Technology is a series of inventions and adaptations that allow a sophont species to achieve mastery over themselves and their environment. Or, put another one way, technology is a developmental state when a sophont species uses tools to make other tools.
- For descriptions of technological levels, please refer to Technology Level.
- For information about specific technologies in Traveller, please refer to Tech Level Comparison Chart.
- 1 Description (Specifications)
- 2 History & Background (Dossier)
- 3 References & Contributors (Sources)
Some think of technology as only devices and gadgets created with advanced science, but it is much more than that. Technology is also a wide variety of non-biological adaptations to achieve mastery over a self-species in many forms: more efficient polities, more effective social organization, advanced language, insightful philosophies, and many other non-device oriented advancements.
|Endotechnologies||These are ideas (Memetic Thought AKA Extilligence AKA Culture). They are intangible in nature, but potentially far reaching in effect. They underlay many of the physical sciences, and are often called the social sciences. The scientific method is an endotechnology. So are languages, culture, art, science, and governance.|
|Exotechnologies||They are tangible, physical items. They are items typically created with engineering. In other words, what most sophonts imagine when they think of technology: tools, artifacts, gadgets, devices, computers, etc.|
Imperial Interstellar Trade & Indigenous Societies
Increasingly, Imperial society is realizing that unrestricted interstellar trade can often destabilize indigenous communities of NIL's and is increasingly restricting trade with these worlds to appropriate technologies determined by the IISS. The scout service uses the Travel Zone designation system to help protect indigenous societies from destabilizing outside influences. The system is also intended to protect travellers from dangerous and violent societies.
Some Terrans like to refer to this holistic idea of cultural relativism and principle of noninterference as a hypothetical prime directive, but that simply sounds ridiculous to Vilani intelligentsia. After all, every Vilani knows that idealism only goes so far, and cold hard realism and pragmatics are the foundation of the Vilani Theory of Science. Some Terrans have even proposed of a world without currency and sound economics. They clearly live in the world of niikiik-luur.
No information yet available.
- Sophontium & Technium
The first proto-sophonts are distinguished by their increasing use of technologies such as fire, advanced language, abstract concepts, and advancements in social organization. These many technologies give early sophonts a marked advantage over non-sophonts and allow such species to survive, proliferate, and achieve prosperity allowing more time to be dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge.
The societies of most sophont species eventually discover that advanced technologies bring about a mix of cultural effects, both advantageous and disadvantageous. Technology affects culture and when culture is greatly changed by technology, a paradigmatic change may occur, often causing anarchy, revolution, and great unrest. An interstellar movement called the Appropriate Technology Movement is deeply concerned with finding a balance between society and technology, a pace of technological research and progress that doesn't constantly destabilize the interstellar system.
Major Race Change Adaptation
Some sophont species deal with change much more easily than others.
- The Hivers, for instance, have formed a society practically based on perpetual change. Hiver society is seemingly endlessly patient and adaptable. Few technologies have any chance of disrupting Hiver cultural mores and societal order. Hivers coopt and adopt change so quickly that it disrupts them not at all.
- The Vargr, in another case, have practically made a fetish of paradigmatic change within the Vargr Extents. Their culture, society, and civilization are a whirlpool of anarchy, constant change, revolution, unrestrained chaos, a veritable recursive state of flux. The only truly stable element in Vargr society is change itself. The strength of the mindset is that Vargr society is an ever developing laboratory of experiment and progress. As opposed to the unflappable Hivers, technology constantly disrupts Vargr society, but they wouldn't have it any other way. Like any other social mechanism, it too has pros and cons.
- Almost all of the other Major Races fall on a spectrum of adaptability to change in-between these two sophont species.
Detextualized Paradigmatic Problem
A Detextualized Paradigmatic Problem is a quandary that occurs when a less advanced sophont species must confront the more advanced technologies of another sophont species.
- Also called a DP Squared problem or a DP-2 error.
- Example: Recognizing Ancients artifacts as technological devices. They often look like nothing technological that TL-15 science might produce.
- 1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
- 2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
- 3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Note-1: In particular, many contemporary scientists observe Clarke's Postulate #3, especially in light of artifacts left by the Ancients. Very advanced technologies may be indistinguishable from common, everyday objects and yet possess a cornucopia of advanced microtechnology, even nanotechnology, inside. It takes a very open mind to deal with such seeming impossibilities.
Note-2: Many other scientists and thinkers have extended this list of ideas.
Technology is clearly a foundation of sophonce. To exceed the limitations of original biology, a sophont species must develop technology. But what about life after technology? How about life before life, so called A-life? Was the first life artificial or simply exotic? Is it hubris to create artificial life? Was it life as we know it? What does one call that? Do sophonts exist who have transcended technology? Would we even recognize them if they did exist? What is the Post-Technological Period?
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- Periodical: Challenge 61 in Article: "Wood and Wind, Steel and Steam" by: Charles E. Gannon
- T5 Core Rules
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- Author & Contributor: Lord (Marquis) and Master of Sophontology Maksim-Smelchak of the Ministry of Science