Setting concept: Backups

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Setting concept: Backups

Postby Kaylin » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:44 am

Pasting the explanation from Discord.
[1:22 PM] Kaylin: OK so the idea is that everyone has the ability to fork and merge
[1:22 PM] Kaylin: so at any given time there can be 2 of you or 1 of you
[1:22 PM] Kaylin: you don't necessarily have a mental link of any kind while you're split, but when you merge you keep all memories and choose which other traits to keep if they differ
[1:23 PM] Kaylin: ...you can probably choose memories as well but the default there is "all from both forks"

[1:26 PM] Kaylin: It's strong enough that I don't think it could work as an Earth-but-with-one-difference
[1:26 PM] Kaylin: You'd have too many people surviving assassination attempts
[1:27 PM] Kaylin: etc
[1:27 PM] dilnu: so that works?
[1:28 PM] Kaylin: Haven't entirely decided what happens if 1 fork dies but I don't think it's "you're dead, game over"
[1:28 PM] Kaylin: You'd just be stuck unable to fork or merge again
[1:30 PM] Kaylin gets sucked down a rabbit hole of trying to figure out how pregnancy would work
[1:30 PM] Kaylin: I think the most elegant solution is to say that the baby forks and merges along with the mother
[1:30 PM] dilnu: it seems like it
[1:31 PM] Kaylin: but if you get pregnant while forked and don't merge again, the fork can give birth to a whole merged baby who is then capable of forking

Ask questions, pick holes, help me flesh out this setting.
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Re: Setting concept: Backups

Postby Unbitwise » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:57 am

Thought inspired by Alicorn's Clones AUSJ. What if forks change enough they want to live different lives and not merge? Any social consequences, obligatory legal still-togetherness, ...?
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Re: Setting concept: Backups

Postby Kaylin » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:10 am

I'm developing the impression that anyone who can't fork, for whatever reason, is seen as somewhat disabled. So I'd say there's probably at least some social stigma against forks becoming two completely separate people, neither of whom can now fork. Since large parts of society are geared around the ability to be in two places at once, they'll be at a severe disadvantage compared to people with forking capability.

That might push them in the direction of trying to make it work, but I don't get the sense that there's anything legally compelling them to do so. You might have interesting legal cases if one wants to merge and the other doesn't, though.
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Re: Setting concept: Backups

Postby RoboticLIN » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:50 am

Pregnancy, can be baby-forked, rejoin-able? Fork-twins? Or in the end, a backup for twice the child-birth survivability? Pretty interesting regardless to think of the implications.
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Re: Setting concept: Backups

Postby Timepoof » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:02 pm

Poofbrain likes.
The WAFFLES will submit to this indignity.
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Re: Setting concept: Backups

Postby Kaylin » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:26 pm

RoboticLIN wrote:Pregnancy, can be baby-forked, rejoin-able? Fork-twins? Or in the end, a backup for twice the child-birth survivability? Pretty interesting regardless to think of the implications.

I'm not entirely sure I understand what you're asking here, or even whether there's a question in there at all, but let me try and clarify the pregnancy thing anyway.

There are two possible scenarios. 1: woman gets pregnant while forked, i.e. one fork gets pregnant while the other is elsewhere and, presumably, does not. (If two forks are both separately pregnant then they can keep one, both or neither pregnancy when they merge, because the idea that sparked this was about customisation.) 2: woman gets pregnant while merged. This is where it gets interesting.

If a merged person is pregnant and then forks, the foetus also forks. This does not create twins any more than forks of adults are twins. They will re-merge whenever the mother does, or can be born separately if people want that for some reason. However, the problem with forking to give birth is that, while having two babies increases the chance that one will survive, it also means you have two babies. Once they are born, there is no way to merge or fork them without their active participation, which I'm going to say kids can't manage until they're at least 2 or 3, possibly older because I'm now having nightmare images of harried parents chasing multiplying screaming toddlers.

While you would have a maximum of four parents to look after them, I'm building up a picture of a society in which the expectation is that one fork of each parent will look after the baby while the other forks continue working, so twins are just as much hassle as they are in our world.
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Re: Setting concept: Backups

Postby BlueSkySprite » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:22 pm

If both forks of a person separately get pregnant (with different partners if that helps make the fetuses unambiguously different?), then merge, is the merged person then pregnant with only one of the fetuses, with both of them as twins, or with a chimera? Or is it their choice, the same as with other differences between the two bodies?

About how quickly can people fork and merge? Do they need to be able to supply the material for the body from somewhere? If someone is injured and has a limb detached, or, less dramatically, gets a haircut, does the detached body substance remain where it fell after they merge?
Do implants fork and merge? Does clothing? Can non-body substances be duplicated this way?

Presumably you get people practicing surgery, tattoos, etc on their forks, and then choosing not to keep the memories or changes? Oh! Or Could someone have a painful or boring procedure (such as surgery, tattoos, etc) done, and then merge such that they keep the changed fork's body, and the unchanged fork's memories? If someone's fork learns a new skill, can they choose to keep the procedural memory of the skill without keeping the episodic memory of learning it?

How much control do people have about what traits they keep, and how difficult is it? If one fork attempts to merge and the other does not, does the merge happen anyway? How much control would each fork have over which traits were kept? If they were far apart, how much control would each fork have over the merged fork's location? How far in advance does each fork need to have decided which traits to keep - is the implementation instantaneous? Is there lag for extremely long-distance merging?
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Re: Setting concept: Backups

Postby Moriwen » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:44 pm

- What's involved in the process of choosing traits/memories?
-- Is it made obvious to you in some way during the merge which traits differ between your forks, or is it possible to forget about/not realize some trait?
--- What happens with that trait, in that case?
-- Do you have to decide in advance what traits you're going to keep (while possibly not knowing what's currently going on with your other fork/what their traits are at the moment), or can you decide in the process of merging?
-- How clear do your intentions have to be regarding which traits to keep, versus how much can you get away with vague subconscious intentions?

- To what degree, where two forks have conflicting traits, can you choose to keep a superposition of the two traits rather than either individually?
-- If one fork had their arm cut off, and the other didn't, could they, upon re-merging, choose to still have their arm, but have their fingernails trimmed (since the fork with the arm cut off consequently had their fingernails removed)?
-- If one fork was tortured and traumatized but in the process found out valuable information, and the other stayed safe at home, I assume the merged person could keep the memory of the valuable information but not the memory of the torture -- but could they keep the memory of the torture without the PTSD from it?
-- If one fork got a tattoo, and as a result their arm is sore and red, and the other didn't, could they upon merging choose to keep the tattoo but not the soreness or inflammation?

- To what degree are forks legally and/or socially considered to have the power to make commitments for each other?
-- If two forks have gone, say, a year without merging, and are living separately, and one of them defaults on their mortgage, can the bank go to the other fork and make them pay for it?
-- If two forks separately go and marry different people (...assuming a monogamous society) and then merge, what's the state of the merged person?
--- Or do you have to prove that you are merged in order to obtain a marriage license?
-- If a fork commits a crime, do both forks get sent to jail?

- If a man and woman both fork, and then one fork of the man gets each fork of the woman pregnant, and she then merges, does she get the same option to keep one/neither/both fetuses as she would if her forks had gotten pregnant by entirely separate people?
-- What if the man didn't fork, and just got each fork of the woman pregnant sequentially?

- Suppose that while a woman is forked, both forks get their eggs extracted, the doctor somehow manages to track down the two forks of one egg, artificially fertilizes them with sperm from two different men, and implants them into the forks of the women. Are the embryos half-forks? What happens to them if the woman's forks merge?
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Re: Setting concept: Backups

Postby Kaylin » Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:28 am

Wow, I got a lot of questions while I was asleep! Let's answer them all at once!

Several of the questions can be at least partly answered by saying that to merge, you have to be in physical contact. So you can't merge at a distance. I'm gonna say merging requires the consent of both forks, I think.

Let's answer aaalllll the pregnancy questions next.
- If two forks are pregnant with different babies, and they merge, they can keep either one, or both (as twins). You don't get a chimera, and I'm now dubious that they would be able to keep neither pregnancy, since "not pregnant" isn't a trait either of the forks has at that moment. If one is pregnant and the other isn't, they can either keep the pregnancy or not when they merge.
- Eggs and sperm cannot be meaningfully forked; they are simply cells which happen to be genetically identical.
-- There is no effective difference between a man forking and each fork impregnating someone, and the man not forking and impregnating each person sequentially.
-- "Forked" eggs fertilised by "forked" sperm (as incredibly unlikely as this is) would be identical twins. Forked eggs fertilised by different sperm would be fraternal twins. There is no such thing as "half-forks".
- No possible variation on "two forks are pregnant with babies which are not actually literally forks of each other after being conceived" changes the options they have when they merge.

Merging and version control questions:
- Anything which is not currently attached to your body when you merge is not merged. This includes detached limbs.
- You can choose which features to keep, but this is a binary choice of either Fork A or Fork B. You can't keep your arm but not the fingernails, you can't keep half your hair but not the other half, and I'm going to say you can't keep a skill without the memory of learning it. I am open to the possibility that, with practice, someone might be able to pull off some of these tricks, but not with perfect success.
- If you don't consciously decide which traits to keep, the merging process pulls from whichever fork has the most traits you DID consciously choose. E.g. if you picked the hair dye and tattoo from Fork A and the clothes from Fork B, but forgot to specify whether to keep Fork B's bruises or not, it would default to "not" because you took more traits from Fork A. If it's balanced, you're effectively flipping a coin.
- It is possible to forget/not know about differences, but they will usually become obvious during/after the merge when the merged person notices something has been lost from one fork.
- The final decision process over which traits to keep, while usually worked out verbally beforehand, is done by the merged mind during the merge. (The mind is the first thing to merge and the last thing to fork.)
- When merging clothing, one picks items to wear and the rest fall to the ground. For simplicity, and to reduce the possibility of public nudity, it's advised to pick 1 fork's outfit as a whole, and change clothes after merging if you're not happy with the result.
- Things outside your body cannot be forked, including clothing. Anything which is inside or intersecting your body, such as implants or earrings, can be forked and will by default. Digesting food forks as well.
- Cause and effect cannot be separated, except with practice: it is very difficult to keep a tattoo but not the swelling, but could be done. Similarly, it would be difficult-to-impossible to keep the benefits of a workout but not the soreness.
- Memories of information cannot be separated from their emotional or situational context any more than we can naturally, but this is probably not zero. Any memories that can be detached from each other can be merged or not as discrete chunks.

Saving the legal questions for when I've figured out more of the surrounding world; for now, I'll just say that the answers to most of those issues are likely to have been debated in-world at some point, and probably vary from one culture/polity to another.
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Re: Setting concept: Backups

Postby Moriwen » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:41 am

So given
- Anything which is not currently attached to your body when you merge is not merged. This includes detached limbs.

and
- Things outside your body cannot be forked, including clothing. Anything which is inside or intersecting your body, such as implants or earrings, can be forked and will by default. Digesting food forks as well.

can you then duplicate small valuable objects by swallowing them, forking, removing them, and merging? (Because now I am picturing some really messed-up sweatshops...)
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