53

There are some great technical and political reasons laid out in existing answers, but there's also a very human answer which has been overlooked: They're creepy. It's the uncanny valley writ large - they're very human-like, but they're not really human. Not like us. That makes most people very uncomfortable, even afraid. And they're substantially more ...


39

It just takes one disaster. Early on when the Caspar technology was still new and people hadn't figured out the quirks yet, a Caspar unit was put into a new ship without the proper therapy and retraining. They went crazy, crashed their ship into a population center and killed thousands of innocent people. Panic ensued. People learned that the Caspars can ...


28

First of all, you must resolve the technology dichotomy A technology dichotomy is when the fundamentals required for a particular technology do not exist, but the technology exists nonetheless. You have one. A high tech society that doesn't have the order and predictable lawfullness needed to permit the millions of scientists, technicians, and engineers ...


26

Replacing them is (literally) a pain. In real life, you could classify most prosthetics into two types - ones that go inside you (pacemaker, VP shunt), and ones you wear like clothing (hand, foot). In a cyberpunk setting you often also have fictional ones that are partly inside the body, partly outside, and firmly attached to the skin somehow (ouch?) and ...


25

Caspar Units are independent in the truest meaning of the word. Their ship bodies need absolutely nothing that they cannot provide on their own. When they need repairs, their nanites create and install replacement parts out of asteroids and interstellar dust. When they need energy, they can harvest plasma from the upper layers of the nearest star. ...and ...


16

The superpowers might regard the Caspar Unit clones as being legal persons in their own right, and thus there is no legal way to restore a Caspar Unit as it would require the mental death of another Caspar Unit (which would be equated with murder). As this is something that is built into the concept of Caspar Units, it is easier to outlaw the entire concept ...


14

Take Earth in the late 19th century. Industrializing democracies and de-facto constitutional monarchies like the UK and US east coast. Industrialists, bankers, engineers. Frontier sectors where "the cavalry" hunts down natives like the US West or southern Africa. Cowboys, settlers, bandits and sheriffs. A great bureaucatized monarchy in China. A different ...


13

Child Care In our current world we have a rising rate of single mothers. They require things like daycare, school, and after school organizations to keep their child in relatively safe locations and under super vision while the mother is at work. With most people entering the work force by the end of 6th grade your society would have a higher birth rate ...


11

Whenever I see "labour-saving technology outlawed" I think "Trade Unions". Clearly the Space Farers Union is strong and can lobby even big governments into forbidding this great technology. Of course, that is not the official story. Some politicians see Caspars as humans and talk about how this is a terrible thing to do to them. "We have to protect ...


8

I have taught, I was a professor. As a graduate student my job (I was paid by the university I was attending) was one of eight "tutors", we provided walk-in help to undergraduates with their homework and projects, dealing with everything from the basics to the most advanced. Before tests we were swamped with students, and these are students of just five ...


7

The schools are sponsored by the Government of the day, and attendance is mandatory. Why, when kids could learn at home? Two reasons These days a kid could learn at home from free on line resources such as Wikipedia and Google Books, and there are are Stack Exchange sites for expert advice and opinion. However without a structured approach to material a ...


7

Inevitable answer: "it depends". A human uses about a hundred watts of power at rest, and maybe double that for extended periods if they're fairly fit. A world-class cyclist might manage as much as a kilowatt (possibly aided by pharmaceuticals). The power-to-weight ratio of current fuel cells is quite variable, but by the time you've got actual androids to ...


6

It can be done. I can think of a few examples off the top of my head Diamond Age by Neil Stephenson -- The "phyles" in this world are almost a perfect match for what you describe. Times Eye by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter -- In this story, the Earth is cut up like a jigsaw, and put together from pieces from different eras. If they can make Genghis ...


6

One way this could develop from current events is from corporate-run "smart cities" such as Avasa in India. There are projects like this at least proposed all over the world, as the ultimate in privatised supply of public services. The idea is that private company funds, plans, and operates a high tech, fully integrated, city. All the tasks which might ...


6

I think it would be very interesting to be a teacher in a cyber-punk world, to try and shape young minds away from the legal apathy, social irresponsibility and gang membership which pollutes the next generation. As a human being, I would have a higher chance of reaching rebellious students because they would not be able to turn me off when what I said ...


6

There is a simple answer to this question, and it has to do with your frame of reference. You're assuming that people go to school to learn knowledge. They actually don't. They go to school to learn how to be citizens. The other arguments made here are correct; in modern societies with gender equality et al, schools are as much government child care as they ...


6

The closest thing I can imagine which is related to cybernetic implant is a pacemaker. How long do they last? Pacemakers usually last four to eight years. Biventricular pacemakers that are combined with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) do not tend to last as long -- about two to four years. The lifespan of the pacemaker depends on how ...


5

I am quite familiar with socialism; the most successfully socialist country is likely Norway (and no, it is not because of North Sea Oil, but high taxation). The essential idea is NOT to give everyone "just enough to pay for food and expenses." Instead, the idea is a very strong safety net so your life, your children's lives, your children's education, ...


5

The more corporate control there is the bigger the market for jobs that don't fit a standard niche. Grey and black markets become more likely the more restrictive the government/corporations are. Help wanted adds are more common now not less. I could easily see something like a more formalized version of craigslist. I could even see a bit of humor when the ...


5

Education is mandatory by the government, but due to expenses involved with teachers and school, attending online courses with an AI teacher is provided. There are actual schools with teachers and physical classes but has become something of a luxury or a status symbol. "My son attends Lincoln high school." Just like tophats in London at the turn of the ...


5

In your world, prosthetics last forever. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_hand_(prosthesis)#/media/File:Eiserne_Hand_Glasnegativ_6_cropped.jpg You are right about technological innovations, profit motive and the like as regards tech in todays world. And you are writing a fiction which you want to be interesting. Different is interesting. I propose ...


4

One way to explain this is simply that the different countries have different levels of technological and magical development. So you may have a nominally modern tech country where fantasy elements are hidden (paranormal fantasy). You may have an advanced, purely scientific country, no magic used at all (cyberpunk). You may have a country where they mix ...


4

They represent a competing power Consider the spacing guild in Dune. They, for various reasons, control all interplanetary trade while being outside the control of any of the other competing powers. The Caspars represent an equivalent competing faction with no need to play the power games along with all the great powers, their own independent and ...


4

Strangely enough, there are reasonable grounds for calling them both real. Real, in the historical sense, your humble interlocutor shall explain. While most of what constitutes the genre of steampunk fiction is mainly romantic and glamourized version of a steam-powered nineteenth century reconstructed as fantastic adventure and often in the form of various ...


4

In terms of the individual, we already have security by obscurity and apathy; just look at Facebook as an example. It still amazes me that the same people who scream about the rights of the individual to privacy in front of government officials are prepared to put so much information about themselves online. As for government computer systems, many ...


4

You have the obvious interior elements of wiring for power and possibly networking -- not everything needs wireless. And, water and sewage pipes. Air conditioning might be handled locally into the apartment, with cooling fluids pumped around the building from a central location. Similarly, electricity might be operated at very high voltages to ...


4

Recent developments in modular construction, especially recent factory-pre-assembled room modules now being employed in hotel construction suggest you may in the future see a lot of double-walls between units, some light-gauge steel studs between heavy-gauge steel structural members, all supporting interior sheetrock (or equivalent) with blown cellulose or ...


4

The corporations can rent/lease the augmentations instead of selling, so they can keep milking their customers, have a more stable cash flow when compared to yearly new models, and have incentives to think about durability because the parts aren't owned by the consumer but by the corporation. They can rent a turboarm v3.0 to first world customers for a few ...


3

Any established power structure has a natural antipathy to any kind of technology that can be reproduced simply by having sex (or by planting a seed, as Neal Stephenson discusses toward the end of The Diamond Age). To use a more pointed example, imagine how every government in the world would react if it became possible to grow atom bombs on trees. ...


3

Steam relies on the phase change to expand the gas, creating pressure. Water is very difficult to boil. It has an Anomalously large specific heat and then another huge chunk of energy is needed to make it vaporise. Use a different fluid that will vaporise at, say, body temperature. Spent vapor can be recovered in a cool chamber using the typical London ...


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