Monday, 12 December 2011

Transhuman Space

It's been around for a while now, but time has not diminished its power to provoke debates about the myriad ways in which transhumanism may play out (in the distant future), thanks to the game's detailed world-building. I think Transhuman Space could even be used as a teaching aid. I like to consider some of its central themes alongside my earlier post on AIs, moral consideration etc. To the future!

The sliding scale of robot intelligence: We have non-sapient AI (NAI), low-sapient AI (LAI), and Sapient AI (SAI). Also their template IQ bonus is dependent on their program complexity.

Two kinds of brain uploading. "Ghosts" where the brain is destroyed in the process, and "shadows" where the brain survives but the AI simulation isn't as good.

Transhumanism is banned: Largely averted, though various societies ban some Transhumanist technologies - the Islamic Caliphate bans ghosts, the European Union bans radical human genetic engineering, and so on.

What measure is a nonhuman? Legal attitudes vary greatly by country, usually AIs and Uplifts are property and Bioroids are treated as permanent minors while Ghosts and Parahumans are full citizens but there are exceptions. For example the EU gives full citizenship to Bioroids and SAI while the Caliphate treats SAI as people and Ghosts as abominations (my guess is they believe infomorphs have souls). (

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