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Role of the megacorps in the late timeline - The Astronomer - 06-26-2020

While looking through the timeline, I came across the description of the Age of Crisis, which has a mention of an event known as the Uservere Affair. Apparently Usevere was a major megacorp in the Mutual Progress Alliance which, when collapsed, created a crisis in the hypereconomy of the Sephirotic Empires.

This had me wondering about the role of megacorps beyond the rise of the archailects. What are they like? What do they do? Can they become important? What are their effects on the setting?

Also, what should we do about this and other similar incidents?

Opinions?


RE: Role of the megacorps in the late timeline - stevebowers - 06-26-2020

A lot of the early megacorps were run by S:1 transapients, or took advice from them. Perhaps the megacorps in the later timeline are the province of S:1 Transaps, either as a way of interacting with modosophonts or as a way of controlling them.

I think that the Great Houses are another example - not all are controlled by low transaps, but the most successful ones are, and they are relatively insignificant compared to the archailect-controlled empires. Sometimes a Great House will transcend into a fully-fledged archailect empire- like Metasoft has. Cygexpa seems to have been a colonisation-driven Megacorp that transcended into an empire, probably when the controlling transapient became an Archai.


RE: Role of the megacorps in the late timeline - Dfleymmes1134 - 06-27-2020

Megacorps
https://www.orionsarm.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=3309&highlight=megacorp
Great Houses Thread
https://www.orionsarm.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=2531&highlight=megacorp

these old threads might help you?


RE: Role of the megacorps in the late timeline - Drashner1 - 06-27-2020

This is more my 'personal proposed headcanon' at this point, but it's been generally well received when I've suggested it in the past. At some point, I'd like to make the necessary article tweaks to fold it into the setting, although given my limited time if someone would like to take this on or collaborate on it sooner I've no objection.

To wit:

While the Megacorps originally started out as more conventional economic entities (although huge ones) in the early timeline, their role as economic entities transformed (and later faded) over time. This was due to a combination of the rise of the autotopias/post-scarcity economics and the rise of the archai and their memetics and noetics and such. Beginning in the Federation era, they evolved into an alternative (new at the time) to the failing ontology of the First Fed and the resulting search by civilization for new ways to manage the hypercomplex civilization that OA depicts.

During the Federation period, many/most megacorps were taken over by S1 and S2 transapients, initially the manage their great complexity. As the Federation began to fail under the weight of trying to manage an interstellar civilization in a light-speed limited universe (as well as the increasing number of S-levels and the ever growing numbers of new sophont beings and modes of existence), some S1/S2 invented alternative ontologies or mind-sets based on what we might term 'corporate culture'. These were designed to help operate the megacorp over interstellar distance while maintaining a coherent focus as a social/economic entity.

Eventually the megacorps and their 'corporate religions' and 'company ontologies' were directly competing for 'hearts and minds' against the Federation and for a time they seemed to win. Until the S3 or maybe S4 came along and introduced the Second Federation Ontology and the Sec Fed itself. This didn't supplant the megacorps per se, but did drive them back quite a lot.

The Sec Fed also began running into limits however, and people again started searching around for alternatives (or maybe they didn't care for the Sec Fed and wanted alternatives, multiple options/possibilities here, many of which could all happen at once). This time some transapients (maybe S3 and/ S4 this time, or maybe still S1 and S2?) looked further back in time and took their inspiration for alternatives from ancient Old Earth and ideas around feudalism/clans/etc. and created the Great Houses. These arose and seemed on the way to dominating for a time - or at least providing alternative memetics/ontologies - until the S5 and above came along and introduced the Sephirotic imperial memetics, supplanting the old ontologies (implying the memetics are in some way beyond these) and relegating both the megacorpos and Great Houses to secondary or tertiary importance. They still exist and billions or even trillions may follow them - but they are small potatoes compared to even the least Sephirotic empire.

Or something like that. I fully admit this is still rough and probably needs tweaking to fit various setting elements. It would also involve updating the megacorp and great house articles in various ways. But I rather like it and think of it as a way of presenting how society might still strive for a better mode of existence when the issues of basic material want have been totally solved via the creation of autotopias and such.

In this model, the megacorps would also evolve such that while they still have some form of quasi-corporation/economic elements they would not be concerned with the same things that RL corporations are (although they might characterize what they are concerned with using similar language). Great Houses might do something similar coming from a different direction based in the sort of neo-feudal mindset they work in, perhaps.

Anyway, it's an idea or three.

Thoughts?

Todd


RE: Role of the megacorps in the late timeline - Drashner1 - 06-28-2020

Read through the Usevere Affair article this AM since regardless of what we decide to do with megacorps as a concept, it needs some love.

I suspect btw that this article actually dates from 2001, not 2010. The date is probably a typo from when we moved from the previous OA website to the current Content Management System/site. Anyway.

Some thoughts and notions - please note that I'm coming at this with the aim of making the article fit within our current take on the setting while avoiding rewriting the thing in it's entirety:

a) Move the whole Affair into virch. More specifically, have it take place inside the processing environment of a Matrioshka Hypernode (Omega Class). This gets rid of issues such as how an S4 mind could 'move back' to the NoCoZo (in the early project, we hadn't yet established that S4 and above don't really travel due to their size). If the whole thing is taking place in virtual space running on a stellar mass processor, running a purely software S4 is quite doable and 'moving' from one empire to another is as easy as changing ones email or the like.

b) Have said virtual space/hypernode be (or be part of) an Asymptote System. These date back to the earliest days of the project, but we've never really done much with them (although we should IMHO). Making this change would start to give the AS concept some love and would explain why a hypernode would have both NoCoZo and MPA virches/civs running inside it. Basically AS systems could be places where many species and civs converge (we could add this tweak to the current AS article with ease) and interact for the sake of cultural exchange or Cooperative Ventures and so on.

c) Make the Affair - and the larger 'hypereconomy' that is referenced - basically an economic virch simulation (it's been mentioned on the Discord that the NoCoZo is sort of a LARP exercise in libertarian economics and this could be in a similar - but different - vein). This lets all the economic technobabble remain basically unchanged and gets around the issue of how this sort of thing could happen in the 'real world' of the setting as we currently imagine it. The short answer is that it didn't - it's some kind of simulation being done for vaguely described/understood reasons by the archai and the participants are just going taking part in it because they want to (so economics as LARP basically).

d) Finally - and this is more my sense of whimsy coming out than a strongly serious suggestion (but if people like it, we could include it) - at the end of the revised article, we add a 'footnote' to the effect that there is a rumor/urban legend/conspiracy theory that the entire hypereconomic simulation in which the Affair took place was basically an S5 version of the ancient Atomic Age game known as Money Polo. Although since the details of the game have been lost to history, no one really knows if this is true and serious scholars don't believe a word of it. Wink

Thoughts?

Todd


RE: Role of the megacorps in the late timeline - The Astronomer - 07-04-2020

(06-27-2020, 02:51 AM)Drashner1 Wrote: This is more my 'personal proposed headcanon' at this point, but it's been generally well received when I've suggested it in the past. At some point, I'd like to make the necessary article tweaks to fold it into the setting, although given my limited time if someone would like to take this on or collaborate on it sooner I've no objection.

Personally I imagine Houses are megacorps that adopted traits of the state and stopped being much of an economic entity.


RE: Role of the megacorps in the late timeline - Drashner1 - 07-04-2020

(07-04-2020, 05:45 PM)The Astronomer Wrote:
(06-27-2020, 02:51 AM)Drashner1 Wrote: This is more my 'personal proposed headcanon' at this point, but it's been generally well received when I've suggested it in the past. At some point, I'd like to make the necessary article tweaks to fold it into the setting, although given my limited time if someone would like to take this on or collaborate on it sooner I've no objection.

Personally I imagine Houses are megacorps that adopted traits of the state and stopped being much of an economic entity.

That could be another option for updating their description/role in the setting.

Or they could evolve out of the megacorps to something like what you're describing (which also feels sort of 'feudalism adjacent' in terms of how a society might organize itself), and possibly include transapient rule/oversight as part of that.

Another thought - Either the megacorps or great houses, or both might have become vehicles for modos attempting to augment and organize themselves in ways that would let them better hold their own against transapients and transapient run societies. Details of how this would work are TBD, but in a general sense this might fall under the same umbrella as Unity/Unityware and its development of group minds - modos trying to operate on or near the level of transaps without actually becoming transaps.

Something like this could create a very...interesting...period during the early-middle part of the timeline during which various superhumanly intelligent entities and groups all interacted with each other in various ways (competition, cooperation, etc.). Eventually the sephirotic archai come along and dominate things - but maybe we push that back a few hundred or thousand years and have a long interregnum period.

Basically look at moving away from our current take which seems (to me anyway) to run something like 'during the Federation the transapients pretty much took over all mainstream governance and it's been that way ever since with the only real change being the S-level of the ruling transapients'.

Not entirely sure that what I'm describing is wholly accurate (early timeline is not my focus) or what exactly it would look like. But might be worth thinking about/discussing.

Thoughts?

Todd


RE: Role of the megacorps in the late timeline - The Astronomer - 07-05-2020

(07-04-2020, 10:55 PM)Drashner1 Wrote:
(07-04-2020, 05:45 PM)The Astronomer Wrote: Personally I imagine Houses are megacorps that adopted traits of the state and stopped being much of an economic entity.

That could be another option for updating their description/role in the setting.

Or they could evolve out of the megacorps to something like what you're describing (which also feels sort of 'feudalism adjacent' in terms of how a society might organize itself), and possibly include transapient rule/oversight as part of that.

Another thought - Either the megacorps or great houses, or both might have become vehicles for modos attempting to augment and organize themselves in ways that would let them better hold their own against transapients and transapient run societies. Details of how this would work are TBD, but in a general sense this might fall under the same umbrella as Unity/Unityware and its development of group minds - modos trying to operate on or near the level of transaps without actually becoming transaps.

Something like this could create a very...interesting...period during the early-middle part of the timeline during which various superhumanly intelligent entities and groups all interacted with each other in various ways (competition, cooperation, etc.). Eventually the sephirotic archai come along and dominate things - but maybe we push that back a few hundred or thousand years and have a long interregnum period.

Basically look at moving away from our current take which seems (to me anyway) to run something like 'during the Federation the transapients pretty much took over all mainstream governance and it's been that way ever since with the only real change being the S-level of the ruling transapients'.

Not entirely sure that what I'm describing is wholly accurate (early timeline is not my focus) or what exactly it would look like. But might be worth thinking about/discussing.

Thoughts?

Todd

I like this idea. It certainly makes it more interesting and dynamic. Though, I wonder how to fit those megacorps described as being run by transapients, like, say, Hyperion, into this.

I wonder if the transaps would even bother with a megacorp outside the roleplaygrounds.


RE: Role of the megacorps in the late timeline - Drashner1 - 07-05-2020

(07-05-2020, 01:09 AM)The Astronomer Wrote: I like this idea. It certainly makes it more interesting and dynamic. Though, I wonder how to fit those megacorps described as being run by transapients, like, say, Hyperion, into this.

I wonder if the transaps would even bother with a megacorp outside the roleplaygrounds.

We might or might not have to tweak dates to do this but - we could potentially say that the early megacorps were sometimes/often (depending definitions) run by transapients in secret. During the early Fed the S1 came out of the closet anyway and the number of megacorps run by them openly went up. Somewhere along the line several different things could happen (dates and actual order of events TBD at this point):

a) Modos start experimenting with different types of augmented mental architectures in an attempt to either become S1 or invent other types of mind/society that can deal with the S1 (and possibly later S2) on more equal terms. Exact motivations (competition, curiosity, seeing augmented/post-singularity existence as the next stage in evolution or as a path to transcendence, whatever) could vary from group to group as well as the results, level of success/failure.

b) The megacorps themselves could start to evolve (said evolution possibly directed by the transap in charge) into something other than a strictly commercial entity as we are used to when considering RL corporations. Exactly what that might look like is open for discussion and it's entirely possible that different 'megacorps' developed into different types of organizations even if they were all under the 'megacorp' term. This might be done early on to help create a form of social structure that could maintain itself over interstellar distances/travel times (a corporate culture) and then eventually evolve into an attempt to compete with/replace the Federation Ontology when that began to run into its limits on maintaining a 'cohesive' interstellar civ. These/some of these might operate very different from a RL life corporation/business although they might employ titles, terms, and social structures derived from business and 'corporate culture'.

c) Thinking again in terms of diversity - maybe the organizations that didn't maintain corporate like social structures moved to other things and ended up becoming the Great Houses - which might or might not use some semi-singular 'great house like' social organization or might use a variety of different ones with the 'Great House' terminology simply being an umbrella term for 'any group that explicitly does not use megacorp memetic/social/cultural structures to organize itself'. Which could result in a lot of diversity under this term as well.

The end result is a variety of different societies all interacting with each other (and in the process perhaps contributing to the fall of the Federation if we decide this contributed to pushing it to and beyond its limits that much faster). An added complication or factor is the ongoing appearance of higher S-levels over time, since S2 and S3 minds both appeared during the First Federation period. Not sure about S4 or higher off the top of my head - and we might want to think about pushing some of those dates back to spread the appearance of new S-levels out more, assuming that the possible ripple effects don't become prohibitive. Main point being that I think we should move away from all the major setting developments happening during the First Federation on general principles and this might be an opportunity to do a bit of that if necessary.

My 2c worth,

Todd


RE: Role of the megacorps in the late timeline - Madine - 07-19-2020

I like the ideas discussed above. Given existing articles on postscarcity economic concerns, megacorps existing as an evolution or "mission creep" of RL for-profit businesses into something else, rather than a direct continuation of corporate capitalism in space makes sense.

One suggestion I might add is that minor polities, particularly those originally written in the early phase of the project with somewhat ambiguous or outdated mentions of transapients, might be good places to experiment with writing megacorp/Great House/groupmind S1 equivalent societies.