Like, most people can kind of understand where the Jovians are coming from, but everything I've heard about that faction makes them out as cartoonishly evil.
No. Jovians aren't Luddites. They're against fairly specific forms of technology - and no, that stuff isn't necessary for their survival.From what I recall of the EP corebook, the Jovians are basically the backwards anti-technology types aren't they? Makes me wonder why they set up camp around Jupiter then, which is pretty much the place where you NEED transhuman-type tech to survive... That alone snapped my suspenders of disbelief hard enough to want to discard them straight away.
Before I go any further about the Republic, I need to explain what defines us Jovians in contrast to the rest of the solar system: our views on technology and transhumanism.
To the rest of the system, we’re backwards Luddites because the vast majority of the Republic’s populace lacks access to advanced nano- and biotechnology. This isn’t strictly true, however, since we have access to the same level of technology the rest of the system is accustomed to, we just regulate and restrict it more thoroughly. We are, as a rule, deeply conservative in our outlook towards certain technologies. We took a different lesson from the Fall than the rest of transhumanity. We saw it as proof that unregulated technological advances will wipe us out. We have also seen that modifying our bodies and “playing god” removes us from our humanity. So our approach is to study technology carefully, test it thoroughly, put safeguards in place, and only use it when it is safe to do so. We are always alert to the destructive potential a new technology may have. Just as you wouldn’t let children play with potentially harmful tools they do not understand, we do not place technology with the capacity to wreak great devastation in the hands of everyone.
Our culture is not monolithic or singular—we also have divergent viewpoints and ideologies in our ranks. Many of our people hold religious convictions that are extremely critical of the ease with which some new technologies can strip away our basic humanity and dignity. These Jovians personally reject many of the technologies that are allowed, unwilling as they are to commit a sin or transform themselves into an abomination of nature.
In practical terms, this means that certain technologies— advanced nanotech and biotech, AI, certain weapon systems—are virtually impossible to find outside of the highest clearance military labs. Some
of this is considered even too dangerous to weaponize and what little research there is focuses primarily on defensive measures should it become a threat.
You may be surprised to hear that many technologies common elsewhere are indeed allowed, but heavily restricted. This includes cornucopia machines, resleeving, and a number of genetic enhancements. These tools typically require high priced licenses or special government dispensation, which generally limit them to the wealthy, specialist labs, and highranking government and military officials. These tech privileges are usually laden with monitoring provisions, regular check-ups, and limited period renewal clauses, to ensure that no one goes off the radar with anything.
The vast majority of Jovians (over 80%) retain their original bodies. In fact, our Republic offers a significant reward to anyone who still has their birth body that relocates and becomes a Jovian
citizen. Many are genefixed (splicers), though some refuse out of religious objection. Licenses for certain genetic enhancements and bio-mods—or even certain morphs—are allowed if you can demonstrate a particular need for it (vacworkers, for example). Longevity treatments are available for all, if expensive, though our culture reveres death and considers it a dignified and natural end.
A strong public sentiment exists against resleeving. Most believe that our souls are not transferable to a new body and so resleeving is akin to suicide, which is a sin. A few small factions believe it is allowable under certain circumstances, such as a destructive uploading that transfers the soul to a clone of the same body. Cortical stacks, backups, resleeving, and even certain biomorphs are legal, however, if licensed and restricted (showing that the Security Council, above all, sees practical value in the technology). The few resleeving facilities that exist are subject to regular protests and vandalism, and in two cases uploading technicians have been assassinated by religious extremists that considered them to be murderers. Few people wear non-standard morphs in our habitats, and those that do are subject to reactions of distaste, fear, and occasionally even hatred. Synthmorphs and pods are rare to nonexistent. Uplifts, in any form, are seen as abominations; even when allowed by the government, they can expect overt hostility and prejudice.
Some things are expressly forbidden, specifically forking and uploading/infomorphs. There are rumors that both forks and human infomorphs are used for certain military applications, though this is unsubstantiated. Only the most limited and locked-down AIs are allowed, and even those only for situations where they are critical. While mesh implants are standard (except among the most devout), muses are unheard of. This also means that we have developed ways of running many of our computer systems that don’t involve smart programs or limited AI, and even those that do have security lock outs that disable all remote access to systemsand require an actual flesh and blood person to authorize any operations.
You are unlikely to suspect that Jovian medtech is on par with the best found elsewhere in the system— we do, after all, have a vested interest in keeping our bodies alive, rather than just slipping into a new one. Medical nanotech is allowed under the strict supervision of licensed professionals, who also excel at non-nano health practices and surgical procedures. Our exowombs, childcare facilities, and schools are also top of the line, given the importance we place on rebuilding our population and raising future generations. Families with children are allotted special incentives to encourage population growth.
Obviously, there are differences between our culture and the rest of the solar system. One thing important for non-Jovians to remember, however, is that our views are not just based on mistrust of technology, overhyped security theater, or fear of the TITANs. A significant portion of our population considers our Republic to be the last and only bastion of humanity. To their eyes, our Republic is surrounded not by transhumans, but by uncivilized monsters that once were human, but are now on their way to becoming something else, with the distinct possibility that they may kill us all in the process. After all, from their point of view, the moment you first resleeved, you died and transformed into something that wasn’t a person anymore. To the average Jovian, you are a soulless software replica with a human face.
The Jovian stance on technology, from the mouth of Jovian. Hardly what I would call "cartoonishly evil". It's a nuanced stance with a fair bit of justification behind it. You can think it's wrong, but "cartoonishly evil"? No. I'm not entirely happy with the Jovian presentation, I do think they got a few points a bit... off... to put it politely. But it's not that bad.
And when the TITANs return and flip the master control switch they embedded in the base genotypes of your fancy vat-grown space whale body, they're going to be sitting their laughing at you while you have to calculate pi out to the 9 millionth decimal place because your Overlord is bored that hour.