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emo samurai
It's a concept from a Bruce Sterling story in which a network of supercomputers and AI search engines allow people to help everyone else on the network in anonymous yet deceptively significant ways. The computers ask people on the network to perform simple tasks that help people you don't know but are on the network a lot. Like, if the group fixes a random guy's car for free, a week later, they'll get enough free orihalcum in the mail to turn a butter knife into Excalibur. They most likely won't be getting favors from people they know or even the people they helped, but they'll be helped by the network at least as much as they are helping the network. So, if you take care of an old lady's hellhound or buy a random sarariman a coffee, maybe on your next run, a local gang will help repel a Knight Errant squad or heavy traffic will mysteriouly part only to close up on your pursuers. I'm wondering whether or not this network will make things too easy. Maybe I should have the AI turn evil after a few campaigns of handouts from strangers.
SL James
It's called The Exchange. It's in Target: Matrix, pp.98-101.
Ancient History
Maneki Neko. Great story.
emo samurai
Is Target: Matrix mostly outdated by now, or is the information still good? Should I buy it if I have SR4? And as for the ending of Maneki Neko, getting into a sort of literary discussion, does the protagonist waiting for someone to give him freedom mean that he's been lost in the shuffle, that the Network, in the end, isn't about the individual? Or does it mean he's become dependent? Is the Network ultimately positive or not, in Bruce Sterling's view?
Ancient History
Target: Matrix is, at worst, a great source of ideas for your own campaign-the information is still valid until updated in later sourcebooks.

It is my personal opinion that the tied-up-and-waiting scene at the end of Maneki Neko emphasizes how dependent the character has become on the network, although there are many other possible views on the subject. I had a friend that wrote an essay describing the story from a religious perspective, where the network was the god of science, the users both worshippers and priests, and the final, patient waiting an act of faith in the system.
emo samurai
Yeah, they're computers. If they know a random sarariman's favorite coffee, they won't forget Shimizu.
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