Common Terms
Communications
Image from Juan Ochoa
Over the course of Terragen history, a number of new terms and concepts have been added to human discourse. Below are some of the most common:

Ahumans: Superphyle of artificially intelligent entities (AI) who have rejected any form of relationship with humanity or other intelligent biological species.

Aioid: Generic term for a non-biological sentient being that is not a vec or alife. May be a bot, expert system, intelligent agent, sentient vehicle, sentient building, or any other type of similar entity. May or may not be possessed of human equivalent intelligence or be a sophont being.

Alife: Beings evolved in artificial life simulations. Instead of being designed like AIs, they evolve in a Darwinian way within a virtual environment. While most alife simulations are intended as art, research or entertainment, sentient alifes are generally regarded as having sentient rights and freedoms just like any other sentient form of life. Alifes are usually extremely different from any beings evolved in the physical universe and seldom find it relevant to interact with them other than as a special case.

Angelnet: Any pervasive protective network of technology, but typically a dense transapient-controlled network of satellites, ground stations, bots, free atmospheric nano, and utility fog, that establishes total control over a planetary surface, atmosphere, and orbital space environment.

Archai/Archailect: An entity operating at or beyond the 4th Singularity Level (S4). Such entities may also be referred to as "gods" and are literally worshiped by a significant percentage of the Terragen population.

Ascend: The act of ascension, from a lower to a higher toposophic, while still retaining one's earlier characteristics. For example, humans are ascended animals — they have all the animal instincts but also possess ratiocination.

Backup: A recording of the entire physical mind/body state of any entity (animal, bot, baseline human equivalent, or transapient), created with the intent that it might be replicated at a later date, generally after the death of the original entity. Considered a means for achieving immortality in many (although by no means all) cultures.

Baseline: A human (or in some usages any other biont) who has not been genomically modified or cybernetically augmented beyond the original natural condition.

Bionano: Biomolecular Nanotechnology (Bionanotech). Use of biomolecules as replicators, assemblers, or components for molecular nanotechnology; any molecular nanotechnology based on such biomolecules or biotech. It may be used as stand-alone nano or interfaced with living systems.

Biont: An organic entity; especially a sophont being, though the term is sometimes used merely to indicate any organic life form.

Bot: A robot. A sentient and independent or semi-independent inorganic entity that is not fully sophont, and is roughly equivalent to a plant or animal in mental capability. May also refer to a sentient but subsophont aioid that dwells in computronium networks and lacks a distinct material body.

Caretaker God: An archailect that appropriates a planet, solar system, or region of space, along with all its sentient beings, for conservationist purposes.

Civilized Galaxy: That portion of Terragen civilization that is most characterized by a respect for sentient rights, by transapient intelligences that are friendly to non-transapient life forms, and by an extremely high standard of living that is accessible to most of the sophont beings living there.

Clade: Any group of sentient beings, whether designed, modified, or evolved, who share common ancestors or templates and who have distinctive physical, psychological, toposophic, and social characteristics in common as a result of that shared heritage.

Computronium: Matter supporting computation, especially artificial substances suitable for high efficiency computation.

Cybercosm, The: Name given the sum total of all the various simulations, emulations and virtual reality environments in existence across the Known Net at any given time. Also, a generic term for any virchworld in or apart from the Known Net; a subdivision of The Cybercosm.

DNI (Direct Neural Interface): Common device that allows an organic nervous system to directly interface with cybernetic devices for the purpose of communicating with or controlling them.

E: Gender neutral pronoun (singular subject) commonly used in Terragen civilization in place of "he", "she", or "it".

Eidolon: Common term for a sophont's telepresence in utility fog.

Eir: Gender neutral pronoun (possessive adjective) commonly used in Terragen civilization in place of "his" or "hers".

Eirs: Gender neutral pronoun (possessive pronoun) commonly used in Terragen civilization in place of "his" or "hers".

Em: Gender neutral pronoun (singular object) commonly used in Terragen civilization in place of "him" or "her".

Gengineering: The development and application of scientific methods, procedures, and technologies that permit direct manipulation of genetic material in order to alter the hereditary traits of a cell, organism, or population.

Hylonano: Molecular Nanotechnology (dry nanotech). Use of artificially created non-biomolecular systems as replicators, assemblers, or components of molecular nanotechnology; any molecular nanotechnology not based on bio-molecules or biotech. Sometimes referred to as "Drexlerian nanotech".

ISO: (Intelligent Super Object) A large construct intended for the housing of an archailect or transapient or a high singularity culture or civilization. ISOs can be mobile or stationary, with sizes ranging from a few kilometers to solar system dimensions.

Known Net, The: A vast interlinked network of data using wormhole-linked backbones and relativistically linked secondary nodes. The Known Net is the totality of all knowledge, information and virtuality within the modosophont accessible portion of Terragen civilization.

Magmatter: Magmatter is a form of exotic matter made of extremely small atom-like particles that are in turn made of a number of different types of topological vacuum defects known as monopoles. Magmatter "atoms" are much smaller than atoms of ordinary matter; for this reason magmatter is much denser. Because of the strong magnetic charges holding the atoms together, magmatter is also much stronger than ordinary matter and has other useful properties. However, due to difficulties associated with its manufacture and use, and because of safety issues concerning its proximity to normal matter, almost all magmatter creation and manipulation technology can only be used by second singularity transapients and above.

Megastructure: An exceedingly large (in ordinary biont terms) construct, usually on the order of tens to thousands of kilometers in length or diameter. May be an archailect node, a habitat, a large ISO, etc.

Nearbaseline: Generic term for any biont only slightly modified from the original baseline condition. Most typically, a human who still resembles the original baseline Homo sapiens sapiens condition.

Neogen: A biological being or species created entirely from scratch rather than by modification of naturally evolved stock. A product of neogenics, the technology of creating life from lifeless materials.

Provolve: Any of the innumerable animal (and even a few plant or fungal) species that, through any of various means (germline engineering, bodymods, symbiotic bionano, etc.) have had their intelligence increased to human baseline level or beyond.

Rianth: Humans who have incorporated animal genome. Unlike the splices, who have often had a history of domestication and service employment, rianth clades have typically had complete autonomy since their origin and were never slaves.

Scion: A full or partial copy of a sophont, specifically designed to go forth and gather experiences or carry out duties on behalf of the original.

Sephirotic: Of or pertaining to the major sophont-friendly transapient empires that make up much of the Civilized Galaxy. The term derives from the religion/philosophy of Kabbalah and is based on the idea that when the major archai first came into being and began developing their empires they took on aspects of several archetypes from this school of thought. Why they chose to do this is a matter of debate and conjecture.

Singularity: The point or short period when a culture's or individual's self-guided evolutionary development accelerates enormously so that nothing beyond that time can reliably be conceived by human level intelligence.

Sophont: A thinking being. A being possessed of both intelligence and self-awareness.

Splice: Usually an animal augmented with human genome as opposed to the inverse, a human that has incorporated animal genome (rianth). Sometimes a combination of two or more nonhuman animal genomes.

Superior/Su: A genetically modified human, characterized by capacities far in excess of baselines.

Terragen: Any biont, ai, or any other entity, clade, species, or group that either originated on Earth or, more generally, can trace eir ultimate origin and ancestry back to Earth; or any civilization, empire, polity, or organization created or maintained by Terragen sentients.

Toposophy/Toposophic: Toposophy deals with the theoretical problems and possibilities of attempts to extend and amplify one's mental potential. While technically speaking it applies to all mental growth, it is mainly used to denote the science of major mental paradigm shifts.

Transapient: A sophont being who has ascended or transcended beyond the sapient condition and become vastly superhuman.

Transcend: To become vastly superhuman and incomprehensible to unaugmented beings. To breach a singularity barrier such that the old faculties drop away. For instance, a Buddha who enters nirvana is a transcend because e no longer retains an embodied existence.

Turingrade: An AI of baseline human equivalent intelligence and sapience.

Tweak: Generally, a human who has been radically modified for environmental or aptitude purposes. Also used to designate any Terragen organism who has been so radically modified for environmental or aptitude purposes

Upload: To transfer the consciousness and mental structure of a person from a biological matrix to an electronic or informational or virtual matrix. Also, a term for the being that results from such a process.

Utility Fog: A collective of mesobots or nanobots ("foglets") that link together into a complex network in the air, able to work together to exert force in any direction or transmit information between each other. Utility fog can be used to simulate any environment, essentially providing the real world with the environment-transforming capabilities of virtual reality. This gives users almost complete control over their physical environment. Users do not have to be transapient, although many are. Utility fog civilizations have evolved a number of times, but rarely last more than a few centuries before transcending. One of the very few stable ones is Nimbus.

Vec: Any one of a diverse grouping of mechanoids of every shape and size and function, with the only commonality being that they occupy a mobile body. The term derives from Hans Moravec, a 20th and 21st century roboticist.

Virch, virtch: [noun] virtual reality, any digital space or environment; [verb] to interact with or exist or function in virtual reality.




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