they are planning to add an entry on Firewall (its existence and a list of agents) that's by itself is potential x-threat.

Firewall sentinels will need to find the source of the leak. but the 'leak' may not come from a specific individual but from the Solarchives process of extrapolating raw data (like the TedTalk: "What we learned from 5 million books": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5l4cA8zSreQ).

On a side note: wikileaks logo is very EP themed (if one just change the Earth to another planet...):
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e7/Wikileaks_logo.svg

King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: Solarchives

brain storming, How about the idea of (for lack of better term) "Data illusions" that somehow have manifested inside information that causes problems for the unaware when exposed to them. Preventing correctly inferring from/understanding troves of valuable data that has now essentially been blessed/sabotaged/booby-trapped with these illusions

Im thinking these illusions causes different warping depending on who or what try to "observe", "interpret" or "measures" the phenomena or the data they reside in. Compare optical illusions and Rorschach test.

perhaps some of them are;
a iniative test, candidates are asked to analyse a large mountain of data and the examiners are seeking a specific interpretation in order to recruit or flunk the candidates.

a level of Supervenience in self-organized data.



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

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Solarchives

I like the idea of weird data illusions. There is so much data that the transhuman mind cannot really comprehend it, and unconscious processes start bubbling up. Fits in nicely with some of the hallucinatory passages in Name of the Rose. Maybe these illusions are just harmless illusions, but they can seem very spooky - and there might be basilisk hacks, offensive memes or other strange things in the treasure trove.

There is also the real risk of getting lost. When you can immerse yourself in information, recreations, and visualisations, you might get trapped. A bit like getting stuck in Wikipedia or Tvtropes, but now full immersion and with more information than you could ever imagine. Properly trained academics know how to rein in their curiosity and focus, but some slip and become bookworms.

Extropian