Occupations, Avocations, and Work
At Work
Image from Lilly Harper
Within the civilized sphere of the Sephirotic areas, and the utopian or autotopian societies that comprise them, there are few beings who need toil for daily bread, water, and air (or their clade's equivalents). Consequently, there are few who have what an Industrial Age human baseline would call a job. However, most sapient and transapient persons have one or more occupations, professions, or avocations. Motivations for this vary considerably. Many do their work out of altruism, or out of a desire for social status. Nearly all clades have innate programming to do some useful work. For instance, human nearbaselines usually retain drives which cause them to spend up to four hours a day on useful activity, just as their Palaeolithic ancestors did,. However, in a few cases (especially that of pet humans), this trait has been bred out of the line.

Some ais and vecs have even more stringent requirements, and, like human nearbaselines, show personal and societal distress if they cannot work. Transapients can add another layer to this. For reasons of their own, many (but not all) apply memetic engineering to reinforce or even enhance tendencies to seek work. They might be doing this as part of a higher-toposophic ecology/economy, simply regard it as good social and emotional maintenance of their sophont populations (and a way of mitigating baseline hyperdependency syndrome), or they might have other, less explicable reasons. The memetic push towards an occupation is most apparent in various sorts of propaganda and overt social programs, but beneath these is a much subtler and more powerful set of manipulations. Of course, in many cases, a transapient may accomplish the same ends simply by refusing to provide certain kinds of support. The strongest memetic effects are evident in the NoCoZo, in which marketing induces a frenzied desire for higher status and material wealth, and citizens may endure extremely long hours of labour to meet these desires. However, memetic pressures to work are evident to some degree in most polities of Sephirotic space.

Sapient beings outside the areas of direct Sephirotic control often scoff at the soft, complacent inhabitants of the "Nannytopias". However, in many cases, they too live in economies that are so abundant that work is only as demanding as they desire it to be. This is partly because modern Terragen technologies are simply that productive, and the physical resources of nearly any new star system are simply that rich. The edges of Terragen space are more apt to provide danger than they are hardship. Besides, many in the Sephirotic regions regard the peripheral polities, explorers, and settlers as specialized (and in some cases, unwitting) agents of Sephirotic powers. If they are correct, these are merely modosophonts and low level transapients who have been given a specialized sort of occupation: that of extending Terragen civilization.

Many professions that developed among human societies on Old Earth between the Agricultural Age and the Interplanetary Age are still found throughout the Sephirotic sphere, though some have changed significantly with the times.

Merchants are as active as ever, though they are more likely to trade in information, rare elements, or unique items, as opposed to bulk goods that are so easily available in a post-nanotech society. Art, new technological applications, unique locations, and many other things remain in limited supply. Even though basic food and drink are free, a particular food with the cachet of having been grown or created by a particular individual, or in a particular place, is not. Whether through barter, money, or more sophisticated and subtle media of exchange, sophonts seek to acquire these things, by offering unique goods or services of their own, and specialists (merchants) naturally move in to facilitate and profit from these transactions.

In cultures that allow everyone to develop skills and knowledge equal to one or two Old Earth doctorates, human services are all the more valuable, especially to the elite. Waiters, musicians, actors (in virtual, interactive, live, or other performance media), writers, poets, and artists of all kinds are in great demand. This is in part because of their relative scarcity. In a world in which none need toil, there are fewer competitors for these kinds of positions. Those with the requisite skills and inclinations for these sorts of services are themselves rare, and therefore extraordinarily valuable and highly regarded.

The ability to display such skills may be considered admirable, but the ability to employ others who have yet greater skill is as greatly admired. One who commands the services of a turingrade AI housekeeper, a nearbaseline human valet, and a vec gardener is indeed influential, especially when each of these could live quite nicely on eir own. The wealthiest neighbourhoods may employ a real vec or biont individual to sweep the streets. Real barmen, bouncers, doormen, barmaids, and the like are the mark of the most expensive sort of establishments, and the most exclusive resorts likewise have "real" staff, rather than subturing automated systems.

Sports or games of one sort or another are as common and famous within polities and clades as they were in the ancient, founding societies of Terragen cultures. Naturally, and as was the case on Old Earth, each operates within a particular set of rules and technological restrictions. In ancient times, when there was only a single species involved, athletic events and tournaments were already divided according to age, sex, and weight, and allowed a restricted range of equipment. Rules for these events have grown many times more complex since then, but since many have had centuries or millennia of refinement, they tend to function very well.

Cheating is usually relatively easy to define and detect, and penalties are clear. Genetic engineering and other technologies may make this a matter of the best-designed contestant, whether constructed, born, or self-modified, In the oldest contests, the optimal designs have already been reached, and it is the less definable qualities of the individual that win the day. Individuals or groups within a particularly popular category may achieve fame that spreads across many hundreds of light years, even for something as apparently trivial as a race, a board game, or a team sport. Whether an individual participating in such contests might be regarded as an amateur or a professional is a matter of degree and definition, according to the fraction of lifespan spent and the amount of fame achieved.

Dedicated religious vocations are as common as ever: priests, priestesses, yogis, monks, nuns, holy hermits, theologians, mullahs, ayatollahs, and their equivalents are found in nearly every clade, whether working, praying, meditating, or performing rituals in service of their Lord, or the Gods, or some Divine Principle. Throughout the civilized galaxy and beyond, there are religions that worship supernatural deities or "Gods", others that worship real-world deities (Archailects), and still others that are in pursuit of some abstract good. Naturally, each of these camps thinks the others are naïve and misguided at best.

Ever since the Agricultural Age, the material and social world generates a need for professionals, including scientists of all sorts. While fundamental research at the periphery of Terragen knowledge is now the domain of the higher-level transapient entities, understanding and applying that knowledge at the sapient level is another matter. So too is the discovery and understanding of new forms of life, new planets, and any number of phenomena which, while not fundamentally new, are still novel to Terragen science. Other professions that persist, though sometimes in forms which would be difficult for an Information Age individual to recognize, include architects, doctors, and nurses, and other medical technicians, mechanics, engineers, and urban planners.

Even the most indulgent autotopia prohibits some activities, whether for the convenience of the governing beings, for the good of the society as a whole, or to protect individuals from themselves or each other. Where there are prohibitions, there are those who would break them, and therefore there are criminals. Most of these are amateurs and one-time criminals, but wherever the angelnetting sports a gap, or is lacking, there are professionals as well;. These include everything from smugglers of antiquities to drug dealers and bodyjackers. That even the tightest angelnets fail to capture all criminals is sometimes taken as a sign that the transapients are not as omniscient as they pretend to be. Others aver that some criminals are allowed to exist as part of a larger social program.

Even the most utopian societies have their disputes, and there are still misfits in a world without great need: criminals other than the professionals. In the distant past, these were often the result of poverty, ignorance, and hunger. In the present age, there are just as many incidents as a result of idleness and boredom on the part of those unsuited for work. In addition, there are still conflicts of interest, and these disputes can escalate between even the most balanced individuals and groups. Various professionals, such as career counsellors, teachers, arbitrators, ombudsmen, and psychiatrists work to prevent incidents. Lawyers, police, judges, and all of the other trappings of law and due process are still required when they fail. Theoretically, a single <{T492d6aa0a549a,SI:>1}> could manage these matters for a whole society of nearbaseline intelligences, but in practice, most seem to feel that they have better things to do, or perhaps that modosophonts are healthiest when they see to these matters themselves.

Likewise, while direct AIocracy by higher trans-sapients is an option, many areas of Sephirotic space allow or require communities to govern themselves. Therefore, politics at every scale, from be it a neighbourhood, nation, planet, or clade, is another common occupation (and for the non-specialist, sometimes a preoccupation). Whatever the size of the polity, bureaucrats and administrators (often AIs who were originally designed for these jobs) are required, and various other elected and appointed officials also manage day-to-day and decade-to-decade events.

Raising children (or the equivalent) is another major occupation, or preoccupation, of many Sephirotic sapients. On the face of it, this would seem surprising, since juveniles are a small proportion of the population due to the very slow growth rate of settled regions. However, given the complexity of society, the task itself is enormous, and requires the work of many. Moreover, the right to bear or raise children is a mark of great achievement and high status. Not only are the genetic parents or constructors involved, but so too are co-designers, relatives (such as aunts, uncles, elder siblings, cousins, grandparents, and great-grandparents (or equivalents)), teachers, and tutors, or other programmers, neighbours, and other community members. If their performance is sufficiently impressive, some of these may earn the right to greater involvement in the process, and may even be allowed to design, bear, or engender children of their own.

Finally, there are two great tasks which the transapients often, for inscrutable reasons of their own, leave partly or entirely in the hands of sapient beings: terraforming, and provolution work. These projects can consume the energies and attention of entire societies for hundreds or thousands of years, and hundreds of sapient specialists and subspecialists are required to coordinate the effort itself. This sort of work is as highly regarded as the business of the raising of the next generation.

Many members of the Sephirotic societies are sometimes idle, and perform no useful (or even useless) work. There are some who choose to remain so for most or all of their lives. If this is so, it is not for lack of opportunity.
  • Advocate  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev; based on original by Robert J. Hall
    A specialist in the study and dissemination of advanced knowledge, in philosophical and legal fields, and in memetics.
  • Aerospace Engineering  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, modified from the original write-up by Robert J. Hall
    A field of engineering that combines aerodynamics, fluid dynamics, propulsion, thermodynamics, aerospace mechanics, virch simulations, materials science, energy use, nanofabrication and vehicular structures.
  • Agricultural Scientist  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, modified from the original write-up by Robert J. Hall
    A student of agricultural science who advises agriculturalists.
  • Aibitrator  - Text by Ryan B
    Empai specialising in the resolution of civil disagreements
  • Anatomist  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, modified from the original write-up by Robert J. Hall
    One who specializes in the study of Anatomy.
  • Archaeologists  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, modified from the original write-up by Robert J. Hall
    The Archaeologist attempts to reconstruction sophont history and culture from the analysis of physical remains left behind by previous cultures.
  • Architect  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    There are only a few few non-ai architects. Generally ai, aioids, and virtuals design conventional buildings and dwellings, as part of the overall habitat or city, working with other ai or ai subroutines that manage urban planning, construction, and landscaping. Those people who want to customize their own dwelling will do so themselves, usually with the help of expert systems and implanted knowledge-bases. Occasionally however a biont or vec architect may be hired.
  • Asteroids and Asteroid Mining  - Text by Alex Mulvey, M. Alan Kazlev, Tardigrade and Steve Bowers
    The process of extracting useful minerals and other substances from asteroids.
  • Belter  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, with additional material by Steve Bowers
    [1] Any resident of an asteroid belt, especially a miner.
  • Biochemist  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Scientific profession - sophont who studies biochemistry, or applies that knowledge and techniques in a practical way.
  • Biomechanics - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Science that deals with the biont body as a mechanism to which the laws of physics are applied to study, treatment, and augment movement and athletic performance. Includes kinesiology, sports science, kinetic and athletic bioware and cyberware, and other topics.
  • Biomedical Engineering - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The design and development of medical technology, especially medical nanotechnology. Includes design and development of customized medical nanobots, synthetic biomaterials, large, small, cellular, and subcellular-scale body imaging and sensors, bio- and cybernetic implants and augmentations.
  • Bounty Hunter  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    One who tracks and retrieves other sophonts of equivalent toposophic, usually those wanted for criminal activities.
  • Bribe expert - Text by John B
    A bribe expert knows the 15 basic ways to profer a payment for semi- or illegal services, as well as most if not all of their fifteen factorial combinations. Often an upload, ai, or alife, due to their flexibility of communication apparati. Mindworker profession.
  • Cartographer  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    One who creates, studies or interprets maps.
  • Cartography  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, modified from the original write-up by Robert J. Hall
    The making and reading of maps.
  • Celesociology - Text by Jay Dugger
    Studies societies within an accelerated virch realm.
  • Celesynecology - Text by Jay Dugger
    Studies ecological structure, development, and distribution of communities within an accelerated virch realm.
  • Cellular Artist - Text by Keith Halperin
    One who creates artworks from living cells.
  • Chef  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    One who prepares foodstuffs for other sophont beings (usually bionts but in some cases vecs).
  • Chronologist  - Text by John B
    A being skilled in the lore of the various methods sophonts have and continue to use in the keeping of time and history.
  • Civil Engineering  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, from the original by Robert J. Hall
    Field of engineering that deals with the design, construction, and management of physical infrastructures (buildings, highways, maglev tubes, spacedocks, recycling piping, bridges, moving walkways, etc etc) necessary for urban or habitat existence.
  • Clarker  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Sentient who makes a living through sifting through marketplaces for unusual artifacts.
  • Codewalker - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A person, ai, or program that traverses code for a living. Not the most glamorous job, but very necessary to fix glitches and old bugs, find out how to upgrade legacy systems, etc.
  • Colonist  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Sophont being who leaves eir homeworld to colonize a new solar system.
  • Combat Statistician  - Text by John B
    A sophont skilled in statistical interpretation and manipulation of data.
  • Companion (occupation) - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A personal assistant; either aioid (implant or remote) or a distinct sapient being (biont or vec, domestic or zar). Depending on the type and purpose, may function as secretary, data miner, bodyguard, servant, esoteric companion, etc.
  • Computer Engineering  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev from an original by Robert J. Hall
    The design and development of computational devices on any scale, from micro down to nano.
  • Cross-cultural Salesbeing - Text by John B
    A sophont skilled in more than one culture's methods for valuing materials and/or services, as well as taboos and other pricing-sensitive information. By definition, most salesbeings outside of closed monotonic clades or polities are cross-cultural. This is a Mindworker profession.
  • Cybrarian - Text by Anders Sandberg and M. Alan Kazlev
    A digital librarian, usually (if rl) a cyborg or (if virtual) a turingrade expert system, especially one hunting down truly obscure references.
  • Deadlines and Voluntary Stress  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Deliberately choosing a dysfunctional or archaic (pre-singularity) employment-lifestyle.
  • Dormbot  - Text by Stephen Inniss after the term invented by M. Alan Kazlev
    Another term for homebot; sometimes used in reference to bots, and sometimes in reference to similarly specialized vecs who are domestics or who oversee domestic bots. Vecs who are called dormbots may regard the term as a simple description of their occupation or they may regard it as an insult; this varies by cultural context and personal preference.
  • Electrical Engineering - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, modified from the original write-up by Robert J. Hall
    The design, analysis, optimization and implementation of products that utilize electricity and electromagnetism. Includes fullerene semiconductors, molectronics, power systems, transmission and reception of signals, surge protection, motors, control systems, generators, amplifiers, electrical instruments, transceivers, and maser and laser systems. Some electronic engineers are also interested in archaic electrical technology, such as microtech integrated circuits, household appliances, and so on.
  • Emotive Translation Expert - Text by John B
    The preeminent speciality of the translation field, ETE's are capable of decoding the appropriate emotional state which would be generated in a recipient of the transmitter's memeset and encoding an appropriate concept in the memeset of the recipient. Mindworker profession.
  • Eternal Disciples, Eternal Apprentices - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Variously, a lifestyle choice or form of psychological dependence, whereby disciples, students, or devotees refuse to graduate and strike out on their own, preferring to sit forever at the feet of a chosen master or Tutor.
  • Factotums  - Text by Dagon
    Generic term for degenerate discarded, obsolete or homeless vecs or bots.
  • First Federation Emissaries   - Text by MacGregor
    A variety of agents and methods used by the First Federation to establish contact with isolated groups and polities.
  • Forestry  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev from the original by Robert J. Hall
    Sustainable management of forests, specially on terraformed worlds, large orbitals and biohabitats
  • Freelance Prospector  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Individualist miners or artifact fossickers away from the developed worlds.
  • Genehacker  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    [1] One who creates genemods for fun or profit. A popular and widespread hobby/profession. Requires a comprehensive knowledge of genetics and gengineering. Many genehackers have an impressive collection of gene-splicing bionano, and usually sport distinct biomods and genemods of their own design
    [2]A person who illegally sequence the genome of a gengineered organism in order to retro-engineer it. Not unlike Information Age and later IT-pirates hacking into computer source-code.
  • Gengineering, Geneering  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    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.
  • Geologist - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, from the original by Robert J. Hall
    One who studies or practises geology. While most geologists in the long inhabited and colonised regions of space are hobbyists and amateurs, most scientific, colonization, and interstellar surveying expeditions and deep space probe missions include at least one geologist (biont, vec, ai, or turingrade expert system) and usually several when mapping and exploring new solar systems, terraforming likely planets. Geologists are also consulted by prospectors, surveyors or developers when searching for valuable minerals, water, natural gas, or other useful planetary resources, selecting a good site for a habitation dome or mining operation on an unexplored or little known planet, and so on.
  • Guide  - Text by John B
    A sophont promoting the Solarian ideal of guided ascension and mentored life by working with lower-S-scale intellects and assisting them in improving their lives via the Solarian creed.
  • Historian - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    One who studies any aspect of history. Historians may belong to any race, clade, phyle or toposophic. Since the field of study is as vast as the mindkind emself, most historians specialise in specific areas of history.
  • Holothete/Oracle - Text by Keith Halperin
    Uses massive Bayesian/library implants and remains highly linked to as many datafeeds as possible, to provide the raw data needed to predict accurately. Is also, is able to more directly "commune" with higher toposphic beings.
  • Hulkchasers  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A generic term for adventurers who seek out hulks not only for profit, but simply for the sheer joy of it.
  • Immune Designer  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Designers of advanced nanotechnological, software, ecological and memetic immune systems to protect civilized systems from nanoswarms, software viruses, epidemics and blights.
  • Immunology  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The study of the biont immune system, which defends the organism against the invasion of foreign substances, tissues, and organisms.
  • Industrial Engineering - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, from original by Robert J. Hall
    The design of optimum manufacturing processes through the coordinated use of equipment, labor, materials, and power, including the design of efficient production lines, nanofabrication units, bionano growth vats, long-range planning, information processing, and management techniques, and the best design of industrial orbitals, deep well zones, assembly facilities, sentient and non-sentient control systems, and productivity, plant memetics and morale.
  • Interfacer - Text by Robert Ingdahl, in Anders Sandberg's Transhuman Terminology
    One who acts as an interface between virtual corporations or other digital-based organizations, and the physical world and its local economic rules.
  • Isotect - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Designer of ISOs. A notably posthuman profession which among subsingularity beings has the connotation of "something hyperturings do". A statement like "E's an isotect" implies that the referred being is doing something unknowable.
  • Keepers  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A very large class of sentient, to sapient to transapient beings who are the managers or "guardian spirits" of a specific area such as a dwelling, a park, a wilderness or manufacturing district, an arcology or city, a hab, or even an entire world or megastructure. Most are informorphs, or aioids specifically designed for such work.
  • Kinetic Technician - Text by John B
    A being skilled in applying just the right amount of force. Very useful in large numbers of occupations. Often a being with a physical body and extreme control thereof - borg, vec, brushbot, etc. A notable subset are unaugmented hu, often the butt of much augmented humor.
  • Kludging  - Text by John B
    The ancient art of optimizing systems on the fly, often for non-standard tasks. Kludging requires a strong creativity quotient and is assisted by a strong familiarity with local assets, although this latter bit is not a requirement.
  • Knowledge Engineering - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Design and construction of intelligent and semi-intelligent systems. In other words, the art and science of designing and building expert systems, aioids, and ais. In particular this involves collecting knowledge and heuristic rules from sophont and hyperturing experts in their area of specialty and assembling them into a knowledge base or expert system.
  • Kryptogenics - Text by Charles Mosteller
    The art and science of encrypting genes and genetic codes.
  • Limnology - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Study of rivers, lakes, ponds and streams on a Gaian Type planet, the freshwater equivalent of Oceanography. Includes study of the various zones of water depth, the interaction with the atmosphere, currents, temperature patterns, and the biology and ecology of any fresh-water life forms, as well as legal and environmental regulations, biospherics and appropriate use of resources.
  • Linguist  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, from the original by Robert J. Hall
    An expert in the study of languages.
  • Madvert Designer  - Text by John B
    One of the most despised professional skill sets, in many less controlled polities the rumour of a madvert designer's arrival is enough to stir up swarms of protest, if not actual vigilante activities. Mindworker profession.
  • Mechanical Engineering - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, from original by Robert J. Hall
    Field of engineering field that studies the design and development of drytech mechanical devices, including virchmodelling; customizing from templates; fabrication methods; optimizing (e.g. dampening of noise and vibrations, including engine efficiency); mechanics; and materials and component testing.
  • Mediators  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Specialists tasked with mediation, traveling across the Sophic League to mediate arguments and disputes.
  • Mega Factory  - Text by Rhea47
    Large scale, often deliberately anachronistic manufactory units which do not use nanofab technology
  • Memegeneer  - Text by John B
    Perhaps the most disliked professional, and among the most feared. Skilled at memetic creation, dispersion, mutation, agglomeration, and destruction, memegineers are the most flexible of the mindworker class of professionals.
  • Mindhacker - Text by John B
    Illegal profession in many if not most clades or polities. Specializes in extracting information from the mental processes of a target sophont. The best mindhackers can extract full information replicas without the target recognizing this, but that is exceedingly rare without a transapient intellectual rating. Mindworker profession.
  • Mindworker - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Diverse superfield of expertise pertaining to working with the psyche of a sentient being. Includes practical psychology, psycho-sociology, memetic engineering, and many other fields and subfields.
  • Mining  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, modified from the original write-up by Robert J. Hall
    The extraction of mineral resources from an asteroid, planetoid, moon, planet or other object in space.
  • Nanodesign - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The design of materials and goods using nanotechnology.
  • Nanoengineer - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    One who designs or programs assemblers or nano-devices, or designs functional structures on the atomic scale. Nanoengineering is based on applications from quantum mechanics, applied thermodynamics, chemistry, MEMS, mesotech, robotics, and swarm theory. Most nanoengineers are cyborgs or vecs who incorporate extensive pragmatic nanoborg augmentations, and generally work in a specific field of application, or as dedicated sophonts for a higher toposophic. Contrast with nanohacker.
  • Nanohacker - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    One who designs or programs assemblers or other nano-devices, usually for the love of it, but sometimes for profit. Nanohackers will often try to outdo each other in creating the most outrageous or innovative replicator or template. They hold regular conferences and exchange information over the Known Net. Nanohackers often incorporate extensive cosmetic or practical nanoborgization augments. They may be sapient, transapient, or even second singularity. They may also scour transcension sites in search of new ideas or artifacts. They look down on the dour professional nanoengineer. Nanohackers are found across the civilized galaxy and beyond, and may be of any clade or phyle.
  • Nuclear Engineering  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The application of mechanical engineering techniques to the design, construction, and operation of nuclear technology.
  • Nuclear Physics - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The study of the physical processes at the scale of the atomic nucleus. Concerns itself with the structure and behavior of the atomic nucleus according quantum mechanics and particle physics; with practical applications in the working of nuclear reactors, radioactive fission, and fusion burning in the interior of stars.
  • Occult Philosopher - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Term sometimes used in the Sophic League and elsewhere to designate one who seeks the unseen causes regulating natural phenomena, the nature of consciousness, and so on.
  • Paymaster - Text by John B
    In the truly diverse society of the Civilized Galaxy, not every sophont will have the same reward criteria. A Paymaster is a being who has studied and deeply comprehends the various reward circuits known or theorized to exist. They are thus capable of rewarding (and, by withholding reward, punishing) most sophonts other than the most cryptopsychotic beings. This is a Mindworker profession.
  • Perfect Philosomorpher - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A mid-toposophic occupation/hobby/lifestyle, incomprehensible and untranslatable to modosophonts. The term "Perfect Philosomorpher", first used by transapient-watcher Jigoram Cyrom in 8167 AT, refers to what superficially appears to be the incorporation of elements of Perfect Art and Philosomorphism. Although this was later found not to be the case, the term stuck, and is now used even by the Proxavs of "Perfect Philosomorphers" themselves.
  • Performance Criminal - Text by John B
    In many of the polities of the Inner Sphere it is exceedingly difficult to commit an act that is considered a crime under local law. Angelnetting and ubiquitous memetic engineering prevent most sophonts from considering violating the local laws. Performance criminals are those either designed or licensed by the local powers to rebel (and thus present a spectacular moral play or otherwise release societal tensions), or those who attempt on their own to inculcate a resistance to the powers' memetic engineering and able for a time to subvert the localnet. The latter are quite rare and usually doomed.
  • Pharmacology - Text by M. Alan Kazlev from the original by Robert J. Hall
    The study of the physiological and pathological effects of drugs, as well as synthesis of new drugs by various means. Also may includes specialized fields such as pharmacracy, nanopharming, herbalism, the biochemistry of drugs, psychotropics, nanotweaked drugs, and natural drugs and drug analogues.
  • Philosomorpher - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A transapient occupation/hobby/lifestyle, poorly understood by subsingularity beings, in which a high level sophont augments eir psychophysical template in order to maximizes the intuitive grokking of reality as a whole, or some specific aspect or application of it.
  • Phylogeny - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The science and art of tracing family trees of ancestry and descent, whether regarding the evolution of species over millions of years, or of terragen clades or genetic houses over thousands of years.
  • Planai - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A planetary ai controller. Also used to denote other high-level governing ai systems such as system-wide logistics entities.
  • Planetologist  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    One who studies a planet, whether a naturalist or as part of a surveying or scientific research team.
  • Prospecto  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A biont, vec, or neumann who makes a living from discovering and developing volatiles, minerals or other resources from planets, moons, comets, and asteroids.
  • Psychodynamician - Text by Keith Halperin
    Helps optimize bionts' thoughts and feelings: preventive psychiatry
  • Psychologist - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, from original by Robert J. Hall
    One who studies and practices psychology, especially for the purpose of aiding other sophont beings. As well as understanding the workings of the mind in general, and assessment of an individual's ability, personality, and expected behavior under specific conditions, psychology is very useful in the treatment of the mentally or emotionally disturbed, in counselling, and in helping to maintain the well-being of a crew on an isolated orbital or deep space ship. Most psychologists tend to be superbright or transapient entities. Many ais show a good aptitude in psychology.
  • Reaction Analyst - Text by John B
    A sophont skilled at generating predictive models based solely on passive observation of another sophont. This specialty often takes some significant amount of time observing the target, and requires access to the majority if not all of the targets' modes of communication. (Similar to Psychohistory, but aimed at a single sophont instead of a culture). Mindworker profession.
  • Recycler - Text by John B
    A sophont with access to large amounts of 'wasted' technologies and a list of others with desires for less-than-cutting edge technologies. Of course, the cast-off technologies may be better than cutting-edge where they end up.
  • Relativist  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Culture/Profession based on relativist courier and trader lifestyle. Relativists are of great importance to worlds not connected to the main wormhole nexus. These are the crew members of interstellar ships, who spend long years travelling in stasis at relativistic speeds. They can easily spend a century on a single mission, although to them it may only seem like a a few months or years. Despite great diversity among themselves, they are united in the sense of temporal discontinuity from the rest of Terragen life.
  • Reproductive Counselors  - Text by John B
    A fairly quiet professional group of sophonts are usually self-titled 'reproduction counselors.' These sophonts are identified as having received training in assisting cross-clade reproduction. This group is widely scattered across the sephirotic empires and many outer rim zones. They are primarily located in areas where multiple clades come into repeated close contact.
  • Reverse Engineer, Transapientech  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A modosophont who studies the technologies of transapients and attempts to replicate or adapt them to the needs of ordinary sophonts.
  • Spore Hunters  - Text by Daniel Eliot Boese
    Professional hunters who target self-replicating technology.
  • Statesbeing - Text by Stephen Inniss
    From the Old Anglic term 'statesman'. A modosophont, or sometimes a distinct sub-personality of a transapient or archailect, who is experienced in the art of government and administration. Sometimes used in the superlative sense of one who shows especially notable skill and wisdom in directing the affairs of a government or dealing with important public issues.
  • Surrealtors  - Text by Michael Walton
    Skilled designers of virtual environments - Practitioners of this interdisciplinary art are part architect, part computer programmer, part artist and part psychotherapist.
  • Symbiotics  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Sentient beings that help maintain a larger structure such as a large hab, ship, or ISO. These may be simple bots or animals, but may also be entire tribes or nations of modosophonts.
  • Synesthetist - Text by Keith Halperin
    Creates cross-sensate and trans-sensate art.
  • Taste Discriminator - Text by Steve Bowers
    Uses subjective assessment to determine whether new foods produced by artificial methods are edible and pleasant. Some newly concocted foods are surprisingly palatable: strawberry pizza, madras ice cream, dragon wings; while others are disgusting; bacon mackerel, saltwater pineapple. Only a baseline or nearbaseline palate is reliable in this respect; posthuman senses are preoccupied with the balance between acetyl-L-carnitine and monosodium glutamate.
  • Tech Wranglers - Text by John B
    Independent traders usually of either su or SI:1 levels who have extensive information on various technologies, either through implants, links, slaved AI, and so on. Tech Wranglers travel the fringes, assisting (for a price) the natives in setting up higher level tech in a configuration useful to them. Note that this is often not the original purpose of the device! One Tech Wrangler had configured a disassembler swarm as a bandsaw equivalent!
  • Technoshamanism  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A natural outgrowth of technoanimism. Technoshamanism is the art of understanding and negotiating with the ubiquitous sentient, sapient/sophont, and pseudosophont or pesudosentient items and beings that are encountered in day to day life by a typical modosophont in the Civilized Galaxy.
  • Teratonics - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The art and science of creating monsters, whether for shock value, life-style choice, scientific research, the entertainment industry, or security and defense purposes.
  • Thanatologist  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, from the original by Robert J. Hall
    One who studies death; an expert in the field of thanatology.
  • Theologian  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, from original entry by Robert J. Hall
    One who studies religion and the nature of deity, whether natural or supernatural.
  • TherapAIst - Text by Teris
    An TherapAIst is a sophont that treats malfunctioning AIs. Originally, TherapAIsts were also AIs, but modosophonts with DNIs can perform the task capably as well. Due to the amount of damage required to overwhelm the self-repair and maintenance algorithms inherent in most AIs, this requires skill and care on the part of the TherapAIst, and sometimes poses a hazard to the TherapAIst from misguided attack by the malfunctioning AI
  • Till Eulenspiegler  - Text by Keith Halperin; amended by Steve Bowers
    Paid trickster, troublemaker- keeps organizations vibrant (a specialized Applied Sociologist).
  • Virology   - Text by M. Alan Kazlev in part from the original by Robert J. Hall

  • War-lawyer  - Text by John B and Anders Sandberg
    Sophont whose primary mode of effort is to use legal, moral, memetic, and/or sociological engineering against a target group to attempt a specific goal.
  • Weak Eigenspace Hunters  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Profession in complexity management.
  • Xenobiologist  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    One who studies non-terragen lifeforms.
  • Xenologist  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, based on the original by Robert J. Hall
    One who studies non-terragen life-forms, especially sophont non-terragens.
Related Topics
Development Notes
Text by Stephen Inniss

Initially published on 28 May 2005.

Additional Information
Fiction featuring Occupations, Avocations, and Work

Flotsam and Jetsam

A Day in the Life of a Bureaucrat

OA Glossary of Terms