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emo samurai
In Shadowplay, a character says that the reason the world isn't more advanced than it is now is because the crash virus wiped out most of the high-security memory banks. Because of this, a lot of old supertechnology was lost to time. Now, do you think RL tech will be as good or better by the time SR rolls around, and do you think the megacorporate system is good or bad for R&D in general?
Serbitar
maybe you should divide this questions into different sub fields. for example:

- computers (optoelectronics, quantumcomputers . . .)
- cyberware
- bioware
- consumer electronics (trid, drones . . .)
- software (SKs, AI . . .)
- general physics (nanotechnology, superconduction . . .)
James McMurray
The idea of a virus wiping out high tech R&D databases does not make any sense. It might hit a few of them but most of them would be disconnected from the internet and have upload and download procedures that would stop the virus from reaching their network.

Basically a few would get hit because someone would be transferring files into the system when the virus started to hit, but once the virus was detected network security protocols would say "no more file transfers until this thing is stopped." Some more businesses would either not have these policies or not have them followed, but most would stay perfectly safe with little to no interference with their day-to-day work.

That said though, the virus is as good a reason as any. The odds are very good that RL tech will outstrip cyberpunk tech by the time 2070 rolls around. Heck, we've already got guys moving a mouse and opening email with just their brains and a computer chip.

Because the tech difference will be there, putting in something to account for it is necessary if you want to maintain suspension of disbelief. Otherwise you get people saying "but we've got datajacks now and they're not due for another 25 years."
emo samurai
And if we were allowed to conduct horribly unethical research like in SR, we'd also have a 3-d matrix.
James McMurray
3-d matrix technology can be developed without even a hint of unethical conduct. Shadowrun takes the unethical route by default, because that's how the game is set up, but it's far from the only option.
emo samurai
Do you think the megacorporate system is an efficient way of organizing research as opposed to today?
James McMurray
I don't really see a lot of difference between the megacorp method of research and research today. In both cases you've got a bunch of groups of researches in their labs digging around in whatever their profession uses as a petri dish.

If you mean "can unethical research practices speed things up" then the answer is usually yes and no, depending entirely on the product. Unethical practives can definitely speed things to market though, since you get to bypass all that bothersome "safety testing" BS.
stevebugge
QUOTE (emo samurai)
Do you think the megacorporate system is an efficient way of organizing research as opposed to today?

Not at all. The Shadowrun Megacorps serve most of their purpose as a plot device, they are about as divorced from real life business practice as Star Trek is from real life space exploration. The Megacorps are a nearly farsical collection of all the worst business practices and biggest gaffes ever documented collected in to a handful companies.
emo samurai
Most of the megacorporations seem to do corporate raiding constantly. Is it really that easy, even with a bajillion dollars?
James McMurray
It depends on the corporation. If you've got a global company looking to acquire Joe's Pizza, Inc. the odds are pretty good that Joe doesn't know what he's doing and has no way of knowing how to stop a hostile takeover, much less have anything already in place. If it's Globocorp wanting to take over Globodyne then more maneuvering is necessary, with jockeying done to influence the market.

And as always, if doing it one way is easy, but doing it another requires shadowrunners, it'll make for a boring evening to do it the easy way. smile.gif
Kyoto Kid
...I have introduced the concept of consortiums as a counter to the Megacorp model in my campaigns

The primary one is The Olympus Group who's main focus is on transportation technologies. It is composed of the following companies: Marathon AeroTek, (Aircraft) Marathon SpaceTek (Spacecraft & Space Systems), Olympus Aero Engines (Aircraft Propulsion), Aeon Technologies (Ground & water vehicles), and I-Motive (Fuel Cell electric power & Linear Propulsion drive systems).

The model I based this on the the RL consortium, Airbus Industrie, which is a group of several European aerospace concerns (including Messerschmit, Sud Aviation, Fokker, Hispano Suzia, and Piaggo) which banded together in the 1970s to compete against the US giants Boeing & McDonnell Douglas (which itself is now a part of Chicago based Boeing)
hyzmarca
QUOTE (stevebugge)
QUOTE (emo samurai @ Jul 19 2006, 07:53 AM)
Do you think the megacorporate system is an efficient way of organizing research as opposed to today?

Not at all. The Shadowrun Megacorps serve most of their purpose as a plot device, they are about as divorced from real life business practice as Star Trek is from real life space exploration. The Megacorps are a nearly farsical collection of all the worst business practices and biggest gaffes ever documented collected in to a handful companies.

I must disagree here. Megacorps, as they are presented in SR, are basicly soverign Socialist states what are dedicated to profitmaking through the exportation of finished goods. It isn't entirely impractical if they can avoid the pitfalls of Socialism and maintain strong economic ties with the outside.
stevebugge
QUOTE (hyzmarca)
QUOTE (stevebugge @ Jul 19 2006, 11:00 AM)
QUOTE (emo samurai @ Jul 19 2006, 07:53 AM)
Do you think the megacorporate system is an efficient way of organizing research as opposed to today?

Not at all. The Shadowrun Megacorps serve most of their purpose as a plot device, they are about as divorced from real life business practice as Star Trek is from real life space exploration. The Megacorps are a nearly farsical collection of all the worst business practices and biggest gaffes ever documented collected in to a handful companies.

I must disagree here. Megacorps, as they are presented in SR, are basicly soverign Socialist states what are dedicated to profitmaking through the exportation of finished goods. It isn't entirely impractical if they can avoid the pitfalls of Socialism and maintain strong economic ties with the outside.

I think this view of the Megacorp is valid too, at least from a Geo-Political standpoint. The point I was making is that they behave in a way that seems to be sort of a caricature derived from the worst reported business practices of todays corporate world. It's kind of like Dilbert meets Enron Scandal meets Mr. Burns Power Plant with a little bit of Virtucon (Dr. Evils company) thrown in. What you say about them being export driven states is true economically, and if they were run like normal businesses they probably would work pretty well, it's just that all the source material has them being run in ways that work well from a game plot point of view but make little or no sense from an actual business perspective.
Deamon_Knight
Remember that alot of technical knowledge is (presumably) lost in the chaos and recession/depression after the crash. Also, the crazy paranoia of the megas can account for slower advancement, Corp scientests may not be producing published research by the broader scientific community to keep an edge on their cutting advance, but the result is that the crosspollinatization of ideas we are used to dosen't happen.
Kagetenshi
QUOTE (James McMurray)
If you mean "can unethical research practices speed things up" then the answer is usually yes and no, depending entirely on the product.

Never mind products, a lot of the basic research into human stress tolerance, etc. came as a result of German experimentation on live human subjects during the 1930s and '40s. Sure it won't help, say, quantum physics to have ethical guidelines scrapped, but it would dramatically increase our rate of knowledge acquisition about human biology and all its facets.

~J
mfb
the fate of the free world depends on knowing what the effects of shooting a human being with a quantum computer are!
Witness
I think RL computers could well exceed the capabilities of SR 2070. I would expect artificial intelligence to be widespread, and VR ought to take off as soon as a) they've worked out how to do it without making users sick and b) a major console manufacturer includes a VR headset as standard with their next-gen console.

Biotech could go far, but I suspect many SR-like developments will be hampered by widespread religious and moral objections. Megacorporate extraterritoriality might spur the kind of uninhibited arms race (and it would literally be an arms race) that could bulldoze past such objections, but I don't see that happening in the real world.

Space exploration, I fear, won't even have achieved the miserable amount of progress seen in SR.

Cyberware- I don't think so. Firstly it would face the same kind of objections that I mentioned above, but more crucially I think it would hit the 'power wall'. I just don't see battery technology achieving sufficient capacity and compactness to make most of that stuff feasible. Of course I would love to be wrong, because if there's one thing that would really change the world it'd be new advanced power technology- portable fusion or zero-point devices perhaps. But it's a slim hope. More likely it'll be a biomethanol fueled world but I still don't think that'll scale down enough to power cyberlimbs.

Of course I started this by saying that artificial intelligence might really take off, and (especially if it's powered by quantum computing, which is just damn scary)that could change the entire playing field.
El_Machinae
Firstly; we'll beat the SR timeline if we proactively attempt to. Directing consumer power and political power, even in tiny increments, will speed us up. Heck, helping (at nearly no personal cost) with Distributed Computing helps.

QUOTE
Biotech could go far, but I suspect many SR-like developments will be hampered by widespread religious and moral objections.


Biotech can go very far. We don't see it very much because 1) we're young and don't see the differences yet and 2) any new medical device was actually invented 10 years ago and is just now being approved.

As for the deliberate hampering of this research:
Commentary: Bush to stem cell community drop dead
This is more damning than it seems on the front of it, because most universities/labs have partial federal funding. And no new stem cell research is allowed (other than on the fruitless 22) anywhere federal dollars have been used.

Cyberware:Keep in mind that we're currently researching methods of making cybernetic limbs that are 100x stronger than muscle.
QUOTE
University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) nanotechnologists have made alcohol- and hydrogen-powered artificial muscles that are 100 times stronger than natural muscles, able to do 100 times greater work per cycle and produce, at reduced strengths, larger contractions than natural muscles.  Among other possibilities, these muscles could enable fuel-powered artificial limbs,


Space:Of course, I also think that saving up to visit the Space Hotel is worth our time, too. If there is a customer base, the advances will roll forward. Eventually, if I put money aside slowly, compounding interest and a drop in price will mean I can afford to go (spurring even greater R&D with their profits)

Platinum
Please clarify, EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS. There are a lot of stem cell research being done with sources other than embryos. (They are also safer and more effective) Right now embryonic stem cells turn cancerous more often than not, while stem cells from hair and marrow are less likely to do so.
El_Machinae
You're right, the bill involves embryonic stem cells. The current law denies access to ESC research (on new lines) through any laboratory that has received federal funding, ever. Since most research takes place in universities and hospitals (that have received some federal funding), it's basically a ban.

With regards to the technical issues around ESC; those are merely technical issues, but they will not be resolved as quickly by forcing scientists to use subpar tools. The scientists will continue to study ESC, in public facilities, but may only use the low-quality cell-lines that are approved.
James McMurray
And meanwhile the rest of the world will heal the sick and dying while america's religious minority condemns its populace to death.
Ravor
QUOTE (Platinum)
Please clarify, EMBRYOTIC STEM CELLS. There are a lot of stem cell research being done with sources other than embryos. (They are also safer and more effective) Right now embryotic stem cells turn cancerous more often than not, while stem cells from hair and marrow are less likely to do so.


I haven't heard the bit about Embryotic Stem Cells turning cancerous before, but I do think its strange that if non-Embryotic Stem Cells were safer and more effective that whenever I hear the actual scientists themselves speak they say that although research is being done to turn non-Embryotic Stem Cells into a state simlair to Embryotic Stem Cells, as of yet Embryotic Stem Cells is still the more promising choice.

Oh wait, I forgot, those sciectists are evil minions of the Culture of Death! They don't really mean it when they say that they hope that research turns up better results in changing non-Embryotic Stem Cells to be more suitable, they just want the pleasure of killing innonent babies!!!

Sorry, I've gotten my head straight now, excuse me while I go and burn my Harry Potter and W.I.T.C.H. books before they have a chance to corupt the minds of my children...
Witness
Please.. I beg of you.. it's embryonic not embryotic! wink.gif Embryotic is what Bush probably calls them.

QUOTE (El_machinae)
Cyberware:Keep in mind that we're currently researching methods of making cybernetic limbs that are 100x stronger than muscle.

QUOTE
University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) nanotechnologists have made alcohol- and hydrogen-powered artificial muscles that are 100 times stronger than natural muscles, able to do 100 times greater work per cycle and produce, at reduced strengths, larger contractions than natural muscles.  Among other possibilities, these muscles could enable fuel-powered artificial limbs,


Well that's interesting. I'm still dubious about how long any such fuel would last but I'm happy to concede this one.
Platinum
If you stopped being so ignorant and did some research you might learn something instead of being a sheep following propeganda.

Just because I said there are better, less risky, and more effective sources doesn't mean I am a christian anti-ESC zeolot. Truth is there are better sources which are producing better results. The reason there is such a push for ESC is basically for mass production. (which means more money in it for the company that develops the technology)

Try subscribing to news feeds and follow the articles.
http://p.moreover.com/cgi-local/page?o=rss...Genetics%20news
http://rss.news.yahoo.com/rss/science

The US is far from lagging behind in ESC research.
Witness
Thought that was aimed at me for a moment, and I must say as a geneticist I felt a little put out! grinbig.gif
James McMurray
The first link gave me an XML document and the second a blank screen. frown.gif
Platinum
they are RSS news feeds. XML outputs that link to related articles. Good for firefox or an xml feed reader.
Kagetenshi
QUOTE (Platinum)
Just because I said there are better, less risky, and more effective sources doesn't mean I am a christian anti-ESC zeolot.

No, but it does mean you're making some very unfounded claims.

QUOTE
Truth is there are better sources which are producing better results.

No. Truth is, there are other sources which are at this instant producing better results. Ever hear of the concept of pursuing multiple lines of research, lines that have different advantages, simultaneously?

~J
El_Machinae
QUOTE (Witness)
Well that's interesting. I'm still dubious about how long any such fuel would last but I'm happy to concede this one.

I don't really know. When it comes to cybernetics, I'm just a fanboi!
El_Machinae
QUOTE
No. Truth is, there are other sources which are at this instant producing better results. Ever hear of the concept of pursuing multiple lines of research, lines that have different advantages, simultaneously?


Well, there's more than that. I'd concede that blood stem cell research is superior for curing blood-borne diseases; it's helping people right now and is unlikely to benefit from ESC research. Bone marrow rejuvenation is a great example

But blood-cell research does very little to help people with neural problems. In fact, there are few good sources for neural stem cells, and so ESC is the bigger hope.
Platinum
If you just search for stem cell results, you will find that almost all of the procedures that regrow nervous tissue, and organs are using adult stem cells. They are also harvested from the patient's own body. I am not going to do your research for you ... but the claims are far from unfounded.

I am aware that there are multiple paths of research and there are labs that are still persuing that line of investigation.
Platinum
QUOTE
Well, there's more than that. I'd concede that blood stem cell research is superior for curing blood-borne diseases; it's helping people right now and is unlikely to benefit from ESC research. Bone marrow rejuvenation is a great example

But blood-cell research does very little to help people with neural problems. In fact, there are few good sources for neural stem cells, and so ESC is the bigger hope.


Not true, the stem cells harvested from marrow are adult stem cells that are capable of repairing neural damage.
El_Machinae
You're quite right; it was a bad example (and a really good reason to never blink while discussing this topic)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.f...l=pubmed_docsum

Is from this month, and states that it certainly seems possible

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.f...l=pubmed_DocSum

Is from Nov 2005, and states that it might be possible.

However, keep in mind that the progress we've made on rat spines using ESC started occurring early last year.
Ravor
QUOTE (Platinum)
If you stopped being so ignorant and did some research you might learn something instead of being a sheep following propeganda.


QUOTE (Platinum)
Just because I said there are better, less risky, and more effective sources doesn't mean I am a christian anti-ESC zeolot


You'll going to have to forgive me, but I find those comments incredibly funny coming from an admitted Biblical Literalist.

QUOTE (Platinum)
Truth is there are better sources which are producing better results. The reason there is such a push for ESC is basically for mass production. (which means more money in it for the company that develops the technology)


Maybe, maybe not, however when the chips are down, I think I'm going to have to trust the words of the Scientists themselves over you. (Stem Cell Research only interests me in its possibilities, so no, I'm not going to wade through dry thetists or blindly accept the proclamations of News Articles over the direct source, so-to-speak.)

Oh, and for the record, call me an old fashioned Neo-Luddite, but if it ain't readable by Windows XP or IE then I guess I'm not going to be able to read it... *winks*
Platinum
I am also well read and extremely interested in science.

Who's words are you trusting? Nothing that is published in scientific articles.

I was trying to give you feeds that are continually updated with current aritcles so you can be knowledgable about what you discuss.
Kagetenshi
QUOTE (Ravor)
Oh, and for the record, call me an old fashioned Neo-Luddite, but if it ain't readable by Windows XP or IE then I guess I'm not going to be able to read it... *winks*

Old-fashioned neo-luddite. Spread the word!

~J
Cray74
QUOTE (emo samurai)
In Shadowplay, a character says that the reason the world isn't more advanced than it is now is because the crash virus wiped out most of the high-security memory banks. Because of this, a lot of old supertechnology was lost to time. Now, do you think RL tech will be as good or better by the time SR rolls around, and do you think the megacorporate system is good or bad for R&D in general?

Personally, I think SR has rocketed ahead of RL's tech development in many areas - cybernetics, biotech, nanotech, genetech, power generation, and space travel. About the only place RL seems to be doing well in comparison is electronics, like cellphones.
emo samurai
No, I mean will RL 2070 tech be as good as SR4's 2070 tech?
El_Machinae
It can be. I could be even better. Especially if people push for it. Simple proactive steps can make it more likely, and you'd think that getting the brighter member of society to help would be the way to go.

A person who can spin sci-fi worlds in his head can think of minor ways to speed humanity's tech rate progress.
Cray74
QUOTE (emo samurai)
No, I mean will RL 2070 tech be as good as SR4's 2070 tech?

I was answering that question, but I can see where I was unclear. Clarification:

Personally, I think SR has rocketed ahead of where RL tech will be in 2070 in many areas - cybernetics, biotech, nanotech, genetech, power generation, and space travel. About the only place RL 2070 tech would probably be doing well is electronics, like cellphones.
mfb
you know what's funny? several of the replies to Platinum's posts have been largely dogmatic, responding more to what he is than what he actually says, and condemning his point of view on that same basis. isn't that hilarious?
James McMurray
"Hear the message, not the messenger" is a very wise rule to live by, but very rarely does that happen.
Platinum
In the interest of objectivity here is an article that counters my arguments.

Here's an article that has sources that rebut my claim stating adult stem cells are better. They say that not enough has been done with ESC to state that ASC are more effective and that most scientists are either more familiar with ASC research or are not wanting to get into the ethics of using ESC's. Who knows...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationw...ack=1&cset=true
I found the above article linked from this one.
http://mediamatters.org/items/200607200011
Deamon_Knight
Ultimately though, aren't we all rather dogmatic about most of our beliefs? How many people here could present a position paper proving the existence of Gravity, the Unity of Magnetism and Electric forces, or that Firefly was, infact, some of the finest TV ever?
mfb
well, some things are self-evident. Firefly, for instance.
emo samurai
Damn straight.
hyzmarca
I think we can all agree that we shouldn't be domonizing anyone but that it is important to persue all avenues of research because you never know what you may find.

I also think we can all agree that research ethics that do not contribute to ensuring the accuracy of the results are for sissies.
Platinum
I can't say I agree with persuing all avenues .... but if you do look at things objectively if you can put aside morals, you can definitely go much further.

Look at the brain research done in ww2. More brain discoveries were mapped out then, than at any other point in history. I am not drawing a parallel but making a blunt statement.
El_Machinae
QUOTE (Platinum @ Jul 21 2006, 08:28 PM)
Here's an article that has sources that rebut my claim stating adult stem cells are better.  They say that not enough has been done with ESC to state that ASC are more effective and that most scientists are either more familiar with ASC research or are not wanting to get into the ethics of using ESC's.  Who knows...

Remember, too, that it's awfully synergistic. In the end, we'll likely be using adult stem cells and SCNT cells for all the actual therapies; merely because of the convenience.

However, a lot of the foundational work will be done using ESC. There are now numerous animal models when it comes to spinal repair that were elucidated from ESC research. But (especially with ASC advances) we'll probably use the patient's own cells to repair the spine.

Every bit of data pulled from ASC research helps ESC research (since it gives us more data about what we want the ESC to become) - but data pulled from ESC research is used to help ASC research too. We know what an ASC is trying to do after watching what an ESC tries to do in a similar situation.

On-topic: does anyone have any predictions about whether our RL timeline for computers is doing okay vs. SR?
SirKodiak
QUOTE (El_Machinae)
On-topic: does anyone have any predictions about whether our RL timeline for computers is doing okay vs. SR?

The SR picture of artificial intelligence is so unrelated to reality, it's hard to compare it to current research and its expected future. You might as well ask whether real life magic is going to have caught up to SR magic in 2070.

Basically, as a computer scientist, my issues with SR 2070 computing are less about its level of advancement as compared to where we'll be, but its fundamental nature.

However, I don't think where real life computers are going to be in 2070 is going to be nearly as fun as Shadowrun, so I wouldn't suggest house-ruling for realism.
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