View Poll Results: Is SMAC Intellectually Discriminative?
Yes 18 40.00%
No 27 60.00%
Voters: 45. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
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Old September 13, 2002, 17:50   #1
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Is Alpha Centauri Intellectually Discriminating?
What do you think?

Just look at the blattant elitist divide between the Drones (the Low/Working Class) and the Talents (the High Class). The way the game introduces methods of supressing the Drones (whose name would be offencive if you were called one) eg. Nerve Stapling, Punishment Spheres.

And in the SMAC manual, while the Talents are described as "the cream that rises to the top of your society, your pool of highly skilled intellectuals", the Drones are "the unskilled, unsuitable and disgruntled among your people. They're lazy troublemakers, and they all carry weapons."

Does this congure an image of the feudal pyramidical society? Is this New World Order in action?
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Old September 13, 2002, 18:08   #2
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wow. we thought you were gone. there was even a thread about it entitled "whatever happened to cybergod????"

discriminative? i don't think so, but really, i just don't pay that much attention to these things.
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Old September 13, 2002, 18:55   #3
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Ha! I answered before I read your post so I misinterpreted the poll. I answered yes because I think that SMAC is complicated to the point where stupid people can't play it well and/or don't like the game (and thus buy CIV 3 ). Was that elitist enough for everyone, lol.
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Old September 13, 2002, 21:54   #4
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I suppose you could look at it like that. I prefer to think of it as being honest about human nature.
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Old September 14, 2002, 01:03   #5
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I think its an extremeley INNACURATE description of human nature, but thats the point: thats how the governments of the world see us all- morons with no capability for democracy or self-management. perhaps the people who wrote it were trying to make a point. If youre a dictator, or even a indirect democracy representative, the thought of the people you control being just as intelligent as you are is terryfing. Its always been true and its still true today, masters are always secretly scared of their slaves
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Old September 14, 2002, 02:54   #6
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The general idea behind Drones and Talents is accurate, in that some people have more talent than others.
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Old September 14, 2002, 05:04   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Xian
I think its an extremeley INNACURATE description of human nature, but thats the point: thats how the governments of the world see us all- morons with no capability for democracy or self-management. perhaps the people who wrote it were trying to make a point. If youre a dictator, or even a indirect democracy representative, the thought of the people you control being just as intelligent as you are is terryfing. Its always been true and its still true today, masters are always secretly scared of their slaves
I agree. Maybe true happiness in a society is found without leaders or masters. But we are far from that, still got a lot to learn as a species.

Quote:
wow. we thought you were gone. there was even a thread about it entitled "whatever happened to cybergod????"
There was? I'm touched! I'll run the search button right no-.. soon.
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Old September 14, 2002, 07:37   #8
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I say it is, but in some ways it's not as bad as it could be - Drones have ample potential to become Citizens, who have ample potential to become Talents. So it's not all that bad - at least the structure isn't rigid and self-perpetuating.
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Old September 14, 2002, 11:16   #9
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I don't think the very distinction Talents/Workers/Drones is indiscrimating, but rather the ways of turning "unsuitable" Drones into "useful" Workers - police, stapling, spheres, etc.

And another question is what actually do Empaths in order to make Drones fit in the society - isn't it the Thought Police?
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Old September 14, 2002, 12:36   #10
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Of course, SMAC/X is intellectually discriminating. Or better: Intelligence is discriminating, because it serves as means to distinguish (discriminare) smart from stupid people. And even worse, it discriminates intelligent from untintelligent players. But i think this is gooood!

Odi profanum vulgus et arceo.
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Old September 14, 2002, 15:08   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kirov
And another question is what actually do Empaths in order to make Drones fit in the society - isn't it the Thought Police?
The way I always saw the Telepathic Matrix video, it's not so much thought control as emotional influence - the Empathi project 'good vibes', dissuading people from committing violent acts and so on. So not actually tweaking their thoughts, but making them feel nicer.
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Old September 14, 2002, 15:26   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Clear Skies


The way I always saw the Telepathic Matrix video, it's not so much thought control as emotional influence - the Empathi project 'good vibes', dissuading people from committing violent acts and so on. So not actually tweaking their thoughts, but making them feel nicer.

Yea, yea, that's the way THEY want you to see it.
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Old September 14, 2002, 15:40   #13
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That way lies paranoia
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Old September 14, 2002, 15:52   #14
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Cyber's been reading 1984, he's bound to be a bit paranoid.
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Old September 14, 2002, 17:23   #15
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Quote:
I think its an extremeley INNACURATE description of human nature, but thats the point: thats how the governments of the world see us all- morons with no capability for democracy or self-management. perhaps the people who wrote it were trying to make a point. If youre a dictator, or even a indirect democracy representative, the thought of the people you control being just as intelligent as you are is terryfing. Its always been true and its still true today, masters are always secretly scared of their slaves
Honestly, I doubt most representatives of an indirect democracy even would notice that there are more intelligent than they are
But in fact, where this problem arises, are teachers. Most teachers are jealous when they have pupils who are more intelligent than they are themselves, and exploit the advantage in terms of knowledge to suppress them. Good teachers are proud of them. Especially with younger children, younger than ~10 years, I find it hilarious when an adult person (happens very often during a mass which is designed for kids) asks something where the answer they want to have is very obvious (of course, I was a kid as well) and one of the young people gives a completely unexpected, and much better, answer. The other adults in the church usually laugh. I fear the child doesn't realize that the answer was child-like and the laughter is about an adult being childish ...
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Old September 14, 2002, 17:31   #16
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I agree. Although I've been very lucky - I have fantastic teachers this year. Especially for Politics - I can discuss things like the lack of Socialism in America due to the absence of a feudal system, and actually get an intelligent debate rather than just a weird look.
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Old September 14, 2002, 18:04   #17
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I think Alpha Centauri is very discriminating, but that has never bothered me. I always thought of it as something akin to Orwell's 1984, or Huxley's Brave New World, or any other SF work that viewed humans as basically bastards. It's not that we can't be any better, it's just that we won't. In many ways AC (pretentious mode activated) makes the opinion that no matter how much we learn about ourselves, this knowledge will always be used by some to exert undue control. Even the Trancendence Victory is really a grab for ultimate power. Just remember that AC is not a generic SF game, it has a strong story and background and (good) stories written by people always have a point to make about people.
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Old September 14, 2002, 18:34   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kassiopeia
Cyber's been reading 1984, he's bound to be a bit paranoid.
That's it! Go to Room 101 now!



And if you read "Brave New World" and saw the distinctions between the "Alpha Pluses" and "Epsilon Semi-Morons" and then look at the "Drones" and "Talents"...

And there's a fact that the dystopian realities of the two novels ("1984" and "B.N.W.") are now closer than you think (in terms of technology etc.).

DOUBLETHINK
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Old September 14, 2002, 20:13   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cybergod
And if you read "Brave New World" and saw the distinctions between the "Alpha Pluses" and "Epsilon Semi-Morons" and then look at the "Drones" and "Talents"...
And then look at the "Alpha Talents" in the Demo game...

THEY are already among us...

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Old September 15, 2002, 03:28   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cybergod
And if you read "Brave New World" and saw the distinctions between the "Alpha Pluses" and "Epsilon Semi-Morons" and then look at the "Drones" and "Talents"...
... I have real problems seeing any similarities between Brave New World's class divide and SMAC's Drones and Talents.

Alpha Pluses and Epsilons would both be normal citizens in SMAC, doing exactly what they were meant to do. Brave New World was a world without Drones or Talents. Since everybody did what they wanted, there was no need for rebellion.

And, as far as I can see, the divide between Drones, Citizens and Talents is only "elitist" if you take the divide to be a litteral divide between real people. "Drones" is just a graphical representation of the percentage of the population that's vocally unhappy with the leadership. Note that this is almost everyone unless you have some way to quell the repellion (with police) or wow the masses with massive infrastructure.

When you use nerve stapling, I figure that the actual people being nerve stapled don't come back, but the ranks are refilled by people disliking this form of punishment.

(I'm a bit tired. I hope this was coherent ... )
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Old September 15, 2002, 04:22   #21
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Quote:
Brave New World was a world without Drones or Talents.
Punishment Sphere or Nerve Stapling? I haven't read the book but if research continued at a good pace, it is nerve stapling. ATROCITY!!!!
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Old September 15, 2002, 04:29   #22
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It could be seen as the same as those with higher qualifications vs those that barely finished/dropped out of college.

But I don't think the game is showing this in a bad way. Naturally, those sent to Alpha Centauri would have to be rather proficient in a number of fields - the technological and societal elite, if you like. In a society arising from such a group of people it would naturally be that a technocracy of sorts would arise. After a few generations of harsh colonial life, there would not have been the resources nor time to educate many of the newborns to Talent status - everyone's just trying to stay alive. As infrastructure grows and people adapt, Talents arise.

But none of this in the game need be seen in a bad light. In fact, I like to believe that something that all factions would see is the need to raise all citizens to Talent level - that the urge to improve the lives of their fellows for everyone's good is paramount to concerns of most SE choices. The only differences would be what factions see as a "Talent" - for the University it would be the academics, for the Drones the skilled technicians, for the UN the smoothtalkers
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Old September 15, 2002, 04:47   #23
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Don't forget the Punishment Sphere also removes any Talents you might have in the cities with the Spheres, so it's not discriminating.
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Old September 15, 2002, 19:18   #24
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Not only did you find a girlfriend, CG, but she has turned you to new concerns, it would seem.

I loved Brave New World and interpreted it similarly to the way Uberslacker did. It seems that SMAC has a similar style to BNW, but it cleverly presents alternative futures to battle against one another.

If you don't want elitism, I would be concerned about the current capitalist world, rather than worrying over what SMAC presents. But then, I'd only get really bothered about it if I gave up on establishing a foothold for myself in the elite classes
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Old September 15, 2002, 23:06   #25
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Well, seeing as how I'm always running police state, i'd have to say no. so long as the talents contribute to the welfare of society and the drones keep being productive, my governmental style suits me just fine!

so, no, i don't think that it's intellectually discriminative.
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Old September 16, 2002, 15:15   #26
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Still, more than a third of voters are on my side...

But seriously I just wished to discuss about the realpolitik world today and how it is visualised in this computer game, which is meant to represent the "future of mankind". If this is continued in other computer games, this might set a future trend in educating people to be classist and elitist, and see others as just another subject to be exploited.

But as all the factions seem to take a different view on the issue, I guess the game finds a slight balance.

And sorry if I rant too much - Maria says I should be free to discuss any subject I wish...
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Old September 16, 2002, 19:37   #27
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Maria's right, of course.

And the game is mostly populated with self-serving bast&rds with pragmatic society models. However there are exceptions (Dierdre, Drones).

In the end, I would be far more concerned about people educated by Carmaggedon, Doom and Mortal Kombat than those spoilt by too much SMAC.
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Old September 16, 2002, 19:50   #28
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I agree. Carmageddon teaches us that running over people in cars is funny. Mortal Kombat suggests that it is possible to rip a man's heart out using only one hand. And Doom . . . well, Doom just scares the heck out of me.
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Old September 16, 2002, 20:28   #29
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I agree. Carmageddon teaches us that running over people in cars is funny.
It isn't? Damn, that's a lesson I learned in "Deathrace 2000", back in the 1970s. I'm not sure if I can supress at least a giggle when I come across a scene of fatal road rage. Are you sure it's not funny?
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Old September 16, 2002, 20:45   #30
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Okay, maybe it's a little funny.
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