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Ok, Could someone maybe tell me how these things work? I've been trying to find how they'd be used/look like in the Sixth World and I'm really coming up blank on this.

Also knowing whether or not this things would spawn 'Gibsons' [A.K.A. Ghosts in the Mechine]?
Ancient History
Depends on what you mean.

Protein memory (which cyberdecks use) is a great deal better than the crap we have today, although nowhere near Gibson's (first person I knew to become a figure of speech) aleph.

Computer made from actual neural matter-- grown, harvested, what have you -- have only really been mentioned in passing, unless you count Halberstam's babies.

Would a sufficiently complicated biocomputer make a Ghost in the Machine? Maybe. cyber.gif
Jason Farlander
You mean, things like, perhaps, more advanced versions of something like this?
Wait, 'Decks use Protein memory? Mm...Didn't know that.

Well, while information on 'Halberstam' would be good, the information I'm going for in the Biocomputers mentioned in under Celedyr entry in ‘Dragon’s of the Sixth World’ and other such computers like that.

One of the main things I would like to know, other then Ghost in the Machine capability, is what they would look like.
Shanshu Freeman
QUOTE (Ancient History @ Oct 31 2004, 03:27 AM)
Protein memory (which cyberdecks use) is a great deal better than the crap we have today, although nowhere near Gibson's (first person I knew to become a figure of speech) aleph.

Somebody's been reading... Originally said by the Finn I think, in Mona Lisa Overdrive (if I'm thinking of the right book.)


Wasn't it originally Wilson? Or Stilson? Something like that.
Ancient History
Count Zero and Wilson, yeah.
KatManZoo, I would say you need to get hold of the printed adventure Imago and the original Threats book.

Threats has the Halberstam's babies info - basically some nutty scientist with a bunch of kid's brains in jars trying to acheive... god knows what. Almost a precursor to Otaku.

Imago is about some weird-ass decker who created some new kind of cyberdeck technology that allowed him to store his personality in it. That's the impression I got from playing it anyway. I've not read it as a GM, and as a player I found it... frustrating. But I beleive the tech might be of interest to you. You'd need to read the entire adventure to really understand what it actually does and what it means though, I'm sure. As a player I sure as hell didn't!

As for matrix hardware/memory running on protein memory, I can't remember where I read it specifically, but that is certainly what I've always thought, though I understood it was more specifically enzyme proteins as oppose to just any old amino acid chain, and that it interfaced through the optical technology in use in 2060. I also thought - and I really can't remember where I read this - that the density of the data affected the colour of the chip as the protein chains link and form, and that's why optical technology could interface with it - sort of an ultra3d equivalent to a CD readng/writing laser. So a really packed data chip would be almost black, and an empty one almost clear.

But I also recall seeing a documentary that some japanacorp is developing exactly this technology right now, and that at the time I saw the film they already had a prototype that worked. That was a few years ago now I think, so its probably much further on. But it does mean that all the stuff about colour changes could be bleed-through from that real life example. We certainly use it in our games as flavour so I'm afraid the canon/houserule line on that issue has got very blurred for me!

hope my ramblings been useful anyway, or at least given you some ideas for your own game.
Yeah, this does help. Thanks, all.

But, just for imagery: Would these fully brain-in-a-box computers that Transys look like the old standby of a brain in a jar, or would it just be your supercomputer with a mental processor?
Shanshu Freeman
QUOTE (Ancient History)
Count Zero and Wilson, yeah.

Count Zero? Yeah, you're right. An excellent read. If I may say so, you have excellent taste in reading material. Then again we are both here on DSF... similar tastes and all that.

Biochips was mentioned in the book Cybertechnology. And chemical chips might be a better word. These exist now. I saw a demonstration of 'em at MIT years ago. berfore the book came out.

If I remember correctly, the chips have a fugi like chemical that reacts to light. They are in crystals. A laser hit it and changes the color. So information is stored on these crystals as color differences. Advantage is that they are not affected by magnetics and the information can be changed much faster.

I probably wrong on some of this, it has been a while.

fyi - Halberstam was the scientist that oversaw the development of Renny in the original Virtual Realities book. By raising the children from day 1 in the matrix, and not experience the real world, they would not know about physical limitations or have any preconceptions as to how/why things work - they would not have a lot of the hangups and preconceived barriers and such that a regular decker has.

gee....kinda sounds like a certain movie concept, and yet Renny and his story came out years before... wink.gif
Well, it depends, are you trying to:

a) Have a computer that uses biological components for switching, without necessarily being alive in the conventional sense?

b) Create a living, learning, neural-net computer?

a) Can look just about like anthing, it'll still have conventional-looking chips - although they'd be more sensitive in terms of operating temperature, probably...

For b) You'll need a way to supply nutrition and eliminate waste from whatever cells you're using, which means lots of liquids - which need to be kept at precisely the right temperature, as well as sterile, so your filters and AC units will actually dwarf the actual computing components, as will whatever optical systems you'll have in place for transferring the data to and from the "CPU". As far as the actual "brain" goes - think a small black box with a huge amount of fluid and optical feeds going into it. Or perhaps a grid of such units...

As for "brain in a jar" scenarios - they're just not going to happen. Basically, if you had the technology to do it, then you'd already have the tools to do what you were after in simpler ways.
QUOTE (KatManZoo)
Ok, Could someone maybe tell me how these things work? I've been trying to find how they'd be used/look like in the Sixth World and I'm really coming up blank on this.

They work however you want them to work.

To condense a bunch of fictional stereotypes about biological computers, I'd just say that biological computers are 'smarter' in a human/creative sense than electronic/optical computers, but not particularly suited for brute force mathematics like inorganic computers.

IMO, most of the functions of a 'biological computer' (one containing nervous tissue) could be modeled by a faster electronic (or optical computer) running a simulation of nerve cells, or simplified algorithm mimicking nerve cells' input/output behaviors. That eliminates the bother of trying to keep the tissue alive.

Certain advantages of biological computers (e.g., protein memory) could be worth including in computers but, then again, they may be equalled or surpassed by nanotech (inorganic molecular memory).
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