In Eclipse Phase, we know that AGIs & AIs can exist, but how about new Bio-Egos (for lack of a better comparison term).

In this question: How does Procreation work in Eclipse Phase? , some people posited that basic procreation (at least physically) is one way to create new Egos (apparently odies are easy).

But producing the Mind the Ego, is not really covered. I know there are AGIs (and the book seems to indicate that some AGIs may actually BE bio-morph Egos that've been edited/modified to be AGIs or Even limited AIs..

Someone once posited (I think on a youtube video) that Ego were created and then artificially grown (without actually mentioning that book pretty much says Ego-speed growing results in the Lost Generation and NO ONE does it because its BAD) But is it possible to do safely?

Is it even plausible to do in EP, that you could create a Biomorph-Ego and have it learn while the body is slowly growing in a medvat? (I think the speed issue is what created the Lost Generation not necessary the act of growing the bodies, and egos-- but trying to speed the process up to unreasonable levels.

Anyone know?

Actually here's the companion question: How are Biomorph (or AGI) Egos taught? As I was combing through the book (I have all of them) it occured to me: we don't know what kind of 'schooling there is'?

Is everyone just plugged into Mesh at a young age and schooling is done through the Mesh (complete 'modules' and move on?) or do you think people actual get into classrooms in simuspace (most likely), to accomplish-suchh?

Ok so I threw out a lot of questions. Feel free to tackle them in whole or in part?

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ as you say, you threw out a few questions in one- in general these are discouraged, as much for the fact that it obscures the point of reference of the individual questions for posterity as much as the fact that it's hard to make a comprehensive answer to such a broad question. I'd suggest editing it down to the question that is most important to you, and perhaps ask the others in another question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Oct 9, 2013 at 17:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Agreed with @wraith808, please separate your questions. Someone may have a great answer for one but not for the others, which would garner conflicting votes. By separating them, you can ensure each facet gets addressed on it's own merit. \$\endgroup\$
    – LitheOhm
    Oct 9, 2013 at 21:35

1 Answer 1


The Futura are a false example.

One thing to consider is that the Futura, the Lost Generation, all had exposure to Watts-MacLeod, which tends to will drive people crazy. We don't actually know if it's the accelerated growth, the W-ML, or both causing some issues in them, but it's entirely possible that a similar project could have succeeded in an environment in which TITAN stuff wasn't present.

Education in Eclipse Phase is speculative.

While Eclipse Phase really goes into technology and socioeconomics, we don't see every last thing. I'd imagine, both as a future educator and having grown up recently enough to have seen online schools in the elementary and secondary settings, that we would see a large degree of "hook into the mesh and you're learning" style stuff going on. I do know that it mentions somewhere the starting age for mesh inserts, but I don't remember what it is. Even if it weren't, children could use any of the plethora of external mesh-enabled devices to learn.

Analogies to reality.

When you provide examples, what pops into my mind are "Yes, yes, and yes.", with a caveat on the tank-people one.

For vat-grown accelerated people, let's not forget that the Futura project was done over a period of several years; not like a month or anything. In addition, we're looking at augmented people, not baseline humans, so arguments about "oh, well myelination locks in at 4" don't really apply because presumably Futura morphs are customized for such purposes. Does it necessarily have to fail? No. Can it be done without genetic modification or intensive medical processes? Probably not, since a lot of brain chemistry changes during development based more or less on age, even though the milestones we want to see are based on stimulus interactions (especially in early childhood, when such things are pretty likely to determine late-life IQ). Another milestone that would need to be accomplished with vat-growing people is that you do need to be sure that you can provide socialization and stimulation, which isn't impossible in theory but if you mess up... well, ethical quandary time and then you've got the Lost Generation.

As far as online modules, we've seen that for a long time. I've taken several college courses that way. It's already here and we'll see it for a long time yet, with the not full virtual reality experience but the multimedia-augmented learning based on text lectures versus physically delivered lectures. Pedagogically, there are some issues with this, but the ability of an instructor to gather the levels of data that some of the places in Eclipse Phase allow mean that I could, for instance, spy on my students remotely to make sure they're not learning valuable cooperative skills during my individual tests, just as I'd monitor them in the classroom. This would likely not be an entirely solitary pursuit; at least in younger childhood we'd want to provide a social experience as well either through real space or through virtual reality with other students (and potentially AGI or a muse, but we'd want multiple friends). In addition, we'd want to be sure to have some places to verify the psychological and emotional health of the students; teachers and educators in the modern system are often the first to notice a child's mental illnesses, because parents only see them for a few brief hours in a day. In Eclipse Phase, we don't necessarily see parents being more involved, so switching to an entirely online class has additional constraints on it.

Simulspace, on the other hand, sort of provides everything at once. The only real concern about it is whether or not you'd be able to form some of the more meaningful social interactions and whether or not you'd be better off just finding a physical classroom for students even if a teacher has to operate by telepresence. Heck, you could probably replace the teacher with an advanced enough AI or AGI, though doing so could lead to issues (again, part of the thing teachers are used for is making sure that students are psychologically healthy) especially in some of the jurisdictions in which AGI or AI are more tightly controlled; the mention of the word TITAN would get a lot of parents to withdraw children from those classes. However, simulspace involves a notable disconnect from the physical world, and may hinder some of the important learning skills (for instance, moving is done by will and doesn't depend on coarse motor skills like zero-g movement or traditional one-g movement). As far as creating a knowledge education, however, it works fine, and it gives a better classroom environment than does the strictly module-based learning.

And, of course, the traditional classroom could and probably does continue to exist. Certainly in the Jovian Republic you'd see a lot of this, but also in other places as well, particularly elite and prestigious places where they have big-name teachers. A lot of these methods can be used in addition to the traditional class to augment it, though, so don't expect education in Eclipse Phase to look too much like turn-of-the-century education.

Cognitive Development Is Fun (No, It Isn't)

The main issue with the whole advanced growth thing is primarily physical. Brains are brains, and even though getting a lot of stimulus early can help with IQ and learning later on, if you don't have accelerated brain development you won't have an early "ego" development. Simply plugging a body into a computer and simulating four years for each real one does not produce a four year old with the capacities of a sixteen year old. Now, it may produce one of the smartest four year olds around, or it may produce an undesirable effect, simply because we don't know what such high degrees of stimulation do on brain development. Undeveloped brains may not benefit from time acceleration. You might be better off in normal simulspace without time acceleration with an AI/AGI delivering best-practices parenting and teaching skills. Switching morphs likely shocks a consciousness, meaning that if you were to sleeve before the age of 10-25 into a nonequivalent morph, depending on who you ask and how you develop you could likely have some major issues.

As far as doing this, it's important to remember that a lot of how our consciousnesses/egos develop, at least if you ask Piaget, come from a variety of skills. We learn certain socialization, certain psychological constructs, and certain analytical skills from our environment, and for the most part if we want to create a person analogous to any other person we need to give them the exact same thing. Another pitfall here is that people can fake normalcy; if you've ever read on the subject of children (or adults) with severe psychological disorders, they'll look normal until suddenly you discover someone fed the dog a handful of needles (this is a real second-hand example). Humans have a great ability to fit-in, which a lot of AGI and Uplift consciousnesses show but also lack in certain ways. Whether this is as our upbringing, or a part of our biology, is somewhat dubious.

Other Pitfalls

As far as creating a biomorph ego goes; a lot of the AGI egos are essentially biomorph egos in simulation, running about as human as an informorph would (Transhuman goes over this in detail). Now, they'll have to get acquainted to a biological morph, but there's no reason why they couldn't pass as humans. The problem is that they're based on adult human neurology. Accelerated development may not create something that passes as an adult human psychological construct. In addition, you'll have to have some physical changes to the morph (offsetting into VR is probably not acceptable), which means if you mess up and two years down the road everyone develops brain hemorrhaging, then you've gotten yourself into some big troubles, whereas in an adult morph you'd just recall it and fix it.

In addition, consider the ethics. Few habitats will allow such things, especially out of a reaction to the Futura, but most Jovians would be against it on principle. It'd be at best a bitterly won battle, and probably just a secret project financed by someone, which also means that you don't have access to some of the best minds and experts because you don't want them spilling the beans and people will notice if they go missing (though, if they egocast, you can get around this through ethically shady methods). If you mess up, you've got a bunch of broken minds that you shoulder the responsibility for, and while a lot of people in Eclipse Phase (and, frighteningly, perhaps in the modern scientific community) would have little issue with terminating or dumping subjects, I'd personally feel a need to take responsibility for that, which means that I'd likely just say no to the project in the first place on account of the risks.

Finally, you have to consider culture. Almost everyone can claim a certain culture as their own, even if it's simply "American Anglo culture", and they're shaped by large-scale events that may not personally effect them (Clinton's impeachment, 9/11, the War on Terror, Manning and Snowden) and if you raise people in accelerated time they will have fewer of these events to grasp on. This doesn't necessarily result in a failure, but it means that you'll have accelerated people who don't really have an identity unless it's been given to them.

Variability in habitats.

As far as how weird things get, there's going to be things in every extreme. Eclipse Phase doesn't go into gritty detail on certain things, but we can know a few bits and pieces of child rearing.

In the Jovians and on Luna and Mars we'll almost certainly see the most traditional childcare and a dearth of accelerated growth. They're more reactionary and the whole Futura mess has caused them no small degree of angst, and the bioconservative Jovians wouldn't be willing to do most of the stuff related to accelerated growth. They may try hyperstimulation through VR but it likely wouldn't produce adults any earlier, though it would likely produce either geniuses or incredibly confused reality-detached adults depending on how extreme the amount of stimulation is. Much of this is an either/or tradeoff between social and motor skills and pure intellectualism, though not always depending on the exact methods used; there is probably a limit on most mainline human brains in terms of beneficial response to stimuli, though traditional methods don't reach this and it's usually personal social interaction that produces best results (telling a kid a story makes them smarter than showing them one on TV, because of the social aspect).

In most of the solar system, the general things I've written will likely be true, especially with regards to alternate teaching and classroom environments, though there will likely be attempts in splicers to speed up developmental milestone achievement (15 year old children may reach similar capacities as a mainline 18 year old "adult" does in modern reckoning). Of course, the important thing to remember is that for every developmental milestone we measure there are likely several dozen we don't because we don't culturally value them or because they're more internalized than Piaget's observable ones; long-term thinking can be a pain to measure, especially since the easiest experiments just deal with short versus shorter term planning (i.e. the marshmallow test where a kid's given one marshmallow and told not to eat it in order to get three in a couple minutes).

Finally, in the most extreme habitats, especially way out in the outer reaches of the solar system and on exoplanets, you'll likely see a lot of attempts at stuff like this but nothing major. Likewise, expect to see stuff that seems like it's ripped from the pages of Brave New World or other dystopian works, but you'll see a less overarching goal of creating a strictly mechanical society and more of a "we're short on people, we need more people" attitude. In some of the more misanthropic societies, these may be people essentially created for exploitation and specific social roles, but we'd typically see pods and AGI filling those requirements in all but eccentric outliers. Remember that Eclipse Phase is theoretically a horror game, so anything goes in the most depraved outliers. Genetic experiments are the new Deep Ones.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is an excellent response, but you sort of dance around the point that it's probably a little different in every habitat, depending on the local culture and memes. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Oct 10, 2013 at 3:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ True. I really wanted to focus more on the extreme differences than the similarities, though. Of course, a pretty large chunk of my answer touches on pedagogy, which is likely to be universal, but again, if there's no genetic manipulation or highly intrusive medical care, you won't see accelerated development, which means it'll be old-school. Brave New World styled things not really seeming to be popular in any but maybe a handful of places as an experiment, we see mostly traditional child rearing. I'll go through and touch it up. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 10, 2013 at 4:35

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