Solid Collectives classification system

As you all know, I’m currently in the process of writting Vena’s Tale, the first Fractal Cosmos story ever made.

I posted a topic a few months ago to let you guys know of all the story-related decisions I was making at the time and also to discuss some refinements in our world building, but I have been silent about this project ever since. I haven’t actually had much time to contribute to this forum. Sorry about that.

Anyway, my writting is going fine. It’s not been easy for me to conciliate it with college and the other things I want to do in my life, but I think my time management skills are improving.

The purpose of this topic is to let you guys know of an idea I’ve had for a system that classifies the solid collectives into different groups.

I had already tried this in the past, but my approach was overly simplistic and didn’t do justice to the hell-creepers’ imense diversity. I hope I can present something better today.

So, how does my new classification system work?

Well, I guess we can say it does four things:

  1. It divides the collectives into several different “main” types, according to their stance on 6 different dichotomies. In some cases, it’s possible for a collective to have a neutral stance in one or more dichotomies.

  2. It assigns them subtypes according to particular issues related to one or more dichotomies.

  3. It quantifies the collectives degrees of self-awareness, thought-processing capacity and compatibility with “normal” humans and posthumans.

  4. It assigns a roman number ( I, II or III), according to their level of technological advancement.

The dichotomies are:

  • Centralized [C] vs Distributed [D], which indicates weather the information in a collective is distributed through a large number of units/bodies or centralized in a single one (hive-queen) or a small number (generals).

  • Unitary [U] vs Federated [F], which indicates weather a collective is a pure hive-mind, or allows some degree (usually a very limited one) of individuality to some or all of its units or groups of units. Note: Even in the most radically federated collectives it’s impossible for any entity to initiate an action without the concent of the whole collective.

  • Rational [R] vs Irational [I], witch indicates weather reasoning is their main decision-making process or not.

  • Philosophical [Ph] vs Sensationalist [S], which indicates weather a collective is more interested in searching for the truth or in experiencing sensations.

  • Moralist [M] vs Nihilist [N], which indicates weather a collective seeks to act according to a moral compass or not.

  • Pacifist [Pa] vs Belligerent [B], which refers to a collective’s attitude towards its neighbours.

The collective’s position in each dichotomy is usually represented by one or two letters in the abridged classification form. The ultimate result is a collective type represented by 6 letters. For exemple, a Centralized, Unitary, Rational, Philosophical, Moralist, Pacifist collective is a CURPhMPa collective.

When a collective can’t be unequivocally attributed position A or B in a certain dichotomy it must be described as [A-B]

The following aditional characteristics, generally expressed by one letter put between parenthesis next to the letter that defines the collective’s position in the dichotomy, are used to assign subtypes to some collectives:

  • Variable (V). This indicates that a collective’s position on a certain dichotomy actually varies according to the cirscunstance. It can be appliable to any dichotomy. When (V) is added to the abridged designation it means that the previous letter only indicates the collective’s most usual position in the dichotomy.

  • A/B-Leaning (A/B-L). This indicates that, while a collective is firmly in the A camp of the dichotomy, it identifies with some aspects of B, thus being B-leaning. For example, a Pacifist collective which is not afraid to react ruthlessnessly when seriously threatened is a Ph(B-L) collective.

  • Extreme (E). Means that collective is so strongly in one camp of a dichotomy that compromising with an entity of the opposite camp is nearly impossible.

The self-awareness level is measured as percentage of thought-processes of which a collective is aware. The thought-processing capacity is measured according to the number of synapse-equivalents (in billions), thought-speed is sometimes added after that number and between parenthesis. Finally, the human compatibility index is a value assigned by an advanced AI using a highly complex mathematical equation, it is usually exmpressed as a percentage.

What do you think of this approach? It’s certainly more complex than the last one.

I’ll try to write more about the collectives tommorow. For now, I’ll leave you with the classification of the K’phlor collective, to which one of the main caracthers of Vena’s Tale belongs.

DURPh(S-L)MPa(B-L)- 100.525.050 (III)

Legend: Distributed, Philosphical thought Sensasionalist-leaning, Moralist, Pacifist thought Belligerent-leaning collective with 100% self-awareness, 525 billion synapses and 50% compatibility with regular humans.

Note: The number of synapses was chosen ramdomly and I may change it in the future.

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I like that you are trying to classify the Solid Collectives. It’s certainly not an easy task for such a diverse bunch of collectives. I am kinda reminded of the Geek Code:

Also note that I have tried classifying different individual post-human minds in my blog post There, I’ve also used a logarithmic mind size characteristic that might be an interesting alternative to the number of synapses, though the synapse number is kinda more intuitive. Given that the human brain has more than 100 trillion synapses, the hive beings from the K’phlor collective seem to be extremely simple-minded, especially for post-human entities. Why should they save so much on synapses? It would make more sense, if they had around 500 trillion synapses or more, as individual members, and collectively much more, of course.

Now a general criticism of your code. If you insist on making them connected strings of characters without spaces, you should avoid two letter characteristics like “Ph” or “Pa”. And anyway, it would make more sense to make spaces between the different characteristics and perhaps add a variable number of "+"s for strongly expressed characteristics (instead of simply using the letter “E” for extreme).

When it comes to attributes like “philosophical” or “moralist”, its getting difficult, because there can be very many philosophical and moral theories. It may become interesting to go into more detail in those cases.

Perhaps the system could be simplified by only taking one attribute of a dichotomy and denote its opposite with minuses.

For example C might stand for centralization. C-- would indicate a decentralized hive. C a very balanced one in that respect. C+++ would be a highly centralized hive.

What might also be interesting is to add primary motives of the hive in question. What does it concern itself mostly? Economic influence? Memetic dominance? Scientific progress? Cultural achievements? Entertainment? Excellence in combat?

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Hi, thanks for replying.

Thanks for sharing your post, It’s been a fascinating read. I think I had already read it once, but I’d totally forgotten about it, so it was nice to read it again.

Your model has the advantage of being much more suited for very large posthuman minds than mine. The use of a logarithmic scale avoids the need to use ridiculously large numbers.

As I haven’t actually decided about the size of the collectives’s minds, I’ll certainly consider it as an alternative.


You’re right. As I’d said, that number of synapses was chosen completely ramdomly. I didn’t even bother to look up how many synapses an human brain has.

I think that mind size you describe makes sense. Given that, I think it would make sense to use my mind-size measuring system for the minds of the “individual” members of a collective and yours to describe the collective as a whole.

The only problem that this would pose is that different members/units of the same collective can have very differently sized minds. In highly centralized collectives, for example, most of the thinking would be done by a small number of “command units”, while the remaining ones would be more like drones, thereby not needing many synapses.

I could probably solve this by using the average number of synapses for the “code form” designation of a collective (which would make it function as kind of a ratio between a collective’s thinking power and it’s degree of centralization) and than I could somehow adapt this system to describe the mind of an “individual” member.

What if I use P for “Pacifist” and T, for “Truth-seeking” as an alternative to “philosophical”.

Good idea, I think I’ll use that.[quote=“Radivis, post:2, topic:1060”]
When it comes to attributes like “philosophical” or “moralist”, its getting difficult, because there can be very many philosophical and moral theories. It may become interesting to go into more detail in those cases.

I don’t really think that we can devise a classification system that would give much detail about those things without being ridiculously complicated. I’ll try to think of something, thought.

Hum…I don’t know if I like that very much. C-- kinda sounds like a collective is still in the centralized camp but is just not as centralized as C+ or C++. I think I prefer to stick with using two letters.

Yeah, that may be interesting. I’ll think about that and try to come up with a more updated version of the system.

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