Eclipse Phase | AUSTIN, TEXAS | 2015-2019 A.D.
The Sapient Initiative
THE SAPIENT INITIATIVE
“ With adoption of the SAPIENT system, the confusing array of different legal recognitions will finally have a coherent thread, and we will have a powerful tool to combat the growing problem of identity theft that threatens the security and emotional safety of the public. ”
— Desideria Perestrelo, Special Secretary on Social Justice, Lunar-Lagrange Alliance, in a speech to the Consortium’s Planetary Congress
Begun in AF3 as a response to the massive social confusion in the aftermath of the Fall, the Self-Aware Personality/Intelligence/Ego Novel Tag (SAPIENT) Initiative was an effort by the Erato colony government on Luna to consolidate and organize personal information for refugees. Lacking the resources to verify identity claims, particularly for newly sleeved infugees, social services and local government were struggling under a rash of lawsuits from credit account property heir claims to indenture contract disputes. Attempts to coordinate ID information and verification between habitats repeatedly broke down and suffered from ongoing political disputes.
Grown out of sheer necessity, SAPIENT was the first ID program to gain widespread traction among multiple habitats and has since grown into a significant interplanetary socio-legal network. Various Lunar-Lagrange Alliance habitats were early adopters, with several Consortium-aligned colonies also signing up to ease the transition of their own infugee populations. Despite official endorsements by both the LLA and Planetary Consortium, and even implementation by most of their aligned habitats, neither political bloc enforces the initiative on their members. While some habitats rely solely on SAPIENT, others employ it in coordination with their own private systems. More than a few stations refuse to work with the network out of principle, stating either a desire for local procedural autonomy or disagreement with the initiative’s standards (notably, some habitats refuse to acknowledge the legal standing of uplifts and/or AGIs, which they claim the initiative enforces). It is not uncommon for private sole hypercorp-owned habitats to rely on their own ID systems as well.
There is currently a major push in the inner system to have all major polities and habitats adopt the SAPIENT ID program as a common transgovernmental personal identifier. Proponents argue that it defends against impersonation, establishes a common standard for fork identification, allows for a smoother transition of infugees back into society, increases security by making it harder for criminals and subversives to operate, and saves time and resources for all authorities involved. Various uplift groups have spoken in favor of the project, as it further enables their recognition as citizens and provides them a modicum of legal protection. The Consortium’s Oversight is also lending its weight to the initiative as an effective tool for countering external threats and corruption. Detractors claim that it impinges on personal freedom by providing no opt-out option from the data sharing between habitat and commercial organizations and creates a system where habitat governments would be forced to recognize some egos differently than they would like. Some postulate wilder suggestions of hypercorp, Factor, or TITAN conspiracies.
SAPIENT has widely been rejected by Morningstar Constellation affiliates, though the Venusians are laying the groundwork for their own alternative. Though some outer system habitats have signed up, none of the major stations have. The Jovians already have an ID system of their own (with a much heavier emphasis on biometrics), the Titanians have a lightweight system for their Plurality, and most anarchists and brinkers scoff at the notion. For some, the idea of being tracked in a universal system simply offends their sense of individual rights. With the current ability to change who and where you are at a moment’s notice, an immutable marker of their identity beyond their control is appalling. Isolates frequently espouse this view, though some philosophical adherents to multiplicity and individualist memes feel the same.
“ It will make record-keeping much easier, our demographics division will get much better customer data, and we can get favor with the pols for early adoption. The only thing I don’t like about it is that we didn’t come up with it first. ”
— Xue Dingxiang, EVP of Marketing, Solaris
For the majority of transhumanity, the SAPIENT program offers a way to better organize information and protect oneself from identity theft. Years of living with and actively participating in comprehensive surveillance have changed expectations. A system to unify the current patchwork of ID databases into a cohesive and simple format is seen as a social good. As the majority of the transhuman population already lives and works in the inner system under Consortium and LLA banners, the SAPIENT Initiative is widely viewed as an inevitability and debate focuses on specifics of implementation.
Though there are social issues regarding citizenship and personhood rights for uplifts, AGIs, and forks, most see those as problems to resolve rather than reasons to oppose the program itself. On Luna particularly, the program is seen as a huge opportunity to organize and better catalog the millions of egos still in cold storage from the Fall. Assigning all inactive egos a static SAP ID and entering it into the general database allows for easier identification of friends and loved ones for rescue, a way to avoid abuses of indenture where copies of one ego are sold to multiple parties while the original is kept on ice, and a sound legal start to personhood for newly instanced infugees.