Citizens of the Imperium

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mike wightman March 1st, 2019 03:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jawillroy (Post 599564)
At the same time, don't those factories still depend on resources from other countries produced at lower levels of automation? We might have some gee-whiz-awesome factories assembling a car, but you've still got assembly lines producing the individual components elsewhere.

Nope.
Resource harvesting uses the same automated machinery to reduce the workforce required.

Look up strip mining in Australia for example.

mike wightman March 1st, 2019 03:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by timerover51 (Post 599572)
The agricultural production increases are already cranked in, and I did allow for Tech Level 8+ at population levels of the tens of millions. There is a limit as to how much food you can produce per acre no matter how advanced you get, unless you can produce continuously, which is not cheap unless you are in the tropics on a fairly standard atmosphere planet.

You build multistory farms with controlled microclimates to allow continuous production.

Quote:

You still need a certain amount of people in infrastructure work and also as the Tech Level rises, you are going to have increases in service industries. I see a population in the tens of millions, and the higher tens of millions at that, as the minimum for very high Tech Levels.
I can see a time when there are only a handful of people served by millions of robots...

Carlobrand March 1st, 2019 03:22 AM

Below TL5, the large fraction of the population involved in agriculture - and the fact they're using animals that can be bred instead of something that has to be built - insulates a culture from technological collapse. Famines and plagues may decimate a population, but the farmer behind his plow doesn't care whether there's a city capable of producing Gothic plate or only a town capable of producing Visby armor; he just needs a few people who know how to locate, refine, and work iron enough to get him the plow he needs.

The real core of technology at that level isn't the art or the weapons, it's the agricultural refinements: the thundering invader may cause great societal disruption, but it doesn't tend to make the farmers forget how to rotate crops or make a horse collar once they've learned that. Knowledge is being spread parent to child, by word and example, rather than through some vulnerable technological system, and that's a pretty robust method for holding on to knowledge when large fractions of the population are all basically doing the same thing.

jawillroy March 1st, 2019 11:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mike wightman (Post 599580)
I can see a time when there are only a handful of people served by millions of robots...

A hellish existence.

And to what end?

I can see a robot-driven installation as a necessary link in a chain of high-tech worlds, sure. A dangerous climate hampers access to necessary resources, so set up a robot mine or what have you, a robot port facility to handle the product. That's a high-tech mechanized facility to meet an external demand, with repair and maintenance resources imported from similarly high-tech worlds.

But how self sufficient is it, really? If the demand for the resource stops, then what's the real tech level of what's left? A world of inert robots waiting to fulfill order for unobtainium that are no longer arriving?

If the world in question has the raw resources in abundance for robot makers to fabricate everything they need on site to maintain the whole fleet of robots to make... what? How's that world *not* going to get settled to capacity by living sophonts instead?

And if it's a luxury existence you imagine for your handful of humans with millions or robot servitors... Millions aren't needed for that, surely. How does that work?

jawillroy March 1st, 2019 11:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mike wightman (Post 599579)
Nope.
Resource harvesting uses the same automated machinery to reduce the workforce required.

Look up strip mining in Australia for example.

Automated mining in Australia stops if A) there ceased to be a demand for the resources being mined or B) the resources run out. OR C, it becomes cheaper to get the resources elsewhere.

If for "Australia" we read "the sixth planet of Star X" with a population of 500 (or five!) and a massive agglomeration of tech level 12 robots which no longer have any reason to be producing what they're programmed to produce, I'm not convinced that for all intents and purposes that's really a tech level 12 world anymore.

whartung March 1st, 2019 03:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jawillroy (Post 599587)
If for "Australia" we read "the sixth planet of Star X" with a population of 500 (or five!) and a massive agglomeration of tech level 12 robots which no longer have any reason to be producing what they're programmed to produce, I'm not convinced that for all intents and purposes that's really a tech level 12 world anymore.

No, it's now an X starport with 0 population and, oh, all of the iron missing.

jawillroy March 1st, 2019 06:33 PM

So perhaps this formulation works:

A low-tech, low population world is non-industrial because the population is insufficient to support industrialization;

A high-tech, non industrial world has a low population because its specialization and automation permit it.

Timerover51 March 1st, 2019 09:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jawillroy (Post 599592)
So perhaps this formulation works:

A low-tech, low population world is non-industrial because the population is insufficient to support industrialization;

That would be a very reasonable characterization.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jawillroy (Post 599592)
A high-tech, non industrial world has a low population because its specialization and automation permit it.

I would argue for a world dependent upon imports to maintain its high tech level. Otherwise, a self-sufficient high-tech world should be an "industrial" one.

jawillroy March 1st, 2019 11:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by timerover51 (Post 599596)
I would argue for a world dependent upon imports to maintain its high tech level. Otherwise, a self-sufficient high-tech world should be an "industrial" one.

That's my thought, pretty much - or at least, something in that pop 7-8 grey area.

Carlobrand March 1st, 2019 11:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jawillroy (Post 599586)
...

And if it's a luxury existence you imagine for your handful of humans with millions or robot servitors... Millions aren't needed for that, surely. How does that work?

Imagine the wargames you could play! :D

Quote:

Originally Posted by timerover51 (Post 599596)
...
I would argue for a world dependent upon imports to maintain its high tech level. Otherwise, a self-sufficient high-tech world should be an "industrial" one.

I would agree that a non-industrial high tech world would suffer gradual decay without imports. Between industrial and non-industrial, there might be worlds that find a sweet spot under the right conditions.


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