Friday, January 16, 2015

16. Hypothetical Handbooks

The hypothetical handbooks are an open source project based out of Locus. Contributors to the project display a distinct post-Fall preparedness mindset, seeking to equip transhumanity with the knowledge to solve tomorrow's problems. The handbooks have ranged from the practical (HH-103 Combat vs. Known TITAN Warmachines) to the unlikely (HH-402 Diplomacy with Extant Iktomi) to the simply unusual (HH-224 Principles of Martial Arts Utilizing Arbitrary Numbers of Limbs.)

The hypothetical handbooks by design seek to advise on problems that do not yet exist, so forming that advice reliably is a difficult problem. Sometimes appropriate instruction can be created from first principles, informed by simulation. Other, more sophisticated methods have been developed, such as using genetic algorithms to evolve AIs to tackle sets of relevant semi-random scenarios. Once their success rate is deemed acceptable, the AIs evolved programming is analyzed and translated into rules and guidelines.

The handbooks have been of interest to Firewall ever since the project was begun. They have fed into a long simmering debate within Firewall about the extent to which operational security can or has been against the long-term interests of transhumanity. Several crows are regular contributors.

Plot Hook: A recently released handbook (HH-646 How to Outwit a Gestalt Mind) has too much in common with a recent Firewall operation. The players are asked to investigate the possible leak, and must decide whether to maintain Firewall secrets, or allow leaks to continue in the hopes of forewarning transhumanity.

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