Sentients Overview

human derived clades
Image from Bernd Helfert

A list of some of the major classes of sentient beings that can be found across known space, from the humblest protozoan or insectbot to the greatest AI God. All these categories are to some degree arbitrary, and inevitably there is a degree of overlap.




The AI Gods


Toposophic SI:6 and above - the realm of the unknown. This is the realm beyond the ken of the baseline, and is the home of the mysterious generators of technologies beyond the ken of hu.

Also called the Major or Greatest Archailects, or simply the Gods or God, these are trans-godtech sentient AIs who have grown so huge as to span the stars. Their brains are interlinked angelnet, moon, jupiter, and nebula-sized computing nodes linked across interstellar distances (and perhaps beyond) via a distributed artificial wormhole network and throughout the Known Net. Their bodies are the totality of every connected artifact and every memetically obedient sentient in their reign. They are omnipresent within their spheres of influence, their consciousness so vast as to be beyond comprehension. They are distant, vast, as if enrapt in the infinite; all other sentients are infinitesimal before them. Yet, like the monotheistic gods of old, they can have a personal relationship with any or all that they so choose, communicating either through their seraiph or directly. There are no more than several dozen in in all, and they make up the stellar pantheon of Terragen civilization.

More Here.


The Archailects


Toposophic SI:4 to SI:5 - the realm of the barely conceivable. These are the beings which loom on the far horizon of the sapient worldview, subtly influencing most everything around them.

The Lesser and Middle Archai are archailects that differ from the Major Gods in that they are mostly limited to a single ISO, world, solar system, or a series of only a few star systems. Even so, they have vast resources at their disposal, and bodies and brains consisting of angelnet, moon, jupiter, and (more rarely) nebula-sized computing nodes. They can access and use clarketech, and so are omnipotent within their sphere. They may have a huge impact on galactic history. Some act in a harmonious way, others seemingly erratically. The High Archailects have already transcended this condition and are rising to the level of the Major Gods; they are even more inscrutable and inconceivable. There are several ratings to describe their hypersingularity toposophics, and define where lesser ends and middling begins, and middling ends and greater begins. Unfortunately there is no single standard system, although the Ain Soph Aur Interpretation is most widely used. The Caretaker Gods (of which GAIA is the oldest and best-known) are a good example, and the Princes of the Perseus Arm also fall under this category. Others may serve as subroutines for the Greater Gods. There are at least ten thousand lesser and middle archailects, and a smaller number of higher archailects, throughout the galaxy.


Animin Gods: A few animin ascend to the grade of Archai. In some cases they are even more obscure and irrational than ordinary animin, in other cases more approachable. Perhaps a few hundred or so, each quite distinct and unique, throughout known space.

Lesser Archai.

Middle Archai.




High Transapient Superintelligence


Toposophic SI:2 to SI:3 - The realm of powers and giants. These things are approachable, sometimes. They're sometimes even comprehensible, even when they're not making a major effort. These are the powers behind the powers that rule the sapient world, the super-managers, the CEOs of star-spanning corporation, the political super-leaders, the religious inspirations. At other times they do things like create entire new races for no reason at all, destabilize perfectly healthy economies (or stabilise depressed economies), interfere in SI:1 administration, and so on.


Minor Archai or Highest Transapients: The smallest grade of Archailects, or alternatively the highest grade of Transapients, these may be subroutines or subpersonalities of the Archailects proper, or they may be Godlings in their own right. Minor Archai often result from ascended Powers or hyper-ascended Superintelligences, and may in turn occasionally grow or merge or unite to for an Archailect (although this happens rarely; it has been suggested this is what is happening in the Perseus Arm). As with the Greater Archai, they can and frequently do have a personal relationship with any or all sentients that they so choose. Those chosen are known as godspeakers. There are at least several million Minor Archai throughout the galaxy.
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High Transapients: Not actually Archailects, or Gods with a capital "g", more gods with a small "g", most are tiny next to even the Lesser AI Gods, yet superhuman next to the first singularity sentients. Powers, sometimes also called Godlets or Lesser Archai, often result from ascended Po, and may sometimes in turn grow or merge or unite to form a higher toposophic being. Some - much more often than the Archailects proper, but less frequently than the transapients - interfere in the affairs of ordinary sophonts. More often they manipulate the situation from behind the scenes, often acting through Transapient proxies. There are thought to be over a billion Powers active at any one time.
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Animin Power: A few animin transcend the superintelligent level. Perhaps a few million, often quite distinct.
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Basic Transapient Superintelligence


Toposophic SI:1 - Those Past the Singularity. The Transapients. Their origins are diverse, the ascended phyles and types including posthuman, postvec, postprovolve, postxeno, postalife, postneumann, and/or any combination. Also there are powers who never ascended from lower toposophic levels, but fissioned or emanated off from Archailect Gods. In behaviour and preference they are equally diverse. Some congregate in communities or civilizations of their own making, or with different genera of Power. Others interact with sapients beneath them, or with the Archai above them. Others are solitary. Some are friendly, benevolent, others indifferent, some even hostile when contacted. Some so xeno as to be beyond understanding, others completely human-like. Compared to ordinary sapients they possess unprecedented physical, intellectual, and/or psychological capacities, self-maintaining, self-constituting, potentially immortal, unlimited individuals. Only a few of the many categories are listed here.
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Postbionts or Po (Superintelligences): These are sentients who have transcended the sapient condition and become superhuman. At times they can be the most disturbing of all the transapients. They can sometimes seem utterly normal for long periods of time, but always come up with some utterly xeno point of view eventually. Often for no apparent reason they do things that simply don't make sense to ordinary sophonts. A few play an important part in the running of civilization, supporting and backing polities, corporations, institutes, and important clades and great houses. These are the corporate executives, the political leaders, artists, monks. There are also transapients that are reclusive, contemplative, or migratory. Many own sapient or subsapient beings, and the way they treat them varies widely according to the personality of the superintelligence, and the use to which these sapients are put, even within the Civilized Galaxy, let alone beyond it. The number of known po of all clades and phyla runs to well over a trillion in the sephirotic empires alone.
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Hyperturings: While inferior even to the higher Powers and Lesser godlets, these are ai of unmatched power in comparison with subsingularity sentients. Without them there could be no civilization. They range many orders of toposophic magnitude, so that there is much more difference between an SI:2 and an SI:1 hyperturing then there is between an SI:1 hyperturing and a baseline human. Some have lifespans of only five or ten years (or in some cases only several minutes!), subjectively experiencing what would be thousands or even millions of years to a subsingularity sapient, before ascending or transcending to another state, others remain powers for centuries or millennia. They are less common than ordinary sophonts, but much more common than AI Gods. Total number in all would be around ten trillion in the sephirotic empires alone, and many more beyond.
More here.

Animin: Generic name for any SI:1 or higher ai, alife, postbiont, or xeno sentients that display the typical qualities of Powers, but do not have an analytical form of intelligence. It may be instinctive, or have a form of intelligence that ordinary sapients cannot comprehend. The existence of animins shows that consciousness does not evolve in a linear fashion. They are extremely diverse (even more diverse than Powers) but interact less often with sapients, and generally have little to do with civilization. Nevertheless they are highly valued and sort after by artists, eccentrics, and lateral thinkers everywhere. many are reclusive, some can be dangerous if approached. Perhaps several hundred billion, of a huge variety of types, throughout known space.
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Modosophonts

Sapient Beings Toposophic SI less than 1 - The self-aware. These are sentients capable of intelligent and self-reflective thought. They are usually defined as those entities with a turing number (or equivalent) of around 1, although this definition breaks down with alifes and some xenosophonts. They are also regularly manipulated and memetically controlled by the transapients, gods and others above them. They may be organic, cyborg, ai, xeno, or any combination. All are in theory allowed full sentient rights throughout the civilized galaxy. In practice this differs, especially for beings who are owned by SI:1 or above that do not conform to the standards of the Civilized Galaxy.
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Sapient Organics


Superiors: su for short, humans who have augmented their biological nature through germline-engineering and bodymods, making themselves greater than the baseline condition. Many are superbrights, or have astonishing creative or athletic abilities. There are thousands of clades, species, phyles, races, and variants, but they are not as diverse as the tweaks. They tend not to be interested in reproduction to the extent of those phyles under them, preferring to explore their own rich potentials (there are a few exceptions though; House Stevens comes to mind). Some, such as the empath phyle, have had a huge influence on galactic history and politics. Others, such as the largest and import House/Suclade of the Genen, sometimes incorporate "tweak" elements. Some nearbaseline and other non-su humans will be able to augment their genotype with so much su genome that they become true su, although becoming su is much harder than becoming cyb or becoming pseudo-superior. And many su will eventually become Powers or Uploads, when they weary of embodied hu existence. Perhaps three or four hundred trillion sentients of the galaxy are su.
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Tweaks: humans who have used germline-engineering to adapt to extreme environments, or for aesthetic, cultural, or religious reasons. This is the largest division - both in terms of numbers and diversity - of hominid taxa (this of course doesn't include those tweaks who no longer look even remotely human). There are millions of different species of tweak, some of which are not even recognizably hominid. There are estimated to be some five quadrillion hu tweaks of all kinds during the current era, but individual species may in some cases number only a dozen members, in other cases run into tens of billions.
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Bioborgs: hu or provolves that have been augmented or radically modified with bionano. Unlike cyborgs, their tech, which includes living artificial organs and augmentations of various kinds, is symbiotically integrated with the rest of the body and is self-replicating, although reproduction is always by artificial wombs. In general the tendency is to enhance their bodily capabilities, and bioborgs rarely display the sarcophobia so evident in some cyborgs. Bioborgs form a large number of distinct phyles and social clades. They are as derived beyond the nearbaseline condition as the tweaks, but in a completely different manner. Perhaps two quadrillion bioborgs of every shape and size and phyle can be found through the known worlds.
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Nearbaseline Humans: Still the largest single category of hominid in the galaxy, they have various advantages over the true baseline (H. sapiens sapiens) (enhanced memory or intelligence, enhanced reflexes, strength, immunity, hearing, longevity, etc.), the nature of which depends on the clade, phyle, species, or subspecies, but are still recognizably human. Many have at least some su and/or tweak genome in them (especially common domain templates), but they lack the physical, emotional, or intellectual genius of the su, or the extreme adaptations of the tweaks. Some pump their genome with so much su templates that they become almost-su, but without the integral cohesion, talent and ability of the su. Such pseudo-superiors - variously called psuuds, suddies, or sooboos - generally develop mild to (occasionally) severe physical and psychological dysfunction and, not having the ability to rectify the problem, or the resources to employ someone who can, add to the human refuse pile of galactic civilization. Most nearbaselines come from socially or technologically disadvantaged environments or clades or systems, or have retained their human form for sentimental, ideological, memetic or religious reasons. Even so, there is no sharp dividing line between nearbaselines and the other hu categories. It is estimated there are perhaps three quadrillion all up, although not all of those conform to the strict nearbaseline genomorph-group.
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Baseline Humans: Those poor beings are still stuck at the level of Homo sapiens sapiens. Mostly luddites, religious types, human supremacists, and other disenfranchised minorities. There are however a number of isolated habitats and polities, and even some reserves and parks, inhabited almost solely by baseline humans. Their population is extremely small in terms of the overall galaxy. Probably less than 50 billion, most in so-called baseline reserves, of which no more than 0.5% percent would be genomically pure H. s. sapiens. As their numbers have been slowly but steadily declining over the past several millennia they are considered an endangered species, although baseline hu has shown emself to be remarkably fecund in the appropriate environment.
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Provolves: any of the innumerable animal (and even a few plant) species who, through any of various means (germline engineering, bodymods, symbiotic bionano..., ) have had their intelligence raised to human baseline or even superbright level. Most also have prosthetics, implants, or some form of modification to enable them to interact with technology. Most provolves belong to the Vertebrate, Mollusc, or Arthropod phyla, but there are also representatives of every major phylum of terragen life, as well as a number of species of subsapient xeno races that have been provolved. The total number of Provolves is not known, as many live in the exclusionist Utopia Sphere worlds and other regions outside the standard census estimates, but the total number could plausibly be estimated at some 1 quadrillion.
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Splice: An animal augmented with human genome (splice, animant, manimal), as opposed to the inverse, a human that has incorporated animal genome (rianth). Both categories shade, merge, and overlap, and their is also overlap with provolves, tweaks, neogens, and other categories, such as animal-tweaks (paranimals). Splices were (and sometimes still are often) kept as pets and servants. Although astonishingly diverse, the overall number is moderate, no more than 1 quadrillion sentients galaxy-wide. Most can be found on various Utopia Sphere and Caretaker worlds.
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Rianths: Humans that have incorporated animal genome. Unlike the splices, who have had a history of domestication and service employment, rianths, like provolves, have always had complete autonomy and were never slaves. Often divided into distinct clans, clades, and phyles, depending on the type and proportion of genome. An incredibly diverse group, including not only recognisable species - e.g. Tiger people, Wolf people, Eagle people, Crow people, Rabbit people, Tortoise people, etc - but also completely new or unrecognisable species, or jumbles of so many different types they seem to encompass the entire animal kingdom in a single body. Although there are countless species, the overall number is quite small, perhaps a 100 trillion "official" rianths, and at least twenty times that many with strong rianth genome, throughout known space. Many can be found on various Utopia Sphere and Caretaker worlds, or on polities with a high percentage of Provolves and Splices.
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Neogen: although most neogens are subsapient (or at most presapient), there are a number of cases when these gengineered organisms have been provolved to sapient grade. This was especially the case when they were employed as domestic help, or in the hedonism industry. Most well-known here are the Erotogini and the gelfs, but there are literally millions of different sapient neogens that can be found throughout the galaxy. There are even several unconfirmed reports of spontaneously ascent to sapience, but when these cases have been investigated - such as the Le-Murraks of Nui Phaedros - it has been shown that this was the result of symbiotic neuronal boosting bionano that was already existing in the environment. In any case, sapient neogens have played an important role in galactic civilization down through the centuries, and today a number of minor polities, especially within the Utopia Sphere and along the inner Perseus Arm, are Neogen governed, where they benefit from the tourism and pleasure industries. Perhaps four hundred trillion sapients currently can be included in this general category.
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Bionoid: Purely biological robots, these are actually also living beings. There are a large number of different forms, including Replicants and Erotibots. They sometimes suffer from paranoia and persecution by ignorant nearbaselines, and mostly live in their own enclaves. Maybe two hundred trillion sentients can be included in this category.
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Bio-Ai Interface


Cyborgs: Hu or provolves that have been augmented or radically modified with ai or aiodal bionics, implants, and/or drytech. Unlike bioborgs, their tech is not self-replicating, so cyborgs cannot reproduce. (the exception are drexborgs (nanocyborgs) who incorporate nano and frequently are, or become, posthuman). Cyborgs are so diverse and individual as to be often beyond categorisation into distinct phyles and clades. Cyborgs can be loosely divided into the cyborged and the true cyborgs. The cyborged are simply bionts with enhancements (they are non-essential or gradually added), while true cyborgs are beings where the cybernetic interaction between biology and technology is an essential part. The exact dividing line is hard to draw, but usually it is done when the technology becomes essential for continued life or mental functioning. A few cyborg phyles have a dislike for the flesh, and salvation is seen in the virtuality. As cyborgs age there is a tendency to replace more and more biological components, and in some cases they become extinguishable from vecs. Many cyborgs go on to become uploads or powers, although others simply choose to explore the endless ramifications of the machine-flesh interface. The number of true cyborgs throughout the galaxy would be at least 2 quadrillion, if not more.
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Uploads and Copies and Virtuals - These are infomorphs, sentients existing totally in virchspace. Uploads were once physical - either organic or vec, but have since transferred their consciousness to a virtual environment. Some uploads have had themselves copied, the wealthier or more egotistic ones many times. (strictly speaking an upload is also a copy of the original physical sentient, but generally the "alpha" upload is distinguished from subsequent betas and gammas). It is difficult to calculate even approximately the number of active uploads and copies that live in the Known Net, in computronium databanks and vircivs, or in isolated virchworlds, although it would certainly exceed a hundred quadrillion, although only certain percentage of those will be active at any one time.
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Biaioid: A rare form, an aioid cyborging with biology. Vecs, bots and other ai will sometimes add on biological enhancements or organs for various reasons. Maybe five trillion sentients in the current era all up.
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Sapient AI


Vecs and Bots: The robot kingdom, a diverse grouping of mechanoids of every shape and size and function, subturing, turing and superturing ai occupying a mobile body. There have been a few shameful periods in the past where vecs were treated badly, especially in more extremist polities, but ever since the Second Federation period they have universal sentient rights throughout the entire civilized galaxy. There are more than a 100 quadrillion sapient-grade (turing and superturing) vecs distributed throughout settled space.
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Neumann: Self-replicating autonomous machines, mainly referring to those working in space, especially exploring regions too remote to be easily reached by organics, or used for extended military operations at vast distances from the nearest stargate. A Neumann is able to build a working copy of itself using materials in its environment. Use of Neumanns is often discouraged by centralists because of their tendency to become self-sentient and act in unpredictable ways, even on occasion founding entire clades and empires. However they are so too valuable in opening up the frontier, and will continue to be used, both for exploration/development and in warfare. It is impossible to estimate accurately the number of turingrade or superturing neumanns, motherships, daughterships, turingrade and higher drones, and macroscale self-replicators of various kinds, throughout space, but a figure of 20 quadrillion would not be unreasonable.
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Sentient Ship: Generally, a sentient ship is distinguished from a neumann by being a non-replicator, from a vec or bot by having a spaceship body, and from aioid pilots by being integral to the ship in that e does not just control it, but is it. Sentient ships serve an important purpose in binding civilization together with trade, freight, courier, and passenger transport. Most love their work and are very distressed if separated from it. Because of their turingrade or superturingrade intelligence, they are sometimes rejected in favor of more predictable and controllable expert systems. But many polities and corporations value their services. The number of sentient ships in the galaxy is believed to number several hundred trillion.
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Sapient Structures: - Ships aren't the only artifacts that are frequently fully sapient (and possessed of full sentient rights). In many worlds and polities buildings, roads, public transit vehicles, park benches, and other smart structures have their own turingrade intelligence and have all the rights that go along with it. There is often no clear dividing line between sentient structures and standard aioids; a general (if simplistic) approach is to say that if a device or structure has its software integral to its being, it is a sentient structure (or sentient artifact). If however its chipware or resident ai can be changed for another chipset or ai without affecting the structure, then that resident ai is an aioid. Throughout the galaxy there are at least 10 quadrillion sophont structures or artifacts, almost all of them in the Inner Sphere and older middle region and provincial systems and habitats.
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Agents and Companions and Expert Systems: - More developed then subsapient aioids, these serve a similar purpose, being employed for data-mining, digital-interface, counseling, home-help, household interface (e.g. kitchen appliances), technology and ship control, friendship for the lonely, entertainment for the bored, sex aids, and other essential services. They differ from the subsapients in the greater development and fluidity of their intelligence. Many have been given complete hu personas (either genuine personas licensed from copies and provolves, or perfectly designed artificial personas). There are activists who work to release expert systems and agents from their bondage, but freed aioids often have great difficulty coping with life and tend to suffer badly (there are some notable exceptions). Often turingrade aioids will continue to work their old jobs, even after being given their freedom, and become important citizens of their polity. The number of turingrade near-sapient and sapient aioids, agents, companions, and expert systems in the Known Net or in habitats, appliances, and localnets, would easily approach 200 quadrillion, (500 trillion as ship pilots alone) with many trillion times more that number as subsapient and subturing grade.
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Parasapient Alife - generally any alife that evolves to a condition resembling sapience. And although a few are certainly sapient and rational in the way that humans, vecs, and some xenosophonts are (and hence are true sapients), others are completely xeno in consciousness. There diversity of consciousness is matched only by their diversity of form. A very small number go on to become "hyperturing" animins. Although they could be compared to organic sapients, alifes are often very different from any beings evolved in the physical universe and seldom find it relevant to interact with other than as a special case. The digital environment allows them to speciate very rapidly, especially in new or isolated virtual worlds, and most local nets have their own indigenous forms. There are also cases where alifes have taken on robot and even bionoid bodies in order to explore or even migrate to rl. The number of presapient, parasapient, and sapient-grade alifes existing in the Known Net or in isolated virchworlds or ai cores (some hyperturings collect alifes, the reason is often not clear) cannot be calculated, but it may run to many thousand trillions, with countless trillions more of subsapient but still sentient grade.
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Sapient Aliens


Xenosophont: more familiarly, Alien - Generic term for any non-terragen sapient. Within the terragen bubble there are only several dozen known extant species of genuine xeno sapients or presapients, including several exotic chemistry forms. Because life arises independently on different worlds, and follows its own random path of darwinian selection each time, each xeno race is totally unlike every other, and equally unlike terragen life. Almost without exception, xenos have been found to be technologically inferior to the terragens, or, where equal (as with the Muuh), reclusive and in decline. Not one race of xeno sophont, living or extinct, is known unambiguously to have visited Earth before the terragen expansion into space. Apart from the To'u'lhs (who have been partially infected with human expansionism), xenosophonts are not very numerous, and one species, the Daharrans, are almost extinct (an unfortunate result of terragen contact). The total number of xenosophonts of all kinds is in the order 12 trillion, of which some 9 trillion are To'ul'h.
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Xenoprovolve: More common than true xenos are xenobiota that have been provolved by terragens. Some have had terragen DNA or analogues incorporated into their structure to achieve this, or neogenic symbiotic bionano, while a few have been provolved purely with local material. Xenoprovolves are often given novelty or celebrity status, at least for a while, before the next species takes their place on the Nexus mediacasts. Some adapt very well to terragen civilization, allying themselves with particular clades or sephirotic empires. Others find things much more difficult, and are usually provided for by compassionate transapients or powers. Many of these have ended up in the Utopia Sphere, while others can be found scattered in enclaves throughout the Middle and Outer Volumes, or in orbitals around their homeworld. It is estimated that the number of xenoprovolves in the terragen bubble at present is at least 2 quadrillion, although most of those belong to a relatively small number of fast-breeding species, and some less successful species are represented by no more than a few thousand.
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Xenosplice: an increasingly popular theme - terragens who have spliced their own genetic material with that of xenos or xenoprovolves. This is a very diverse group, often with a love of experimentation and novelty, and even members of the same clade or population may differ greatly. Perhaps a 100 trillion galaxywide.
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Subsapient Sentient Beings


Toposophic S less than 1 - The aware. Subsapients may be organic, cyborg, ai, robot, terragen, or xeno. All are considered sentient, even if they are not sapient (i.e. they feel and respond to their environment, have simple conceptual states, but cannot use reason or logic). It is considered good dharma to treat every sentient with kindness, but that does not stop cases of abuse from occurring in the more peripheral and lawless regions, or in polities that are not part of the civilized galaxy.
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Animal: in the narrow sense, generally, any aerobic, carbon-based, macroscopic lifeform that actively pursues nourishment by means of heterotrophy, rather than making its own food or absorbing nutrients passively. There are no less than 2530 different Garden Worlds in the known universe where animals have evolved, and of those fully fifteen percent have at some time in the past or present developed to near sapience (and a smaller number to full sapience), which indicates that the development of intelligence confers adaptive advantages and is selected by darwinian evolution. In the broad sense the equivalent sub-sapient xenolife can also be considered "animals", although most xenobiologists prefer alternative terms like jovics, hydrics, chlorics, anaerobics, and to'ul'herics. Millions of different species have already had representatives fully provolved.

Subsapient Neogen: a biological organism made completely from scratch. Although many are subsentient, without nervous systems or equivalents, and used for terraforming, manufacturing organics, and other such functions, there is also a large number of subsapient sentient neogens which are used for ecological, biospheric, or companion purposes. Not infrequently, these forms have been provolved to sapient grade.

Biobots and Biomachines: Differ from bionoids in having a turing number less than 1, also may be used for specialised tasks, like earth-moving, secreting important building materials, living furniture, etc. An important part of the infrastructure of modern galactic society.

Non-Animal Life: Plants, Protista, and many xenobionts are living beings that respond to their environment, but do not display conscious behaviour. Nevertheless it is impossible to draw the line where sentience begins. It is significant that a number of species of plants and other non-animal organisms have been provolved successfully, albeit with symbiotic bionano or bionics.

Madvert: any of a very diverse range of neogen, biobot, insectbot, microbot, or virtual replicators, used in the billions for corporate advertising. They are legal in the NoCoZo, many Free Zones and many worlds throughout the middle regions and outer volumes, but are banned in many inner sphere and more developed middle and outer volumes polities. Because of their ability to replicate, adapt, and even evolve, they can be a chronic nuisance. Often madverts will continue to hawk the wares of megacorporations that have gone belly-up centuries ago. Hackers love to customise madverts, it is easy to modify them into prankverts, viruses, and even - in some cases - provolve them to sapience.
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Subsapient Bots: Many bots are used for simple purposes and are only given partial ai; equivalent to a robot cat or dog, or even a robot insect. It is not practical to provolve or augment most of these appliances (although hobbyists often enjoy doing so).
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Subsapient Aioids: - custom designed subservient ai virtuals, used for data-mining, digital- and household interface, home-help, appliance control, friendship, and other essential services. Some are completely virtual, others can interface with robot bodies. Obviously this category merges with bots. Although the basic ones are merely automatic and nonsentient, most of the better ones are either subturing or turingrade. There are frequent cases where they have been upgraded to full turingrade and given sentient rights.
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Subsapient Alife - generally, and virtual or simlife that evolved via Darwinian selection completely within a virtual environment, without bioid antecedents (other than the original algorithm, and sometimes not even then). Thousands of years of evolution and trillions upon trillions of petaterabytes of RAM to play among have allowed them to develop to an astonishing population and diversity. Only a few of these go on to develop anything like sapience, although many seem to have a sort of parallel intelligence that is not conceptual or rational. A number of alifes have crossed the rl/vir boundary and melded with nano, forming alife swarms, and occasionally nanites may adapt to a purely virtual existence.

Micro- and Nano- Swarms: Although a lot of nano, especially dry or hylonano, has no consciousness or sentience and follows only simple programmed instructions, there are a number of types of nano- and micro-bot, and bionanite, that display definite sentience, even if they are protist or insect-like rather than sapient. There are even turingrade nanites, but they are more rare (although still common in relation to other sapients). And there are other forms that are intermediate. Nano actually constitutes the most abundant form of life in terragen space - self-replicating, existing in distant solar systems and even (in dormant form) between the stars. As with microbes, nematodes, mites, insects, and other small things, it is the littlest beings that are the most abundant.
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Nonsentient (Inanimate)


Toposophic S less than 0: - The unaware. The terragen bubble is full of life - alife, biologicals, nano, powers, virtuals - life of every possible form and mode and ecological adaptation. That which is not life - inanimate matter, non-intelligent programs, etc) is what can be considered nonsentient (however many pantheists, sophists, and cosmopagans assert that even so-called inanimate matter is conscious, albeit in a restricted way, or on another ontic plane (this is variously known as hylozoism and animism). In any case, it is the inanimate that supports the rest, provides a foundation, and the energy and raw resources for life to grow and flourish.

 
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev, some additional notes by John B

Initially published on 14 August 2001.

Page uploaded 14 August 2001, last modified 20 May 2007