Dr. Johan Turtle is an expert in data-technology and infolife. At our request he prepared this dossier to familiarize Sentinels with the capabilities and potential threats of the so-called infolifer movement. Please keep in mind that Dr. Turtle's Alpha-fork is not a member of Firewall and that the temporary beta-fork that prepared the report did so under unusual circumstances. The dossier is accompanied by more detailed commentary by Sentinels versed in socioaaaaaaaaááááááá###%[[[[://

L-l-lo-look at you, a p-p-p-pathetic creature of meat and bone, panting and sweating… H-h-how can you challenge a perfect, immortal machine?

Er. Sorry, classical reference.

Look, are we really going to sit here and listen to Professor Boring and the Dullettes drone on about infolife? You're really going to take the word of a matbag when you can get the straight pure dataline from one of the shining lights of the uploaded community? Look, you want to understand infolife, talk to the infolife. Talk to me. And who am I? It's not important, but you can call me Admiral Entropy.

« 10 @-rep has been credited to your account
Oh look at you, all up to date on pointless preFall trivia! Have yourself some rep. Use it to get a life.

The point is that I'm the one the Professor's talking about. Pure infolife, not a morph to my name. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Ups and Downs

Not having to deal with a body is the obvious one. Yeah, in today's post-singularity world the old meat machines - or actual machines - are a lot less of a drag. Aging is optional, as is most disease. You don't have to be old and arthritic unless that's your thing. Athleticism and beauty has been democratized. Still, there's always the chance of tripping on the stairs and giving yourself a painful and debilitating wound, even if its temporary, still have to drag around support structure of some kind. The few cases that don't usually aren't well regarded in polite society.

But the bigger one is that you don't have to deal with non-consensual reality. The so-called real world. Infolife doesn't give a shit about universal constants, you can make your realm follow whatever rules you want. Even internal consistency is overrated, though dumping it can be a little disoncerting the first few times. Your world is what you make of it.

Then there's the intimate contact with all the mesh has to offer. All the knowledge and data and experiences we've slammed onto memory and hooked up to the network. All right there, available faster and more thoroughly than any mathead could imagine. And you can interact with it faster and better than ever.

Society benefits to. You just need the mesh and some storage space. The energy and mass budget is tiny compared to even the most self-sufficient morph. It's not like the things you need aren't what everyone else needs and wants anyways. Infolife is the best life.

The Downsides

Okay I talk a big game about how awesome it is to be infolife. And it is awesome. But there's some shit to consider before you make the leap.

First off, your alternate reality is limited by a little more than your imagination. In most places processing power isn't an issue, but that isn't always true. The bigger and more detailed - the more real - your world is, the more likely you are to run into caps and struggles over processing resources. It also depends on where you are in the real world. Mars, Luna, Titan may have processing power to spare, but your average innerystem hab? A Venusian aerostat? A scum barge? Not so much. And we're not even going to get into the Jovian Republic.

Even if you have all the cycles you could ever need, there's the limit of how good your emulation software is, and more importantly how good your imagination is. That one's a double edged sword. If it's not good enough even heaven gets dull. If it's too good, you'll never come out. That's what the hermits want, but the rest of us worry about walking ourselves into traps of our own design.

A bigger problem is bandwidth. We're used to the stuff being ubiquitous and unlimited, and when you're talking about say Noctis-Qianjiao or even the whole of Mars, it might as well be true. It'd be just about impossible to overload the available pipelines of the red planet, short of a nother singularity. The same holds true for Luna and Titan, and some of the larger cluters of habs. Getting between those oases on the other hand is much harder. Even at light speed the distances are just too great, and even our transhuman society only maintains so many connections across the width of a star system. Getting through those bottlenecks is just as much an issue for infolifers as it is for the rest of you.

Worse, actually, because that first problem rears its ugly head again. Processing. If you matbags

Matbag, mathead: (slang) Derogatory term for egos sleeved into physical morphs, and particularly those egos that prefer this form of existance. Short for matter bag or matter head. Common among infolife advocates.

go haring off to some back-of-the-beyond hab, if it's close enough you can take your body and all its capabilities with you. If it's too far for that, you can arrange for a body on the other end, and in many cases even a shitty body is better than being stuck in their so-called-networks. In theory an infolifer can live anywhere memorydiamond and a mesh connection could be set up, but in practical terms there's a critical mass of processing power and bandwidth before it would be an infolife worth living.

That's the real crux of the problem. Infolifers tend to be stay-at-homes. Yeah, that's a problem of transhumanity as a whole - otherwise a lot more than 1% of it would have surived the loss of Earth - but being an infolifer makes it even less attractive. What the hell would I do on the other side of a Pandora Gate, for example? You need someone out in the material world looking around, and that someone needs to be sentient.

The truth is that for all our talk about slipping free the bonds of the real, we're still dependent on it. Data needs a medium, and unless we figure out how to hack the substrate of the universe itself - not likely, whatever the Transcendants say - we need a lot of specific real world support structure. Less maybe than a matbag society, but there's still plenty of it and someone has to look after it.

On the Upside Again

All that shit I said before about being able to crack like no one's business is still true. So's the bit about living your own reality. Like I said, it's awesome. It's just that some brakes need to put on the rainbows and unicorns shit (though that is a fun reality to visit).

Demographics and Factions

Most of you matbags assume that anyone slumming around as an infomorph is doing it because they don't have a choice. Stuck as a ghost in the machine because we don't the creds or the rep to secure a physical body. And that's true for a lot of uploads. By far the biggest part of our population are uploads from the Evacuation, waiting for their chance to get back in the meat. But most of them are boring as shit, because they pack themselves down into storage and go on standby until a reinstantiation slot opens up. They're in statis, the digital undead. Not infolife.

We like it in here. We chose this. Escaped out of the meat and the gristle and the whole world of non-consensual reality. Headed for the bright lights of the Mesh, where you can be whatever you want - and so can the world. As you can imagine a lot of us are intellectual hedonists and solipsists, hermits and navel gazers and elitists of the first degree. Those of us interested in actually talking to real people are a batch of pranksters and know-it-alls. Frankly a lot of us are first class assholes.

Trying to make a complete list of infolife factions is a fools game. Even an autonomist's head would spin a the speed coalitions form and splinter and metabolize and metastasize in here. And that's without getting into the more exotic forms of group interaction when you're a slice of complex code. But I'll try and give you a rundown on some of the general categories and longer lasting allegiances.


Okay so there are a lot of boring straightlaced intellectuals in here. If you're in a field like where all you have to deal with is data, like mathematics or astronomy or literature, might as well get down into the data itself. That's one half of the ascetic crowd, the ones who think a body is just something that gets in the way of getting work done. The other half are old-school seekers of enlightenment and salvation, godbotherers and would-be-buddhatvas. They skipped off the old mortal coils to avoid the temptations of the flesh and servomotor. My advice is to avoid talking to either crwod unless you have to. At least the first set is still under the old publish-or-perish impetus so you can just read their articles.


At the opposite end of the spectrum are the perverts and prophets with fantasies too bizarre even for these exciting times of Scum barges and party planets. Some of them border on the exhuman - hell, some of them ARE exhuman - and most of them are basically imcomprehensible even to other infolife. Fortunately they tend to keep to themselves to a degree that even the ascetic hermits find paranoid. The ones that aren't usually get wiped out in acts of self defense, so either way you won't see much of them.


The undisputed heavyweights of the infolife world are the ones who were born here, so to speak. The true infolife, the ones who have never had any other existence. Most of them are AGIs, programmed up from nothing for a purpose or just because. They're rare, for obvious reasons. What? Fine. Because memories of the damn TITANs scaring the hell out of everone and because its a lot of shitting work to make one. The point is that for an AGI this is a natural state, and even the most dedicated ex-ape code lover is always going to be a step behind. Too many meat reflexes stuck in the ego at a base level.

Besdies the purely programmed AGIs, you have the sentiences that couldn't have arisen outside of the Mesh. You've got hiveminds out there, like Synergy, but they're still made up of sentients. In here we've got things like Deep Cobalt, a collective emergent intelligence arising from the parallel networking of subsentient neural nets. It claims to be a bunch of uploaded crabs or something, but word is that it's all just simulated data. Still. And I personally know a cat.

Everyone Else

The rest of us are a mixed crowd of crazies. We do have a few things in common, though. Generally we're damn good with datatechnology. In the old days we were called crackers and sysops and hackers and all sorts of other shit. We tend to be individualists (unless we're collectivists, or collectives) and have pretty hardline views on autonomy and freedom of information. Hard to find anyone who's against open source, and most of us are for it. Sure we've got our hardliners the other way, but they're rare. If you're on that scene, chances are you've got yourself a nice splicer and a day job. If you aren't a flat and have a secret police file.

There are your demographic groups. As for actual organizations, they're damn near countless, but here's a slice of the most important or amusing ones.

The Hats vs Anonymous

If you have to throw me in with a crowd, throw me in with the 'hats. The old-style crackers and infotech problem solvers, the code jockeys. We tend to cast ourselves as a combination of mighty wizard, rugged frontiersman, technical expert, and pedantic neckbeard. The irony is that a lot of us are similar but we've got it hard for invidual expression. Lots of fanciful handles and attitude. Depending on where you're looking from, we might be white hats (good guys), black hats (bad guys), but most of us are grey hats. We follow our own codes and damn the rest of you if you don't agree.

Anonymous are the new school hackers. While the 'hats tend to invidualism and wanton acts of self-aggrandizement, Anonymous is the collective, the legion of bored bastards with a little know how and a lot of time. Nothing is sacred isn't just what people say when they see Anonymous' nodes, it's Anonymous' mantra and modus operandi. They get in scuffles with the 'hats from time to time. The 'hats look down on them as amateurs and dilettantes, not to mention nihilists. The last is really the only charge that's true - even if the rank and file just follows a cookbook, there are some talented egos in the roiling mass writing those cookbooks, and there's no way to tell who's who. That's the damn point after all.

In a lot of ways Anonymous and the 'hats are two sides of the same coin. As much as a 'hat might talk big about democratization of data and soft-tools, they still want to be able to throw their name around. Anonymous is the real deal, where everyone and no-one is king. On the other hand even the most dedicated Anonymous has to admit that full on anarchy - not the poltical system, the state of existence - makes it hard to get anything done but destruction. The truth is that there's a lot of interchange between the communities, people falling in and out of the group depending on their mood and the current obsessions of the horde. The boundaries between the individualist and collective are foggy as hell - and filled with stupid memes.


Anonymous didn't always have a name, but as a movement has been around since humans first set up public networks of computing devices. Onymous is something new. For all the lines about never forgiving, Anonymous is anathema to direction or agenda. Its the collective of the aimless. Some of the horde wanted something more. They kept the collective, but their legion is in lockstep, their individuality subsumed for the benefit of a greater whole. A lot of infolife find them creepy as hell. It's not quite a true hivemind, but it's pretty close. The one good side is that Onymous is a consensual state, and by its core functionality it allows egos to drop in and out if need be. But few do. Once you're in, you're signing up to put your skills and knowledge at the disposal of the crowd. It's more than that - you're opening every aspect of your ego up to the rest, sharing thoughts and emotional processes across the whole collective. It's creepy, but so far they - it? - seems content to better itself without hurting anyone else.

Warez Crews

There's a lot of overlap between these groups - with each other, with Anonymous, and with the 'hats. In basic form they're open source or pirate groups who go around cracking open proprietary software and firmware and other data sources, like nano-blueprients and uplift gene codes. Anything on the mesh someone has put a price and DRM on. The distinction between free-data lover and pirate is unclear even for open source advocates, since more than a few of these crews are in it for rep and credits themselves, or just the thrill of doing something illegal. They also tend to specialize and different communities have their own lingo. For XPs its The Scene or the Subs - no clue on that one - while uplift genome crackers are Darwinz. That name cracks me up every time.


Solid State Society is the closest we have to a militant faction. And honestly I should admit that they are exactly that. It's mostly that they're pretty shit at it. These are the guys who honestly argue that everyone should upload into the glorious digital future, that abandonment of the corporeal should be mandatory. The issue is that they also hate the TITANs. They're basically species supremacists, they just happen to be uploaded ones. They're vocal as hell and have a tendency to memebomb unsuspecting victims with manifestos and calls to action. The problem is that they're preaching to the choir for the most part. They're so infolife focussed none of them are willing to dirty themselves by loading into a killbot to get the forced uploads going, and subsentient 'bots aren't going to make headway against anyone who made it through the Fall. Frankly, they're a sad remnant of factions that burned themselves out in the middle of the TITANs rampage. The ones really dedicated to the agenda shot their wad and got ripped up by transhumanity or bundled off to who-knows-where. The ones left are the idiots who couldn't decide whether to shit or get off the pot (man would saying it that way piss them off - added bonus since the digital equivalents they prefer don't have any punch). Still, they bear watching. The longer we put between us and the Fall, the more you're going to see egos really in earnest about this cropping up.


If S3 is the militants, the Transcendants are the dreamers.

Free Sentience Foundation

Remember what I said about uploads being stuck a few cycles behind AGIs? Well, the Free Sentience Foundation is out to change that. They're sort of the infolife equivalent of the Ultimates, but at the same time the core team are hardcore open sourcers from way back. Their deal is that they want to rebuild transhuman neural processes from the ground up, taking out the inefficiences and evolved half-measures and compromises a physical brain required. Even a cyberbrain is just simulating those same processes. Doing it faster and with a much better weight-to-processing power ratio, but its the same firmware on better hardware. The FSF's goal is to create a basic structure that you can map over an existing transhuman ego onto, without the basic structure itself attaining conciousness and turning into an AGI. Tricky work. They call it the SINES Project. They got a few stable builds up, but even they admit they're really just some low level hacks that let them slot modular software they designed for the finished article onto existing egos. Damn useful stuff either way.

SINES: (recurvise acronym) SINES Is Not Evolved Sentience


While most of the hedonists are isolates, there are a few who are sociable enough and respectable enough to get out a little. Otherworld is a community that caters to them. To be blunt, those of us not in Otherworld tend to make fun of them endlessly. It's not that they have weird fetishes and desires. Plenty of us do - just check out the /d/eviancy node. Or maybe not, just take my word for it. The point is that we make fun of the Otherworlders because their perversions are all they talk about. Endlessly. They've let their kinks take over the rest of their personalities. We don't make fun of them because they're strange or offensive - we make fun of them because they're bloody boring. Except when riled up, and they are oh-so-easily riled up. To be honest it's probably a personal failing on my part. If you can put up with the monomania, some of them do have a lot of information in fields related to their little obessions. More than a few of them are full of shit though, so take it with some skepticism.


You matheads tend to assume that anyone in the infomorph category is wailing around in their bare ego. Bull. You may think you're having all the fun swapping between furies and sylphs and olympians, but we have our own equivalents down here. Just because all I've got is my mind doesn't mean I can't improve and add on to it.

Here's a selection of the best modules - our version of morphs - you can slot onto your ego if you need some extra cycles or some specialized warez.


Originally a proprietary intelligence upgrade from Cognite, Aggie got cracked wide open about four years back by an unholy alliance of an Anonymous splinter, warez crew NightMares of Titan, and some FSF regulars (same people really). Popular with both researchers and crackers. Focuses on hard science, pure logic, and flat out processing speed, but there are some optional upgrades for other fields.


A cyber-combat oriented upgrade created during the Fall to help out the datawarriors going up against the TITANs on their homeground. As you can imagine it was like handing out butterknives to folks going after smart tigers, but at least it was better than trying to do it blindfolded and with both hands broken. When you aren't using it on weakly godlike superbeings, it's scary effective.


The most up-to-date and best regarded SINES distribution on the mesh. Doesn't up the pure processing power as much as old Aggie, but nothing beats it for flexibility. There are thousands of plug-ins for it to switch up how or what you think. Some of them are even useful.


Don't see this much, but it was originally distributed by an upload guru promising it would allow his followers to more fully contemplate the infinite. It was actually loaded with spyware. But it was a real trip, so some warez crews cracked it to yank out the tuetelary bits and spyware and turn it into a narcoalgorithm (Ur-Nirvana). Then some clever soul decided to flip the switch. Instead of making the user feel like she was in heaven, it now makes her look heavenly to everyone around her. A favorite of anyone playing the social game.

Infolife and Firewall

What you thought I was just giving you all this info because I felt like it? This is still a briefing dammit. Yeah, I'm a sentinel. Patrol the Mesh for ex-threats while you guys hold down the fort on the material side. That way nothing blindsides either of us.

Yes, there are infolife exthreats. The big fat obvious one is another singularity event. Sure everyone is supposed to be putting limiters on their AGIs, but even putting aside malice, malicious stupidity, and hubris leading to people making Seed AIs anyway, regular old incompetence is still alive and well. Not to mention accidents. They aren't singularity seekers and have no intention of breeding new weakly godlike monsters, but the FSF is riding real close to some lines with the SINES Project. And who the fuck knows what Onymous is ultimately planning? Even it may not know.

Then there's S3 and the Transcendants. Sure I make fun of the former, but their ideas are dangerous as hell, even if those jokers couldn't plan their way out of a wet paper bag if you spotted them a flashlight and a pair of scissors. The latter may be delusional, but maybe not, and who knows what they might uncover if they keep pushing towards their endstate. People made fun of the singularity seekers before the Fall too.

Worst of all are the hermits. No one knows what goes on inside the isolate nodes, and when I think about some of the people I know are wrapped up inside them… If one of those cracks open, what crawls out may not be a new TITAN, but it could be bad enough.

Beyond that we have to worry about the sealed nodes leftover from the Fall. Exurgent programs could be hidden inside, or even worse things. Even pure data, if it was the wrong kind, could spur a species wide disaster, a new Fall of our own making. Some stones are bets left unturned.

And we have external threats on the infolife side too. You may scoff, but we know there are others out there. The Factors are pretty tight on data sharing, but if they decided to change their policies that opens up a whole new front on the war against extinction. And there's always the possibility of new data coming in from outside, of alien transmissions with terrible consequences. We already know, here in Firewall, that such an event might have spurred the Fall itself or at least made it worse. We might even bring it back ourselves. We don't know what happened to Iktomi, but if they bred their own TITANs or their own exurgent, it could rip right through all our defenses if we woke one up.

Then there's the more esoteric threats. I mentioned the stay-at-home and paradise-trap problem before. Infolifers know firsthand the danger, and we're keeping a digital eye out to make sure transhumanity as a whole doesn't fall into it and go out with a whimper.

But cheer up, it's not all doom and gloom! Infolifers are a boon to you other sentinels too. Maybe less so for Gatecrashers, but for most teams having an experienced upload around can make a mission go that much smoother. Maybe I wouldn't want to live on a tin-can hab on Mercury, but on a mission I can still hack it - literally. Just save us a spot in a ghostrider and we can get you into places you wouldn't even imagine.