Primitive Tech / Primtech

Image from Steve Bowers

Primtech covers a huge range, from technologies equivalent to Old Earth's oldest Palaeolithic, with its simple digging sticks and baskets and simple stone tools through to wheels, weaving, metallurgy, and even basic externally powered machines like windmills or hand-cranked drills. Though technologies place limits on the diversity within any one of them, the diversity between different primtech societies within even a small area can be astoundingly great because rapid communication and travel allow them to evolve in relative isolation.

At the upper end of the scale, primtech includes hand tools of bone, stone, wood or simple metal alloys, materials woven from naturally available sources, basic ceramics, manually operated looms, sails, wind or water mills, hand-powered missile weapons such as arrows, basic masonry and carpentry, landscape modification in the form of roads, fields, dikes, and canals, and extensive use of artificially selected varieties of plants and animals.

Naturally evolved sophonts such as humans may advance through the stages of primtech over a span of hundreds of thousands of years or longer. Many provolve, rianth, and splice clades and cultures deliberately take on a prim culture technology and lifestyle, usually as a temporary phase early in their history but in a few cases permanently. More rarely, neumann-capable vecs who are able to access a fully developed botworld have been known to choose some equivalent of the prim lifestyle. Genuine prim artifacts or nanofactured replicas of the originals can usually be found in many regions throughout the civilized galaxy and are often surprisingly popular.

Primtech is popular as a component in higher tech societies, especially in the form of handcrafted items of various kinds. Exclusively primtech societies are found on various reserves such as the famous Metasoft Baseline Reserves, or under the umbrella of one of the Caretaker Gods, or as a part of the Utopia Sphere.

  • Compatibility Doctrine, The  - Text by The Humbler
    Technological doctrine that makes backwards compatibility a priority.
  • Lo Tek  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Sophonts who choose a lower technology level but retain awareness of and the ability to use higher technologies.
  • Paleolithic - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The old stone age. Among Old Earth hominids the stage of development of the most primitive stone tools. Also applied to analogous stages among xenosophont tool users.
  • Prims, Primitives  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Widely used slang term for humans or other sophonts who reject all but the most primitive technology.
  • Retroism  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Retrotechnological movement during the Expansion Era, a counter-dependent reaction to Keterism.
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Development Notes
Text by Stephen Inniss
based on original text by M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 29 August 2008.

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