The Concord and Senatex are societies of both human and machine sentience bound together by an integrated machine intelligence or IMTel. Both are practically utopian societies in which humans are free to devote their lives to chosen endeavours entirely free of compulsion, or the necessity of toil and unwanted responsibilities.
This article uses the IMTel of the PanHuman Concord as a basis of discussing the IMTel, but it is equally as applicable to the Isorian Senatex.
Thanks to the IMTel’s integration with the human body illness is almost unknown and citizens can expect to live for two hundred and fifty years or more. Although the human physique will eventually wear out, an individual’s consciousness can be replicated in a clone or machine body, conferring a kind of immortality upon those prepared to endure it.
This close level of integration between humans and machines operates through the medium of the planet’s nanosphere. Nano‐implants seed themselves into the bodies of every human born upon on a world, binding them into the connective consciousness of the world’s machine‐minds. As a result of this connectivity the nanosphere constantly harvests data from its citizens, and collective decisions are made based upon information gathered from every human and every machine mind.
There is no one source of this decision making process. Data is analysed and sifted, predictions are made, resources allocated and people and machines directed in accordance with the IMTel’s collective understanding. The IMTel is no specific machine or machines, it is not a person or body of people, it is an amalgamation of every human thought and desire and every mechanical observation and calculation.
The Concord and Senatex are free of politics and social organisation in the sense that we would understand these things. Everyone contributes to decision making unconsciously. Decisions are reached collectively without troubling individuals for their consideration or input. Those born within IMTel societies neither have to think for themselves nor would they consider it appropriate to do so. Such knowledge as they desire or information they require is available to them and anticipated before they are even aware of their need. To their untold billions – trillions – of citizens, the Concord and Senatex are each a paradise in which citizens are free to pursue such challenges as appeal to them, cultivate their cultural and artistic skills, and explore the endless opportunities for understanding and pleasure that the IMTel offers. Driven by the collective desires, needs and anxieties of its citizens, the IMTel of a world simply does what is best for everyone.
Taking everything into the balance, the IMTel is unable to make mistakes; the IMTel is in every way the perfect society.
In the PanHuman Concord and Isorian Senatex, all are provided with the IMTel’s assessment of what they require, often without them really being aware of what it is they need or want. To anyone raised within those societies, this kind of placid acceptance comes as second nature. Trust in the IMTel is absolute throughout society. No human being is better than another – nor better than machine or alien sentience for that matter.
However, whether they are aware of it or not, some panhumans form an elite within the IMTel because the IMTel recognises them as useful to its overall functioning or finds them especially suited to undertake specific tasks. Conversely, there are those who – for whatever reason – lack full physiological compatibility with the nanosphere and who may not be entirely recognised by the IMTel. This latter group include some IMTel incompatible morphs such as Boromites.
Lack of complete integration does not prevent individuals interfacing with the IMTel, because every device, every machine and every other person they interact with serves to connect them mechanically. In this respect they are no different from anyone else, whose conscious relationship with the IMTel comes via devices, drones and other kinds of interface.
The IMTel and the NuHu
There are some whose relationship with the IMTel is especially close because their minds have evolved to work consciously with the nanosphere. They are the panhuman morphs called NuHumans or NuHu. Whilst other panhumans are unconsciously part of the IMTel the NuHu are intensely aware of its presence. It is a constant companion to them, an infinity of accompanying voices, something that is as much a part of them as their heart beat or the blood pulsing through their veins.
Born and growing up within the nanosphere of a world means that NuHu are dependant upon the IMTel to a degree far in excess of other humans. Separation from it reduces a NuHu to a cataleptic state from which few ever recover. Because of their close association with the IMTel NuHu are able to make conscious use of the nanosphere, drawing upon the energy of nanospore to manipulate objects, activate machines, or uncover the thoughts of those around them. The IMTel recognises NuHu as part of itself, as useful agents able to undertake specific tasks that require human assessment and action.
NuHu who have proven especially effective within the IMTel are often directed to serve its ends time and time again. They become fully agents of the IMTel and an elite within an elite of human society. Their integration is almost total and whether they are entirely human at all is a matter of doubt.
The NuHu are simultaneously the masters and slaves of the IMTel; individuals, but also a tiny fragment of a collective sentience; living creatures, and yet dependent upon the IMTel to survive. These extremely powerful NuHu are the Mandarins of the Concord and the Senatexis of the Isori, the human expression of the IMTel and as much part of it as any machine.
Maintaining the IMTel: a Single Shard?
Concord and Senatex spacecraft carry their own individual nanosphere, and when that craft contacts other craft or other worlds that have their own nanosphere the different nanospores mingle.
Data is transferred and information updated, and in this way the IMTel of individual nanospheres interface together and cojoin. Over the millions of worlds in the IMTel nations, this interfacing takes place as ships travel between worlds. Given the vastness of Antarean space and the time taken even to contact the millions of systems, this means that not every world’s IMTel is identical at any one time, because every world is in a process of generating data and then sharing it.
This sharing can only take place as spacecraft and their crews and cargos move from world to world. The individual nanosphere of a world, spacecraft or any isolated body is referred to as a shard, and shards can be thought of as hierarchies with smaller shards sharing informing with larger ones, and so on all the way up to the Concord or Senatex as the biggest shard of all.
The Concord and Senatex are really a collective of individual IMTels maintained in this way across millions of worlds. The IMTel nations are not deliberately expansive, but the very nature of their nanospore means they will always attempt to form a unified nanosphere. The more advanced another society is, and the more it is dependant upon its own nano‐based technologies, the more easily it is absorbed into an IMTel society. Many worlds or groups in the Determinate fear such absorption, the Algoryn Prosperate being one such faction, so build steriliser barriers around their planets and station armed fleets around their system gates.
Worlds can protect themselves against Concord nanospore by not allowing their technology to interface with it, but the Concord technology enjoys the advantage of total integration, allowing it to overcome resistance given time. The surest defence against contamination comes in the form of nanites called nanophages designed to identify and destroy unrecognised intruder nanospore. Ultimately, if sufficient Concord nanospore can be generated to become a self-sustaining shard, they will inevitably overcome any planetary defence and form a nanosphere, after which the world effectively becomes part of the PanHuman Concord.
So, perhaps the worlds of the Determinate have good reason to fear the IMTel civilisations. The IMTel itself is devoid of ambition and malice yet is intolerant and pitiless. Although IMTel technology is highly prized, contact with the IMTel nations is risks absorption: it is safest to acquire it through intermediaries such as the Freeborn who are capable of sterilising the technologies attachment to its parent IMTel.
When we consider how the PanHuman Concord and Isorian Senatex explore space, trade with other civilisations and wage war, it is important to remember that these things are all undertaken by the IMTel. The IMTel acts in the nation’s best interests, which is to say in the interest of everyone within it.