Big Damn Thread on Matter Synthesizers

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Mike
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Big Damn Thread on Matter Synthesizers

Post by Mike » Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:06 pm

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Image borrowed from https://orville.fandom.com/wiki/Matter_synthesis, all rights reserved.

Over the last two weeks there have been numerous discussions regarding the Matter Synthesizers in-use in the Alliance.

After some discussion and review, Zack's current article will be reviewed and approved/edited by Gunsight - the creative author of the Alliance. This should hopefully put an end to the questions that have been boiling out of people for the last week. They tend to be the same questions over and over, in circles. So now we're going to have a wiki article to show off for it.

The article in question is here: https://www.shattered-universe.com/doku ... ynthesizer

The article is strong enough for present use, though it may change in the future in wording, some points of content, etc. - the general theory is there.

Please place all questions here in this thread, for consideration by both authors. DO NOT bother them about it in Setting Discussion.
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Charlie Pavolav
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Re: Big Damn Thread on Matter Synthesizers

Post by Charlie Pavolav » Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:28 am

I guess I'll start?

I agree with Zack on energy to matter being extremely resource intensive both on an electrical front (power) and a machine front (the machines that do this) as well as maintenance for the machines (replacement parts, etc).

I also believe this to be a huge military weakness to rely almost totally on one method of industry to produce goods on a large scale. Any military worth their salt would immediately start using covert operatives, espionage and other covert methods to disable or destroy power plants (bribery, blackmail, intimidation, etc. These are all proven methods that work as history shows).

I understand the creative freedom argument however immersing the readers and other writers into a world will suffer for the readers who are relatively well read and scientifically literate. There are exceptions to that rule of course but we aren't talking about the exceptions.

Thus far the reasoning for the tech working and being successful is (thus far) "this isn't an issue" and "it just works".

From what I have been told the Alliance has two main issues: a lack of sizable military (relative to their size) and a lack of manpower (relative to their size).

The manpower issue seems like a self-solving problem. Any country that offers better quality of life for its citizens (such as Canada, the United States or other such countries) usually have mass immigration both legally and illegally. The Alliance has an open border policy which as it was explained to me means they will let anyone pass their borders freely.

This works. Until it doesn't. Mass immigration on a scale that large coupled with underground railroads and highly advanced smuggling techniques would likely (almost certainly) eliminate the manpower problem. In addition there seems to be a sense of pride among Alliance citizens for their nation which inevitably means most will likely work towards the greater good, further eliminating the manpower issue.

Not only that but we, as a modern country in reality, are already on the precipice of achieving self-learning artificial intelligence. If the Alliance is capable of producing goods on such a scale that want and need is no longer an issue for the citizens (of which there will be billions upon billions of millions of trillions given their size) then why hasn't the Alliance produced semi-sentient battle droids, automated drones, smart missiles and so much more to make up for this deficit much like we probably would in reality?

Then there was the issue of rolling blackouts which was explained as occuring but why would Alliance leaders not either import power (as Germany does from France) or use their replication technology to create Dyson Sphere or Dyson Swarms so that power is no longer an issue? Or mass production of ITER reactors which set an unprecedented scale of power such as the one being built in Europe which is already 50% completed and projected to power half of Europe by itself?

Another issue was that the Alliance isn't capable of creating certain elements (basically unobtainium or contrivium) due to their structure and atomical makeup. This seems good and the like but that begs another question: how do they obtain these elements? Mining in the conventional way? Automated mining equipment? Trade? Any of these has a huge potential to cripple an industry if any military commander got wind of it since the industry is likely to be small comparatively.

Then there is the issue: what keeps the Alliance from essentially spamming automated drones and autonomous warships faster than the enemy can produce them? Or simply filling space with missiles or kinetic slugs or lasers?

In short: the Alliance seems like a promising nation. But it has some development needed.
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Re: Big Damn Thread on Matter Synthesizers

Post by CadetNewb » Thu May 30, 2019 3:13 pm

I am not surprised that discussion over this has stalled considering the nature of that previous post. That aside, I'm going to try and address the things that actually belong in this thread, as well as add in some other details which we've discussed on voice for note taking purposes.

- Matter Synthesis is inefficient, but because the Alliance has the tech and the sheer amount of energy available, they use it freely
- Size and complexity are limiting factors, even with industrial sized MS devices: individual parts can be made, or even small portions, but it still has to be assembled
- Even when equipment is synthesized, it still needs to be checked for quality; with food, clothing, toys and the like, this is less an issue
- Attacking Alliance energy production systems to undermine their matter synthesis is a viable option
- Current concept of how it looks when working is that we see several 'printer heads' come down, particles of what's being assembled floating through the air to the assembly point, and the object coming together from what looks like dust: lasers and force fields guide and attach the particles into place and make it also glowy and stuff too
- Molecular synthesizers can be messed with for plot reasons, their safety protocols bypassed with appropriate effort
- Can be unlocked by govt to hand out weapons

Those are the bits we talked about and think how it works so far
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