Favorite Tech in your Story?

discussion
#1

Tell me all about your favorite element of technology in your story! Preferably one you came up with yourself.
What makes it cool? What was your inspiration? What does it look like? Is it dangerous? What would it be like in our real world?

Mine is reassembling/indestructible race cars. What’s yours?

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#2

Oh my gosh that sounds so cool!

Mine is probably my orbs–my version of cars. They can fly and manuver better than planes, and come as big as train or as small as bicycles

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#3

oooooh that sounds interesting. Though, I’m just imagining the bubbles from Ricky and Morty.

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#4

Telechirics. Yes, this is a real word. It means remote hand. In my stories some people(cyborgs) have computer neural interfaces implanted when they are children. The neuros act as wireless modems to interact with robots. This is like prosthetics except the prosthetic devices are remote control and of any shape. A lot of them resemble animal avatars making the cyborgs to be virtual shapeshifters. They can perceive themselves as the robotic animal without ever leaving their human bodies. Oh dear. I hope that makes sense.
The applications of this technology are really cool. It can be used for surgery and for repair where human hands are too big and dirty for the work. You can send the devices through small tool ports to diagnose and fix problems. They can be used for sex–I don’t have that book on Wattpad. Oops I have a bit of it in the book I’m posting. Probably the best though is for toys. The cyborgs learn to use the devices through play so they have telechiric “pets” which function as their alter-egos. These are important for learning but they’re designed to be appealing to children. The problem for me is that these devices can run away with the story. Readers like them and may miss that they’re sophisticated technology.

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#5

My favorite is these cuffs special agents use to keep in contact with partners out in the field. They’re paired devices for when the partners are separated, used most commonly to keep track when the other may be in danger. If one is injured, the other will be notified with a shock to alert them to move or action or to get in contact with them. Many agents use them as a way to talk to each other taking advantage of the pain responses. One will poke or cut themselves in a specific way to convey messages. It’s a very unofficial and discouraged way to use the devices, but vital information is often shared this way.

They haven’t appeared yet in the project I’m currently working on, but I just can’t wait to write scenes featuring them.

#6

The entire government of the city is an artificial intelligence. But not one of the “cold uncaring” tropes that governing AIs are usually portrayed as. She’s more the “nice old lady” who’s interested in your life, treats you as a personal friend, and tries to find that right balance between giving you space to grow, and making sure you don’t screw up too badly.

She can have and pay attention to about a thousand conversations at once, probably has about half a million fairly close personal friends, knows everybody (in a city of 30 million) personally, and actually gives a damn about whether they’re happy, safe, secure, and free.

So, it’s an autocracy, of sorts - with a ‘dictator’ who’s actually interested in being nice to everybody, and seldom overbearing though sometimes pretty manipulative.

The contrast with current politics couldn’t be more stark. In fact there are no politics at all because she actually doesn’t need any help making decisions about what to do. Humans have a history of messing up when they do politics, anyway, and might misuse or inappropriately share the private information of others if she gave any of them jobs where they had to be able to see it. She can resist the temptation to petty gossip; she knows that people just can’t reliably be trusted to.

Of course, this “near-utopia” is the city that our heroes wind up leaving, because they have stuff to do elsewhere that’s too damn important to stay.

#7

I’m working with similar ideas about AI

#8

Hmmm, a close second would be the medical tech. They have “gestators” that folks can use if they want a child but a pregnancy would be too dangerous or too inconvenient or whatever. The kid grows to term and you decant rather than give birth. Or, if you’re into the whole natural experience, you don’t.

They also have “regenerators” that you can wear where you have serious damage, that will accelerate the healing process (our heroine wears one on her arm to speed healing after hyperextending her elbow in a sports injury).

And one specialized application of regenerators is an “exo” - a full-body suit that people who’ve been in zero-gee for a long time wear (usually under street clothes) to rebuild their muscles and circulation etc when adapting back to life under gravity. Exos are also useful for people in zero-gravity when they don’t want to lose muscle tone etc, or when they’re getting ready to go back into gravity. And finally, they’re not as good as a real medical suite, but they are decently effective as full-body regenerators.

#9

What effect do the gestators have on marriage, population size, and childcare? Who gets to have children?

#10

Gestators do sort of separate gender from parenthood, in the sense that if becoming a parent is intentional, there’s no obstacle to men or women becoming parents. A problem though, is that if a child becomes orphaned, it’s unlikely that they’ll be adopted into a conventional family, because people who want to become parents, if there’s a physical issue, think of gestators first. If there’s some genetic issue, that’s one of those correct-before-implant things. So there’s a shortage of homes for kids when families break down, and orphans usually wind up in some kind of group home. The group homes are nice places - the Governor would be all over the people operating them if they weren’t - but not conventional families.

Aside from the clone lines, family sizes aren’t usually very large. Or at least not very large at a time. It’s common to have two kids, wait until they’re grown up, and have two more. Marriage is common and so is divorce. A fair number of people raise kids on their own, but most people raising kid still want the help of at least one other adult, so they marry somebody (or maybe two or three somebodys) to foster a good environment to raise kids in.

#11

The biggest effect on family size is that there are clone lines. The Jessicas, for example, start a cohort of sixteen, on schedule, every eleven years. They prefer natural birth, with the previous cohort currently twenty-two years old carrying the children. But if there’s a problem with that, or if the individuals decide they don’t want to do it that way, they rent gestators and go ahead with the next generation. The clone line works as a huge, extended family and mostly do their best for each other the way family does.

Because they plan it out in detail and have some economies of scale that individual parents don’t, the clone lines can do extensive micro-edits of their genome before every generation - something was discovered that we can correct, we found a way to increase life expectancy, something else is a direction we want to go in, the next generation ought to be an inch taller or shorter, etc… and sometimes differences more serious than that.

In addition to just bringing up clone offspring though, a lot of clones get married to individuals as adults, so these micro-edits slosh around and spread in the general population. By the time of our story, just about everybody in the city is zero-gravity tolerant, highly cancer resistant, can take easily ten times the radiation we’d think of as borderline-dangerous, has life expectancy 20% to 50% longer than us, and has a few other traits that they’ve come to think of as “normal.” And some of the clone lines, where these traits haven’t been crossed back into the general public, are more extreme - like being able to live about three hundred years, or having tetrachromat vision that picks up near-infrared, or having an immune system that can laugh at every pathogen so far encountered, etc.

This idea of “normal” has become rooted and the lack of these traits are considered severe problems that any responsible doctor, clinic, etc would correct before implantation. Finding out someone isn’t zeegee resistant or isn’t cancer-resistant makes them think, my god what kind of barbarians were her parents, if they didn’t seek out basic medical care when having a child?!

#12

Special technological setup. Tiny audio speakers surgically embedded within your ear along with subdermal sensors in all fingers. Coupled with AR eye lenses, it’s pretty much a limitless interface. You can use the sensors in your fingers to swipe and just do what a mouse does, plus more. In my dystopian setting the lenses are pretty much mandatory, since they show your ID and status. It’s fun.

#13

I’m thinking about the effects on population genetics. Currently the a woman can produce no more than 30 children while a man can produce up to 1000. For men the limiting factor is how many women he can have sex with. For a woman it’s how many times she can become pregnant. With a gestator, these limitations are gone. So I’m wondering what replaces them. And what keeps a powerful person from dominating the gene pool. If there is a gene that contributes to producing lots of children(i.e. a gene which causes a strong impulse to dominate and produce lots of children) that gene will increase in subsequent generations. I foresee a few people becoming dominant in each generation and producing nearly all of the following generation, forcing others to rear the children.
It’s interesting speculation. Thanks for letting me play.

#14

Holo-screens made up of nanites, AR projections, etc

There are no AI in my story, aside from rudimentary GPS programs. Perhaps some sort of Butlerian Jihad type deal.

#15

I see now. Your AI must be involved in the decisions about who produces children. Plato’s Republic had this sort of thing with the people in charge breeding the rest of the population. They set it up so the subjects thought pairings were random when in fact they were arranged. I do this with my society-wide AIs in my stories.

#16

I have quite a few inventions. There is one that is able to allow people to regenerate limbs. In my universe everyone has lifeforce which is a combination of positive and negative energies. It allows one to use magic but by giving a large chunk of lifeforce, one can grow a limb. I haven’t bothered to name this tech but it takes a day for limb to be fully usable and two for it to be at full strength.

#17

To some extent, the Governor is involved in darn near everything, but decisions about who has children are generally up to the would-be parents (with some gentle persuasion, soft-pedaled as advice). The kind of outright abuse you’re talking about though, would run smack into her and get shut down hard.

First there’d be trouble getting the resources together. With no access to using government power for personal goals, that’s a severely uphill struggle, and of course for that part of it the Governor is what’s directly preventing it. Second, she’s going to bounce on anybody attempting to enslave or coerce others into raising children for them. (Well - on enslavement and coercion generally, TBH).

The kind of situation you’re talking about did play out though, in a lot of other stations. Some of them collapsed, some learned some peculiar social customs and values out of it, and some of them are still getting that every few generations.

#18

If she doesn’t get involved in decisions about who has children and how many, her society is likely to collapse. As I see it this is the central issue in human society and runs everything else. If she leaves it alone she’s likely to get overpopulation and warfare with too high of a population and with the powerful fighting over who gets to have children. The genetics form an evolutionary feedback loop with increasing numbers of “warlords.” In the past, these have been men who have gained military dominance and used to to produce a high number of offspring. I understand that this feedback loop may be what has generated an instinct for war in humans. Warfare is advantageous for the genetics of warlords.
I’m writing stories that take this evolutionary pressure into account, and so I have AI’s getting involved in decisions about sex and childbirth. It does need to be hidden and soft pedaled if it’s going to work. Since your world used artificial wombs and genetic engineering the AI could get involved in altering genetics so that warlord genes wouldn’t take over. Warlord genes are tricky though and tend to use whatever means they can to increase their share of the gene pool. They might illegally substitute there own semen or ovum in the production of children or splice warlord genes into clone lines.

#19

They probably would, except that it’s fairly easy to go and repair/reinhabit an old station that collapsed in the Deconstruction era, or build new ones. A lot of the ‘Malthusian’ dilemma and conflict over limited resources goes away when you’re talking about people not stuck on an all-too-finite planetary surface. There’s room for literally quadrillions of people in the solar system if you’re talking about independent habitats.

Anyway, from the Governor’s point of view, it’s less a decision about who gets to have children individually, than a decision about the economics of the prospect of raising children - what kind of income it takes and how the incremental expenses pile up and what the market for food and lifesupport volatiles is, and what standards of care for lifesupport, education, and so on people need to meet. The “market inversion” where someone dominates the whole situation would be something she’d manipulate markets to avoid making possible, rather than something she’d stop an individual person from doing.

#20

Well that’s hard to say, do to how like the internet: all the technology just kind of blends together in a soupy way.

A computer virus that is able to adversely effect the AI, give them self-awareness, and having them 3D print themselves avatars into the real world is kind of the inverse of what usually happens in a story about a virtual world.

I wouldn’t say the government is ran by an AI, rather than logical extension of what would happen is there wasn’t a Benevolent AI trying to take the reins to take care of people.

Dystopia in general, seem to usually take the Authoritarian Left or Right route, rather than the (even worse) Libertarian Right route, allowing corporations to basically take center stage.

My avatar might suggest the political stance my main character Nadine took, although it wasn’t fleshed out until later books with different main characters.

And of course, I’m a Green Transhumanist:

transhumanism