Beyond the Black
The mesh, as it exists in Eclipse Phase, is only possible thanks to major developments made in computer and communication technologies and nanofabrication. Wireless radio transmitters and receivers are so unobtrusively tiny that they can literally be factored into anything. As a result, everything is computerized and connected, or at least tagged with a radio frequency ID (RFID) chip. Even food is tagged with edible chips, complete with expiration date and nutritional content. Other communications mediums, such as laser and microwave links, add to the information flow.
Data storage technology has advanced to such high levels that even an individual user’s surplus storage capacity can maintain an amount of information easily surpassing the entire 20th-century internet. Lifeloggers can literally record every moment of their life and never fear about running out of room. The amount of data that people carry around in the mesh inserts in their head or in portable ecto personal computers is staggering.
Processing capabilities also exist at hyper-efficient levels. Even massive supercomputers are a thing of the past when modest handheld devices can fulfill almost all of your needs, even while simultaneously running a personal AI assistant, downloading media, uploading porn, and scanning thousands of newsfeeds. Within the mesh network, devices that near their processing limits simply share the burden with devices around them, creating a massively distributed framework that in some ways is like an entire supercomputer to itself, shared by everyone.
Similarly, transmission capacity now far exceeds most citizens’ definition of need. Anyone born within the last several generations has always lived in a world in which hyper-realistic, multi-sensory media of nearly any length is available for instantaneous download or upload from anywhere. Massive databases and archives are copied back and forth with ease. Bandwidth is such a non-issue that most people forget it ever was. In fact, given the sheer amount of data available, finding the information or media you’re looking for takes considerably longer than downloading it. The mesh is also never down. As a decentralized network, if any one device is taken offline, connections merely route around it, finding a path via the thousands if not millions of available nodes. Similarly, the entire mesh behaves like a peer-to-peer network, so that large transfers are broken into manageable chunks that take independent routes. In fact, most users maintain personal torrent archives that are publicly accessible and shared.
Private networks still exist, of course. Some are physically walled away behind closed-access wired networks or even wireless-inhibiting infrastructure that keep a network isolated and contained. Most, however, operate on top of the public mesh, using encrypted tunneling protocols that provide private and secure communications over unsecured networks. In other words, these private networks are part of the mesh along with everything else, but only the participants can interact with them thanks to encryption, user authentication and message integrity checking.
With the factionalization of transhumanity, attempts to unify software into standard formats have still failed. However, different operating systems or protocols are rarely an obstacle anymore due to easily accessible conversion tools and AI-aided compatibility oversight.
Information At Your Fingertips
The following information is always available for most mesh users in a normal habitat:
- Local maps showing your current location, annotated with local features of personal interest (according to your personal preferences and filters) and your distance from them/directions to them. Details regarding private and restricted areas (government/ hypercorp areas, maintenance/security infrastructure, etc.) are usually not included.
- Current habitat life support (climate) conditions including atmosphere composition, temperature.
- Current solar system and habitat orbit maps with trajectory plots, communication delays.
- Local businesses/services, directions, and details.
- Public search engines, databases, mesh sites, blogs, forums, and archives, along with new content alerts.
- Syndicated public newsfeeds in a variety of formats, filtered according to your preferences.
- Sensor/spime (mostly audio-visual) feeds from any public area of the habitat.
- Private network resources (including tactical nets).
- Automatic searches for new online references to your name and other subjects of interest.
- E-tags pertaining to local people, places, or things.
- Facial/image recognition searches of public mesh/archives to match a photo/vid still.
- Morph status indicators (medical and/or mechanical): blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, white cell count, nutrient levels, implant status and functionality, etc.
- Location, functionality, sensor feeds, and status reports of your possessions (via sensors and transmitters in these possessions).
- Access to one’s life-spanning personal audio-visual/XP archive.
- Access to one’s life-spanning personal file archive (music, software, media, documents, etc.).
- Credit account status and transactions.
- Communications account status: calls, messages, files, etc.
- Reputation score and feedback.
- Social network status, friend updates.
- Updated event calendar and alerts.
- The public social network profiles of those around you.
- The location and status of those nearby and involved in the same AR games as you.