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System V factions

Continuing the discussion from System V, ultimate politics, economics, philosophy, ethics, systems theory:

[quote=“Joao_Luz, post:4, topic:383”]

Yeah, that sounds great. Of course we’ll have to decide where to fit it.

I think that system V would probably emerge in the late 2090s and rise to prominence in the first years of the 22nd century.[/quote]
Let’s just say that it will come into play relatively late, because it’s very utopian and requires post-human intelligence to work properly. We might need to think about a technology timeline first before we can determine when system V emerges. Anyway, the technology comes first with this one, because the technology is a necessary enabler of system V. However, system V requires a huge shift in the thinking of society, so it will take some time to establish itself anywhere.

[quote=“Joao_Luz, post:4, topic:383”]
Now, who would be the first ones to adopt it? Probably EISHEC or EISHEC 2 and the societies under their influence, or maybe the cloud-lords.
In my opinion Earth societies will be the last ones to transition to V, since most of the X-nations will probably resist the new system.[/quote]
It’s really hard to say where system V will come from. It’s basically the same question as where system X will come from, but more difficult, because we are dealing with the emergence of a super-speculative system in a speculative future. I think it’s most natural to say that it will emerge where the need and desire for its emergence is felt most. So, probably in groups of post-human minds that are discriminated against. The problem is that those will probably lack the necessary resources to establish a system V society. I think it might make some ironic sense to let the first system V emerge within one of the solid collectives on Venus, where they might have the freedom and resources to build an experimental system V (and coming from Venus might be fitting for system V :)). The V collectives would then go ahead and spread system V peacefully throughout the solar system, even though they would face very strong resistance everywhere. System V would be implemented in different variations in each habitat and faction that is receptive to it. The main determinant is probably how “posthuman” the populace of the habitat is. So, yeah, probably Earth will be the last place to openly embrace system V, because it will have a large “conservative” human population.

[quote=“Joao_Luz, post:4, topic:383”]
We also might want to think what other ideas could make sense in a posthuman future in order to come up with concepts for anti-V factions. After all, what we want is to create an increasingly diverse world.[/quote]
For me, the systems (C, X, V) are more like an overarching framework that allows for different implementations of each system. For example, I see capitalism and the attempted “communism” as versions of system C. System X will be implemented quite differently in Brazil, Iceland, Mars, and Venus. For system V there will also be different factions that have their own versions of system V.

Also the systems have different stages, for example:

  • C0: Early agricultural civilizations
  • C1: Complex agricultural civilizations after the invention of writing
  • C2: Industrial civilizations after the industrial revolution
  • CX: Transition phase of early digital civilizations (we are either at the end of this stage, or at the beginning of the next one)
  • X0: Early civilizations using decentralized systems
  • X1: system X civilizations using AGI
  • X2: Advanced posthuman system X civilizations
  • XV: Transition phase between system X and system V
  • V: Mature system V civilization

Yes, we are allowed to be optimistic and have uplifting visions :smile:

Anyway, I think the most natural candidates for system V factions would actually be the factions of my Exaltation verse, which I’ve reconfigured in the meantime. The main three V factions are:

  • The Exaltation: Focussed on personal growth of each individual, and (over)compensation of the damage that one causes.
  • The Exuberance: Basically holistic valence utilitarianism. Full flourishing of a utilitarian society is valued higher than the well-being of each single individual.
  • The Heavens: Very serious negative utilitarianism: No forms of suffering are tolerated within the Heavens. This has priority over all other concerns.

Perhaps there may be other meaningful system V factions, but at the moment I see those three as the main players. In the Fractal Cosmos, they stand in opposition to system X factions which have a less philosophical outlook.

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Yeah, that makes some sense, the hell-creepers would definitly have the motivation to experiment with system V, althought I think that their V would be significantly different from the V which would later emerge among other factions.

The solid collectives wouldn’t have the resources to build a society as prosperous as the one you describe, but they could develop a more modest version of system V which would work on the same principles but in conditions of greater scarcity. As the hell-creepers are a stoic culture, they would probably focus almost exclusively on producing the goods that are absolutely essential essential to their survival, giving little importance to recreational goods and other “luxury items”. They would also have no need for Vians, since the collective is capable of guiding itself.

Anyway, the second faction to adopt V would probably be the cloud-lords, which would develop the Exaltation faction (I guess that makes them the first exaltation instead of the second).Given their tense relationship with the hell-creepers, it may seem strange that they would be the first ones to follow their footsteps, but it makes sense. After all, they are the ones that have most contact with the collectives, even if that contact is not allways peacefull, and they are probably wise enough to look beyond racial hatred and see the benifits of the new system.

EISHEC would probably also be interested in the system, but, now that I think about it, they could never officially endorse it, since they are an institute based on Earth. Nevertheless, some members of the institute would probably promote V ideas, becoming important Vians, which means that the Jovian and Saturnian nations would also adopt V relatively quickly.

EISHEC 2 would probably be very enthusiastic about V from day one. In fact, I think that the moons of Uranus and Neptune, as well as the atmospheres of these planets and the space beyond them would be perfect places for people to experiment with different types of V.

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Yes, I think the V faction that would fit to them the most is that of the Exuberance, because it doesn’t really focus as much on the individual.

They would probably find a way to automate their resource management which is typical for system V societies. This would probably open up the path to developing a really efficient version of System V. However, they would probably use their prosperity for the fight against competing collectives. The V collectives would thus be able to consolidate their power over the years. And at the end, most collectives would be system V collectives, because either the other collectives have been outcompeted or have realized that they need to adopt system V to be able to compete. Anyway, system V is an even more peaceful system than system V, so overall conflict between the Solid Collectives would reduce dramatically.

And finally, with all of the collectives embracing system V, they would become very peaceful indeed and emerge as very influential solar superpower.

Yes, especially since the cloud-lords would start the Exaltation, instead of simply adopting the Exuberance philosophy of the V collectives. There would still be a definite rivalry, but both sides identify system V as something that brings a crucial advantage to both sides. The Exaltation might be the version of the Exuberance that is adopted to the relative individualism of the cloud-lords. Or it could be the other way around: The cloud-lords start system V with the Exaltation and some collectives modify the Exaltation into the Exuberance.

Yes, quite plausible. I think the “Heavens” version of system V, which aims for the complete eradication of suffering would be relatively popular on Earth, because it’s still a place with quite dramatic suffering (at least in the biosphere). The cloud-lords would also try to export the Exaltation to Earth, where it would also find some interested people. The Exaltation and the Heavens might even enter an uneasy system V alliance on Earth to work on bringing system V to all Earthlings. This would of course create new conflict lines, which certainly provides material for interesting stories. :smile:

EISHEC itself would probably be closer to the Exaltation than the Heavens.

Yes, totally. EISHEC 2 would experiment the hell out of system V and develop it further. It will probably however be split between the different V factions much more than all of the other big players.

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I need to revive this thread, because I want to build on the history of the system V factions in Fractal Cosmos.

First of all, I think we need to classify different possible p-factions within system V. In the light of the further future of system W within the Canonical Coherence timeline, they all need to converge towards a “perfect” p-faction. So, they shouldn’t be extremely incompatible in the first place. But let’s see what the different dimensions are that p-factions can differ in:

The dimensions

1. Importance of individual freedom vs. self-determination of collectives (“libertarianism dimension”)

How much freedom should an individual possess? How strongly can collectives enforce their constituent individuals to follow their orders?

In a more abstract sense, as individuals and collectives can be interpreted as systems, the question becomes about the relation of the rights of subsystems of systems.

2. Hedonic policy (“hedonic dimension”)

Is negative valance tolerated? What should be the minimum hedonic augmentations that sentient beings should posses? How much wellbeing may be sacrificed for achieving certain long-term goals?

3. Requirements of personal growth and education (“wisdom dimension”)

Is there a minimum level of education that citizens are required to reach? Should everyone strive for personal “growth”, or is stagnation, or regression acceptable, too?

4. Equality (“egalitarian dimension”)

Should all sentient beings be treated equivalently, or are there exceptions for subsystems, or for simulated entities?

5. Principle orientation vs. pragmatism (“principle dimension”)

Should you always stick to the core principles and rules, or is it sometimes better to bend or break the rules for gaining tactical or strategical advantages?

6. Hope in convergence of value systems (“convergence dimension”)

How much should we hope for fining an universal value system that all p-factions would agree on? Wouldn’t it be better to use resources for getting an advantage over other factions?

How system W resolves those questions

System W depends on there being a universal value system. In Fractal Cosmos that’s the setting that enables the world of Canonical Coherence. So, the “convergence dimension” becomes resolved easily, once the Proof of the universal value system theorem is found.

Fractal society

The answer to most dimensions is probably a parallel implementation of all degrees along one dimension within different polities, in a systematic fashion, realized in a fractal society.

What p-factions are the main actors?

Combining different degrees of the different dimensions, we would get N^6 different factions, if there is the same number N for the number of different degrees within each dimension. Even for N=2 that’s a lot for a fictional universe. We might simplify that complexity by thinking about what factions would probably become more popular and successful, so that we could focus on those. Also, where would the main fault lines for conflicts between the different p-factions lie?

It’s plausible that factions believing strongly in eventual convergence, will be much more peaceful, while those who believe in divergence will be more or less militant. So, conflict lines would mainly arise between “divergence” p-factions.

Among the other dimensions, the libertarian and hedonic dimensions are probably the most controversial ones, because they are pretty foundational to everything most sentient beings value. So, it would probably make sense to focus on these two dimensions the most, which would simplify the classification system a lot.

And if there is a way to treat sentient systems in a universal fashion, then the question of the rights of subsytems and supersystems might be resolved quite elegantly. In that case, the hedonic dimension becomes the main faultline, and we are more or less back to the three factions of the OP: Exaltation, Exuberance, and Heavens.

So, should they still be the main actors?

I think we would be making a mistake by looking at this from a purely philosophical prespective.

Their ability to adress the problems you’ve mentioned will not be the only thing to determine how successful or popular certain p-factions will be.

If we want to get a good picture of what would really happen, we need to think more like historians. We need to take a look at the political, social and cultural conditions of the early 22nd century so that we can know what p-faction would arise from the ashes of System D and how would fare in the long run. Let’s start from the beggining:

  • System V is first invented by the K’phlor collective. Their stance on the hedonic dimension is quite obvious, right? Only the collective matters because there are no individuals anyway. As for the hedonic dimension, they probably tolerate suffering quite a bit since being a rather stoic society. They also are the “Philosopher-King”, so they’ll obviously see wisdom as something of extreme importance. Regarding the remaining dimensions, they’ll likely be farily egalitarian, pragmatic and have faith in the convergence of systems, while still doubting other people to be rational enough to move in that direction with them.

  • The second system V faction to emerge is the Exaltation, founded by Vena and her companions after they successfully deposed the former Brazillian-Venusian System D authorities in a revolution. They are definitly individualists and their solution to the Hedonic dimensions is based on the compensation of suffering. They also value wisdom, as they blame ignorance and irrationality for the decadence of their late System D society. They are likely to be more principle oriented than K’phlor but still a bit pragmatic. They have hope in the converge of systems.

  • Then, as system V spreads throughout the solar system, each society will either create their own p-faction or follow an existant model.

I don’t have much time to write now, but I think this is the way we should be looking at this. We need to look at each group and society and see how they would use system V. This may take some time and we may have to develop these societies a little more, but we’re gonna have to do it if we want a coherent universe.

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The point about system V is that it’s very philosophical and value-centered. That’s why in system V location and previous traditions will play much less of a role than under system D. Still, the way that system V is put into practice does depend at least somewhat on where and when it is adopted. As a general rule, p-faction affiliation becomes the most distinguishing factor in system V.

Today I want to briefly present four system V p-factions:

The Liberty

The Liberty is the ideological successor of libertarianism, but it’s made logically consistent with a framework that is based on “libertarian consequentialism”. Freedom is to be maximized. Knowledge is valued highly by the members of the Liberty, because knowledge enables one to see more options and to be freer in one’s choices. Liberty members are also rather individualistic, and have no strict position on hedonic policy.

The Unity

The Unity is also based on the principle of liberty, but argues that full liberty cannot be achieved, if the are rights granted to subsystems of systems that restrict the freedom of the supersystem to do with the subsystems what it wants. Thought through to the end, the result is that there can only be one single system that is completely free to do what it pleases. And that’s the Unity hive-mind. It strives to maximize its own knowledge to maximize its freedom. And it doesn’t care about much else, and is quite hungry for power and resources.

Other factions see the Unity as pretty scary and ruthless, and try to prevent the Unity from becoming too reckless and powerful.

The Balance

Unlike the other p-factions the Balance isn’t based on a single set of values, but is based on the principle of balance of multiple sets of values. They are the moderates in system V. And they become increasingly popular and influential on Earth. The Balance is the p-faction that is most hopeful about convergence of value systems, and which devotes a lot of effort to finding the Universal Value System, and to promote peace and harmony between the other p-factions.

The Interestingness

The members of the Interestingness are the true lunatics of the Fractal Cosmos. They believe that the cosmos is a simulation made by simulators who want interesting stuff to happen. That’s why the Interestingness wants to maximize the “interestingness” of the cosmos, mostly by seeding chaos and drama, sometimes on the borderline between extreme art and terrorism. It’s unsurprising that the Interestingness is mostly despised by members of other p-factions.

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Yes, but I still mantain that we need to avoid getting too ingrained in the discussion of very abstract concepts. We need to keep this discussion relatively grounded and dow-to-earth so that we can understand how this conflict between System V factions will actually play out.

Economic ideology was probably the most distinguishing factor between societies the Cold War, at least in the eyes of the elites, and that probably applies to the Second Cold War as well, however, power blocs were still conditioned by a multitude of other factors, and all of that affected their fight for ideological supremacy.

While some people would have us believe that capitalism won the Cold War because it was somehow “superior” to communism, I don’t see this as being necessarily true. The United States and the Soviet Union were very different worlds to begin with and many things happened along the way that could have radically altered the course of history had they ended up differently. In the end, I’d have to say that geopolitics and other factors played at least as large of a role when it came to determining the victor of the war as merits and faults of each ideology.

If we want to be realistic, we have to assume that this will happen with p-factions as well. As the 22nd century passes by, some factions will rise while others will fall, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that the risen ones are better than the fallen, they may just have had better luck.

You may be wondering how we’re ever going to reach System W if things keep happening like that, and that’s a very good question. In my view, the convergence of values systems won’t be entirely juxtaposed with the social and “geopolitical” developments of the Solar System, but it will still happen. What I mean is that, even if a p-faction falls, as it’s either marginalized, disappears or mutates into something completely different, the theoretical and practical work developed by that faction can still serve of inspiration to the philosophers of the future. It’s possible that we’ll see some ideas developed by obscure p-factions in the early 2110s coming back and breaking into the mainstream many decades later and form an important part of the Universal Value System.

The faction that ends up developing System W’s theoretical framework will not necessarily have to be the most successful one at that point (the solid collectives were feared, but they certainly weren’t the greatest power in the Solar System when they developed System V), and we can either end up with a situation in which proof of the Universal Value System is seen as a culmination of a decades-long effort by a large faction of society, or as shocking and unexpected development brought forth by a small group of fringers. We may find people who have lived for decades under a certain Value System suddenly find out that it has been proved that a totally different system is the correct one.

Ultimately, what I’m trying to say is that the conflict between p-factions will be the fought two different fronts: one philosophical and one geopolitical. In the philosophical front, factions will try to prove that their theories are correct and, when one of them fully succeeds in this we’ll have System W. But in the geopolitical front the story is different, as factions aren’t striving for objective proof of their beliefs but for the dominance of the Solar System.

These two fronts are largely interconnected, but they shouldn’t be conflated as one. Having a more correct philosophy will certainly make a faction more likely to endure in long run, and memetic evolution (which is affected by geopolitics) is an important factor to consider when we think about the “war effort” in the philosophical front. However, we’ll likely still see more correct philosophies losing prominence to less correct ones in plenty of occasions. This will only end when someone finally finds proof for the Universal Value System.

If we want to write the history of the 22nd century in this universe, we have to consider both sides of the coin, always keeping in mind that they’re separate but interrelated.

I can see this being fairly popular in Earth, due to appealing to somewhat old-fashioned concepts such as “Freedom” and “Knownleadge”.

EISHEC 2 far in the outer system would also likely find it an appealing ideology.

Now, Earth’s prominence is going to do nothing but decrease as time goes by, but, in the outer system, the opposite will happen. Therefore, I think this factions has good chances of becoming geopolitically successful.

Ok, this one obviously has a lot of similarities with the way the hell-creepers think. However, these collectives are so diverse that I don’t think we can realistically lump them all into the same p-faction (for example, there are some “federated” collectives that give a certain amount of rights to subsystems and some only want to be left alone and are not interested in forming any “Unity hive-mind”).

It’ll still be a popular ideology among several types hive-mind, though.

I agree with your assessment that it’ll popular on Earth. i also think it would appeal to people on Mars and the Jovian colonies. This is actually a faction that can win support from many different sectors of many different societies due to the fact of being particularily moderate. Some people may look at it as kind of shield from the insanity of this conflict.

Very interesting, sounds like a cult. Contrarily to the other factions, I can’t see the interestingness dominating a large power bloc on its own. However, I can see it having many followers spread out through the Solar System doing some really crazy stuff. maybe they can also have one or two space colonies of their own.

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I really like your reply. You bring up a lot of important points. Especially about geopolitics. So, I think that we need to figure how geopolitics actually plays out in system V. There will of course be a struggle to control as much of the solar system, and even the galaxy, as possible. But since it’s the 22nd century, and people are pretty civilized, they will look down on violent conquest.

Now how would the cosmos be colonized and divided by multiple competing p-factions? Maybe they would negotiate openly about who gets the right to colonize what area of space. After all, colonizing space is very expensive, and trying to colonize an area that a p-faction with more resources already has its eyes and sensors on, would be pretty futile and wasteful. So, the p-factions with the most resources will get the “prime locations”, while the “poorer” ones will have to settle for less desirable locations. No p-faction will have such an advantage that it could take all of space for its own. Yet, only the wealthiest p-factions will be able to start serious interstellar colonization missions.

I’m measuring “wealth” by the amount of energy that a p-factions commands over. After all, it’s lots of energy you need to colonize space – everything else should be plentifully available in system V. How the factions determine who commands what amounts of energy is another interesting question. One could imagine that they would trade energy for services and raw materials (not so much goods, because they are easy to replicate with the tech level of system V), or allocate energy according to shared economic reputation and valuation systems (hence the motivation for the “Prestige Wars”).

What are the most desirable locations in space? That’s the areas with lots of solar power, areas close to a bright star. And it’s the areas that contain valuable raw materials like hydrogen, helium-3, organic compounds, water, metals, and so on. Medium sized asteroids will be seen as very valuable, since you can use them to create space habitats, and for mining lots of raw materials. Also, most p-factions will be tempted to create huge solar collectors close to the sun and beam the power to their own habitats. That’s how the creation of a Dyson swarm around the sun will start. Planets and moons are also valuable, since they have huge amounts of raw materials. But maintaining sole control over a big celestial object will be difficult, since all p-factions will want to have a share of most of them. So, I expect that few moons and planets will belong to a single p-faction. Rather, there would be more or less large areas on those that are controlled by single p-factions.

Would it depend on the philosophy of a p-faction what kinds of parts of space it would prefer? I don’t think that would be the case. After all, the p-factions are pretty rational, and would try to claim for themselves what they can get away with. So, it would more likely depend on the wealth of a p-faction what locations it can effectively claim for itself. The wealthiest p-factions will of course have big advantage here.

So, how wealthy would the p-factions likely be? Here’s an attempt for a rough ranking for the beginning of the 22nd century:

  1. Liberty: The Liberty will have a mass appeal for Earth, so it will most likely have the most number of members at the beginning, and access to Earth space, asteroids, and celestial bodies in the outer solar system.
  • Exuberance: As the first p-faction, the Exuberance will have a first player advantage, and will profit from being stationed on Venus, close to the sun, the biggest energy source in the solar system. It will also profit from mining the raw materials of Venus aggressively.
  • Exaltation: The Exaltation will have similar benefits to the Exuberance, minus the ease of access to plentiful raw materials. It will however have an advantage in competing in a reputation economy pretty well.
  • Unity: The Unity won’t be very big in the beginning, but it won’t suffer from internal conflicts (which it suppresses), and it will go on colonizing space aggressively. Still, it will be rather bad at competing in a reputation economy, because most people hate the creepy Unity hive mind.
  • Balance: The disadvantage of the Balance is that it’s a late comer to the p-factions, as it is founded as a reaction to the rise of the other already established p-factions. Other than that, it will have the advantage of quickly rising numbers, especially on Earth.
  • Heavens: The Heavens will be mostly hampered by focusing its attention inwards and creating beautiful utopian habitats rather than colonizing space aggressively.
  • Interestingness: As fringe p-faction the Interestingness won’t be able to compete with the “Big Six”.

How will this ranking change towards the middle of the 22nd century?

  1. Exaltation: The Exaltation will finds lots of supporters in all places, since it’s individualist and also fairly liberal and nice. It’s the next best thing to the Balance in those regards. It will also profit from performing exceptionally well in the Prestige Wars.
  2. Liberty: The Liberty will still be able to profit from its good starting position, but will suffer from drifting towards the outer solar system due to its inherent love for freedom and independence from the increasing bureaucracy in the inner solar system. Probable the biggest advantage of the Liberty is its relatively large number of interstellar colonies.
  3. Balance: The madness of the Femto Crisis and the Prestige Wars will have made the Balance look like a really decent alternative. It will become very powerful in the inner solar system, but won’t have much influence in the outer system, and won’t have many interstellar colonies.
  4. Exuberance: As less popular alternative to the Exaltation which appeals to people who like group- and hive-minds it still stays relatively powerful, not least due to having had the First Mover advantage. But it won’t be able to compete effectively with the top 3 p-factions in the colonization race and the Prestige Wars.
  5. Heavens: The Heavens basically remains one of the weaker p-factions of the “Big Six”.
  6. Unity: Due to its defeat during the Femto Crisis and its terrible performance in the Prestige Wars, it will have been degraded to the last position among the “Big Six”.
  7. Interestingness: Still remains a fringe faction, though becoming more popular over time.

And what about the situation towards the end of the 22nd century?

  • I assume that the Balance will become even more powerful, especially for being at the core of the covergence of the value systems, and for being an alternative that appeals to an increasing number of entities.
  • The Liberty will probably lose out a bit, since it will be seen as needlessly radical and individualist faction compared to the other factions. Yet, it will still remain relatively powerful due to its good starting position.
  • The Unity might find a way to redeem itself as more peaceful faction seeking for wisdom, and thus become more popular and powerful.
  • The Heavens will start appealing to more people, since the frenzy of the Prestige Wars has subsided, and people can focus more energy on building utopian habitats. However, that won’t be enough to compensate for its overall timidity and poor start.
  • The difference between Exaltation and Exuberance will decrease, once the stigma against group-minds will have subsided. Still, the Exaltation will remain more powerful, if only due to its better starting position. However, the Exaltation won’t be able to capitalize on its gains during the Prestige Wars and won’t be able to hold on to its previous top position.
  • The Interestingness will have increased its popularity again, but that still won’t be enough to grant it a position among the “Big Six”.

So, here’s the ranking at the end of the 22nd century:

  1. Balance
  2. Exaltation
  3. Exuberance
  4. Liberty
  5. Unity
  6. Heavens
  7. Interestingness
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Well, I’m not really sure of how “civilized” people can actually get no matter how far we go into the future, but sure, let’s be optimists here. Let’s say people at that time don’t want to be embroiled in full-scale interplanetary or intersteller wars. That actually sounds pretty plausible since this sort of conflicts would probably be too expensive to actually be profitable and being too agressive would greatly reduce a certain p-faction’s prestige. However, I don’t see everyone playing by the rules. Here are a few morally questionable things that p-factions could do to have things go their way:

  • Espionage. Find out about the other factions’ dirty secrets, try to diminish their international prestige.

  • Sabotage. Planting bombs in colonial vessels and stuff like that.

  • Privateering. Covertly paying space pirates or something like that to raid colonies and trade routes.

  • Covert funding of insurrectionaries. Helping minor rebels/terrorists/guerrilla groups to basically be a pain in the ass for their enemies.

Basically, I think people will still do violence and evil things. They’ll just be more sneaky about it.

Yeah, I like this. I imagine there would be some sort of mid-22nd century Berlin Conference for space colonization in which they’d reach an agreement similar to that. Then, they’d sart the sneaky stuff I was talking about.

In general, I think your lists are fine. There are just a few things I’m uncertain about:

  • I think System V will have a rough time imposing itself in Earth. The discovery of V-theory would probably be the first conclusive proof that the colectives have superintelligence, which means they have lost the race you described in your “Earth under system D and V” post. The detente between the cloud-lords and hell-creepers will also not be seen with good eyes, since the Terrans will probably initially see the Exaltation as an extension of the Exuberance. The average Terran’s reaction to the news from Venus would be like “O, Sh**! Those freaking monsters have developed superintelligence and brought the cloud-lords under their control, and now they want us all to accept this strange new system that they have developed! You’re gonna have to do it over my dead body, you freaks!”. And I imagine this reactionary histeria would last for at least a decade before it cools down. There will be exceptions, of course, there may be regions of Earth that jump right into system V, but I’m unsure about the Liberty gaining such a vast number of members early on.

  • I doubt the Unity will be that unified unless it’s composed by a single collective. Hive-minds may think like one person each, but they’re very diverse among themselves. Different collectives with similar imperilistic philosophies would’t get along with each other. But maybe we can really make them just one collective. Maybe a large but somewhat inferior rival to K’phlor…

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Yeah, p-factions would still have plenty of motives to do nasty things to their opponents, but there’s the question whether they will be able to. Will there still be much privacy in the 22nd century? Also, we need to consider that it’s basically superintelligences competing with other superintelligences. It’s easy both to underestimate- and to overestimate what that will mean. It could very well be the case that covert operations may be very successful in the wild period between the end of AICON and the emergence of the trans-faction peacenet Cosmoshield. Afterwards, Cosmoshield would become powerful enough to uncover all big forms of inter-faction aggression – which is another reason why factions would then focus on increasing their Prestige with legit means, rather than trying to play dirty.

The wild period might be comparable to the era of Greek city states, but in a posthuman space setting. It’s a turbulent era with lots of progress in many areas, but not necessarily the most peaceful one.

An interesting way in which those conflicts might be played out, is by system V factions supporting some of the remaining radical system D splinter groups, enabling them to inflict damage other system V factions. It could be a kind of Third Cold War. Actually, the system D groups would try to play the p-factions by always working for those who pay most, but of course the p-factions are away of that and count on that happening.

The Third Cold War would be the era of the highest development of intelligence, counter-intelligence, intrigue, counter-intrigue, subversion, counter-subversion, and so on.

Agreed. But I think that at least some of the Terrans will have worked on something like system V at the same time as the Venusians, and they could have come close, but missed some of the necessary puzzle pieces. Once they got them from Venus, they would be like “Ah, that’s how it actually works out”, and would use that knowledge to create their own p-factions in short order. Needless to say, those wouldn’t be in the majority. But even if p-factions like Heavens and Liberty got 20% of the population of Earth, that would still be a massive number and would immediately make them the biggest p-factions there are.

Perhaps it would be a testament to the power of V-theory that the unification of different hive-minds under the Unity worked out pretty well. Or at least the Unity would try to create that impression to the outside world, while still being quite fragmented into its competing constituent hive-minds. Nor sure which options would be the best. Maybe we could actually make two p-factions for each option.

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