Technology is the most important aspect of life in Singularity. Technology is what brings about the change. It has become a medium that human life requires, not unlike air and water. It is ubiquitous and invasive.
Internet and Communications
Internet is the other reality. For AIs, Ghosts and some humans, it is the more significant reality. Internet-capable products are everywhere: ovens, refrigerators, house security systems... Almost all complex machinery is connected to the internet. 5th generation cellular devices allow continous and broadband internet access almost everywhere on and outside the earth. These cellular devices usually have the capabilities of a turn of the century PC. Most cellulars are integrated into goggles or come equipped with goggles and gloves.
On the internet, the data is represented by virtual structures, so called 'data constructs'. The VR representation of the internet is not unlike a boundless city of streets and buildings. Buildings and real estates represent the web sites. These sites are more like 'space' and are usually three dimensional.
AIs outperform humans by a huge margin in all tasks concerning computers and internet. Human brain is too slow compared to computers. Major system operators and software developers are all AIs, (or sometimes Ghosts) running on quantum hardware.
Internet has a low-resolution virtual reality representation that is normally accessed by goggles and gloves (GnG interface). These goggles and gloves can be really subtle or even nonexistent- as some systems are capable of remote sensing of hand movements and direct projection of the images on the retina by low-intensity laser beams. There are other, far more immersive VR environments that are capable of simulating all sensations. These immersive environments usually require a modified nervous system with direct interface capability, though systems that do not require modifications are also available, but these are rare and expensive. In any case an immersive VR environment has very high hardware demands.
Quantum Computers and Hardware
Quantum computers are commercial in 2031. They are still expensive, but they have replaced classical computers in tasks that require high computation speed (Mainframes and supercomputers are all QC's). A QC can break through any classical code in a very short time, and only quantum-coded data can resist quantum-dechiphering. Usually a QC is required to run a digitally translated personality (DTP or 'Ghost') or a strong AI. Smaller devices and PC's are mostly binary computers. Very small quantum computers are available, but usually are rare and extremely expensive. Most devices are not full computers but terminals, which are controlled by remote AIs and programs. This is made possible by reliable and fast wide-band internet connexion.
Modern AIs have a wide range of powers and capabilities. Most AIs are low-level programs (called 'weak' AI) which simulate not intelligence but instict. Strong AIs, on the other hand, can be rated on human levels, and some of them can outperform humans on any conceivable intelligence test. Extremely intelligent AIs are very difficult to create (most were developed from a self adjusting program core) and have high hardware requirements. AIs tend to be alien and do not have human motives or self-awareness in the human sense, but some are designed to simulate human behaviour and thinking to some degree. AIs are legal property of their owners.
The concept of software is different from the previous decades. In 2031, AIs are common and computers are usually run by their own intelligent operating systems (IOS). These programs are almost always capable of speech recognition, and can comprehend and execute spoken commands. The IOS is very versatile and is capable of writing the required program for the task at hand, or download it from a net based library if it has an access to such. Most companies have libraries that serve their devices everywhere. Any such program an AI writes is then send to the library and cataloged for ease of access later. The library service allows a simple AI to connect to a higher level AI when it cannot handle a task. Usually the power of the operating system - governing AI determines the capabilities of a system.
Digitally Translated Personalities
Human personalities can be translated into software. These DTP are commonly called 'Ghosts'. Some companies copy important persons this way, in order be able to use their expertise in the future. Legally ghosts are not humans, but property. Some ghosts have enhanced capabilities in the net because they have merged with AIs. This way, they can compete with the AIs on the net. Some companies prefer an enhanced ghost systems operator to an AI.
Cyborgs are humans (or other animals) augmented or modified by cybernetic technology. Some Cyborgs act as 'Vessels' for tele-operation. This procedure requires modification of the nervous system of the organism. Modification of a human nervous system this way more often than not causes serious physiological and psychological problems. Thus human Vessels are mostly clones, or brain-dead persons. Normally these modifications are subtle, and it is not possible to identify a Cyborg from outside by normal human senses. Vat-grown clones equipped with neural wiring are the most common type of Cyborg. Since these clones can be grown at very high rates (up to x60) in vitro, they have no memory or skills when they become operational. Thus artificial memories and skills are implanted in them. Cyborgs grown in this way are owned by their producers, and are not entitled to human rights. Many DICCs (Direct Interface Capable Clones) have special implants such as neurotoxin glands, intended to keep them under corporate control. UN regulations ban the creation of clones who can reproduce normally. Thus all clones are sterile, even though most have functional genitals.
Robots are quite common in 2031. They do anything from housekeeping to high-risk maintenance jobs, almost all of the actual manufacturing in the developed world, and deep space exploration. Robots can be controlled by a built-in AI (called autonomous robot or AR) or can be teleoperated from the outside (a vessel). For tasks that require teamwork and cooperation, dependent robots are preferred. Vessel robots can be controlled by an AI or a human operator. Most of the AR can also be be teleoperated when required, thus qualify as vessels. Most AR have weak AI capabilities, their intelligence ranging from insect to mammal levels as required by their function. Their shapes are also defined by their functions. Almost no robots are humanoid in shape. A humanoid robot is called an 'android'. The legal standing of robots regardless of their intelligence is property.
Transportation- Aerospace Technology
Most vehicles still run on fossil fuels. Some vehicles are controlled by AIs. In some cities traffic is controlled by AIs, either directly by controlling the vehicles or indirectly. New transport technologies include scramjet shuttles that fly many times faster than the speed of sound as part of regular services, around the globe. The scramjets are also used as orbital launch platforms. The high amount of debris in low orbits make space flights risky. There are commercial space stations that feature hotels and entertainment facilities in high orbits.
Nanoagents are used for a variety of tasks especially in biotechnology, i.e. drug synthesis, drug delivery and biomodifications. They are also used in certain manufacturing jobs. Nanoagents can work at moleculer levels to manipulate biological tissue or other materials. Nanotechnology is still a developing field, and nanotech devices are rare and extremely expensive.
Modern medicine is capable of curing genetic diseases and cancer, and repairing aging tissue using retro virii and nanoagents. Longevity treatments are expensive, but many are more than willing to pay for this service. Nobody knows how effective the treatments are, because they have been invented only recently. Still, reversed aging effects are visible in old people who have taken the treatment.
Human cloning is legal in most countries and is practised in medicine to obtain organs for transplants. Lost limbs etc. can be replaced. Cyber-prostethics made from plastics and metal also exist, and usually are cheaper than biological replacements but are not as reliable and capable as bio-replacements. These cyber-prosthetics are more common in Russia and China.
In 2031 drugs can be designed and built for individual metabolisms, to have optimal effect. The procedure is very costly though, and thus remains an option only for the extremely rich. In general medical drug technology is quite advanced, with speed-healing drugs and drugs against all old diseases including AIDS. There is still no cure for the common cold and flu-causing microorganisms are evolving deadly strains from time to time.
Non-medical drugs are legal in 2031, and most of these are synthetic. They include many different types of euphoric, hallucinogenic, stimulant, and performance enhancing drugs. They range from extremely addictive to non-addictive and from effective to harmless.
It is possible to enhance the capabilities of human and animal bodies through use of biological and cybernetic implants and augmentations. These operations are expensive and sometimes dangerous, thus modifications are rare, restricted to people with enough money, i.e. the rich or well earning professionals. Biological improvements are in general more reliable, subtler and more expensive than cybernetic improvements. Cybernetics are used mainly as replacements (i.e. for lost limbs and facilities), especially in poorer countries.
A cybernetic modification of the nervous system. Nanoagents weave a metallic network along the nervous system, allowing direct internet and computer connexion capability. This modification allows the remote controlling of vessels, as well as being a vessel. It also allows experiencing of immersive virtual realities and downloading and uploading of skills and knowledge. Modification of human nervous system in this way frequently leads to a wide range of serious mental disorders including schizophrenia, amnesia, change of personality, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, etc. Because this modification is metallic, it is fairly easy to detect using external sensors.
Ghosts can merge with AI-software to become more capable in the internet. This allows the ghost to operate in a 'computer' mode, which is too fast for humans, and sometimes increases intelligence. This modification can cause the Ghost to lose more of its human nature.
The senses can be improved by biotechnology and cybernetics. Most common improvements are improved eyesight, improved hearing and improved sense of smell.
Improved immune system increases the power of the body to resist toxins and disease.
Better filtration of air and ability to survive for a short while (15 minutes) without breathing.
Better reflexes and reaction speed.
The muscle-bone structure is strengthened, increasing overall strength and stamina.
Modern cosmetic surgery can alter looks and figure drastically. Pheromones can also be altered to increase appeal.
Neuro-regenerative techniques and treatments can cause an increase in intelligence and overall cognitive ability. Like other central nervous system modifications, this treatment also has psychological complications risk, personality alteration, hallucinations, and amnesia are quite common side-effects.
Specialised glands are designed to secrete pre-specified chemicals. Useful in treatment of some deficiencies. Can also be used as a drug supply.
This entire document and all contents is Copyright © 2001, by Gizem Forta. Permission to duplicate for personal use is granted. You must receive explicit permission from the author (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) to use this game and any portion therein for public use, such as publication or convention play.