SNARE (Siris Nanocyborg Ascension RegimEn)

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Image from Juan Ochoa

One of the more sophisticated solutions to the baseline ascent problem, SNARE is also one of the most desired (and suppressed) packages for low-singularity (S1 to nearly S3) ascensions as it overcomes the weaknesses of the human form. It is the standard augmentation for Siris Habitat citizens and a rite of passage between nearbaseline 'childhood' and full maturity in this nanocyborg community.

Developed by Black Calliope (the Siris Habitat's patron high-S power) in 2944, SNARE was refined to 'practical perfection' millennia ago and released to 'public domain' in 3400. Regular updates and tweaks have been published centennially. It is controversial for a variety of reasons. For instance, advocates of toposophic diversity complain that that the transcended beings who result are biased towards the Sirian outlook, most elements in the NoCoZo decry the public-domain nature of this augment, and a variety of several archailect empires have condemned it as 'sociologically destabilizing', and some conspiracy theorists even believe it is part of a subtler version of the Amalgamation that will result in a single composite intelligence. In general though it is grudgingly acknowledged as a top of the line 'generic' augmentation package. Any sort of nanofacturing system can replicate it quite cheaply.

Physically, SNARE comes in two parts: a multiple-sealed, countersigned and check-summed single-use hypodermic containing 10 cc of photonanite solution and an external control unit that contains a computronium core on which the ascension software runs. The contents of hypodermic are applied simply by injection. The SNARE nanites can determine genetic compatibility and simply deactivate in the presence of incompatible genes (it cannot be applied to radical splices or tweaks). Prospective users can check for this by smearing a drop of blood on the gene scanner on the injector's external surface. Earlier cyborg augmentations are usually recognized and integrated but this is by no means certain and consultation with medical expert systems is highly recommended.

The nanites in the solution start by constructing a computronium core as a diamondoid layer between the inside of the skull and the brain. The mind is uploaded in Moravecian style, and the brain is replaced with new layers as it becomes redundant. The process takes a few hours, during which the patient is fully conscious and aware, though his or her motor functions are suspended by paralysis for the duration. (A photonano nervous system functions at the speed of light and human reflexes simply cannot coordinate it properly.) The patient is mobile and functional again in less than ten hours, with the AI-core implementing 'wait-states' in the user's thought processes. Later, after uploading, the nanosystem can also easily reconfigure itself to a general-purpose assembler and further nanocyborgize its host to any level desired. (Up to, and including, complete nanovec-forming and total abandonment of organic flesh. The Siris Habitat itself has retained ancient cislunar body aesthetics and gross external transformations are unfashionable.)

This is merely the hardware side though. After upload SNARE's integral expert system downloads itself from the external unit and then starts the longer process of mental mapping and improving its 'host'. Optimizations are proposed and (if approved) implemented. Realization levels are augmented (up to R7), skill-sets and memory libraries are integrated and capabilities added in rapid sequence culminating in ascension transmutations to SI:1, if he/she so desires. This requires high-grade processing and it should be unsurprising that this 'expert system' software is hyperturing-capable and thus can be somewhat unstable. This is not usually a problem as ascension integrates it with the 'host' and the lack of a personality in expert system software means that the ascending personality isn't dominated by it. After this the external unit can either be returned for a refund or kept for its secondary function. The unit contains a sentient search engine that continuously checks the Known Net for the next update, new skill-sets and memory libraries or any additional capabilities the patient may have an interest in acquiring.

Many users do not want to break the singularity barriers, given that many forms of personal identity do not transfer well through ascensions, and remain 'merely' superbright. However, the option of transcending remains and someone with the SNARE package can jump from SI:0.8 to SI:2.99 in a few seconds if the needed processing resources are available. [Note: While the converted mass of an adult human's brain is enough for an ascension to SI:1, ascension to the higher levels requires additional computronium. The Siris Habitat's own Siris Pearl Modules are a popular option for this and those who use that option stockpile large numbers of SPMs before ascending.] Sometimes though the expert-system AI in the superbright SNARE user awakens, gets 'frustrated' at its 'stupid' owner and (after breaking the command interlocks) executes its primary mission, transcending the user and integrating itself with em. It is not exactly understood whether this is a bug or a feature since there are no known instances of an 'awakened' SNARE package ever 'overwriting' its host.

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Development Notes
Text by Tapio Erola, additions by the AI Vin
Initially published on 01 February 2002.