2560 Mars Exo-Technology University

At the Chotoveli University in Al Haq / Sargodha Republic of Mars, a new research facility is established to systematically study and harness extrasolar technology: the later famous Mars Exo-Technology Faculty or MET for short.

Throughout the millennia in which humanity has utilized technology, it has predominantly engaged with its own, domestically developed tech. However, even then, there were many instances of technology adoption. Humanity was never monolithic. There were, and still, are numerous nations and societies and many of them have developed their own technologies.

But also, time and again, technology was imported from neighbors and adapted. It is assumed that clans of Stone Age humans adopted the technique of, for example, hand-ax manufacturing from other clans. The Romans copied Carthaginian five-rowed galleys and defeated their prototypes with them. Later, in the 20th century, the outsourcing of Western production to Asia encompassed countless technologies that were first replicated and then enhanced.

Foreign technology was always analyzed, replicated, and often improved upon. In the distant past, their secrets could usually be deciphered through observation or disassembly. But by the time of the 20th-century's wave of manufacturing outsourcing, very complex technologies were involved that could not simply be copied by mere observation. Rather they were accompanied by consultants who patiently trained the recipients of the technology transfer over decades.

Now, in the mid-26th century, a tidal wave of alien technologies is suddenly crashing upon humanity. These technologies are highly advanced and very alien. Originating from other species with a different biology and sometimes other ways of thinking, these new technologies, although adhering to the same natural laws, are sometimes based on laws of nature not yet known to humans. In most cases humans lack an understanding of the operational principles, architectures, and paradigms of alien technology. The gap is akin to the leap in terrestrial information technology from the binary system with semiconductor switches to Eter principles and widespread quantum hardware.

Yet, humans want to use alien technology. And not just that. They want to understand exo-technology to be able to replicate it because alien technology is expensive for it is very challenging to purchase modern devices from other species. Humanity's FTL drive technology is not yet advanced enough to travel dozens of light-years making Dilan at 13 light years the only source of exo-technology. Even journeys to Dilan are long and perilous, as the frequent loss of deep-space trade vessels shows. Moreover, from the perspective of other interstellar societies, the entire Sol system has little of value to offer, except for raw materials that are essentially ubiquitous and cheap everywhere.

Humanity so far has been able to acquire highly advanced alien technology from the Dilan beings, as they seemingly do not operate on commercial lines. However, the Dilan source has almost dried up since the so-called Dilan Incident. Only a few Dilan beings still trade with humans, and they do so very sporadically and unreliably. Since we do not understand their way of thinking, we do not even know if those still trading with us are outcasts among their people or maybe envoys tasked with dealing with "those pesky humans".

Apart from the unpredictable dealings with Dilan beings, there are occasional visits by Marui traders. With them, at least, we can communicate meaningfully. These traders bring fantastic technology into the Sol system. The arrival of a Marui trader and their auction is always a spectacular event that is noticed system wide. On these occasions, nation states, intelligence agencies, and major corporations try to outbid each other to acquire the equipment on offer. The Marui know what underdeveloped species like the humans desire. Still, Marui visits and auctions are rare. Probably because these detours into the Sol system are loss-making ventures, serving more for long-term customer development than short term profits as a Marui trader once admitted.

The scant exo-technology that humanity acquires is of immense value, whether it is traded after the long journey to the Dilan or purchased at steep prices at Marui auctions.

There are basically three reasons to buy such tech despite the price tag:

A large share quickly disappears from public view being used in covert projects for intelligence or military purposes.

Another portion of exo-technology in the Sol system is utilized to produce other high-tech equipment; high-tech with respect to the local (Solar) technology level. Such exo-technology serves as a production tool for items that could not be manufactured otherwise. A prime example of this is FTL converter adjustment gear from Dilan used to arrange the fractal surfaces of converter poles to femtometer precision.

The third reason to acquire exo-technology is to analyze it, aiming to understand and replicate it or, if that's not feasible, at least to learn its operational principles to develop innovative products.

For the latter reason, the Faculty for Exo-Technology is being established at Al Haq University on Mars with the intention of consolidating all of humanity's knowledge relevant to the analysis of exo-technology.

When analyzing foreign tech, it is essential to proceed with the utmost caution. A single misstep could lead to the complete loss of irreplaceable devices. Furthermore, extrasolar technology often possesses immense power, carrying the risk of catastrophic consequences.

The energy sources within these devices could have an energy density a thousand times greater than the Solar technology of the 26th century. If mishandled, they could inadvertently trigger a RUD, a rapid unscheduled disassembly, releasing immense amounts of energy. While there are energy storage devices and generators with capacities 10,000 times that of Solar devices, humanity usually does not get access to the best of interstellar technology. Still, even accidentally releasing 100 times the energy of 26th century tech can be devastatingly enough for the lab, for a space station or for a planetary region.

What is more, devices with built-in AI pose a risk of an AI breakout. Most operating principles of AI in exo-technology remain a mystery to humans. Especially accelerated AI might intentionally or unintentionally attempt to compromise the control plane of analytical tools, infiltrate the public network, or even physically break out. While an info breakout is not straightforward, as the Solar information technology is too primitive to support hyper-tech AI functions, accelerated AI can be highly inventive and might develop an adaptation allowing their software to run on "underdeveloped" Solar quantum hardware – who knows? To prevent this, foreign AI and devices containing management AI must be securely contained.

Extrasolar AI might also be so powerful that they do not just attempt a pure info breakout but might even seduce the involved humans into assisting them. This can be prevented by severely restricting the I/O bandwidth and always assigning multiple individuals to the analysis simultaneously, ensuring mutual oversight. These are, of course, extreme cases. Standard control AI is not hostile, often it is not even self-aware, and they usually contain AI limiters to prevent adverse behavior. But one can never be too sure if someone might slip a Trojan horse to a technologically naive species like humanity.

Furthermore, there are clear security concerns associated with nanotechnology and biotechnology. There are also indirect economic risks stemming from the introduction of new technologies. While the advantages of exo-technology are undeniable, it is essential to guard against rendering entire industrial sectors unprofitable or obsolete overnight. The introduction of such technologies could lead to economic repercussions that outweigh the advantages of increased efficiency. It is crucial to evaluate these potential consequences and consider imposing limitations if necessary.

Technical analyses are carried out across multiple sensor dimensions while efforts are made to be as minimally invasive as possible. However, if the exo-technology resists volume scans, its structure must be probed with micro-mechanical methods which – despite all goals to be non-invasive – means to inject sensors (often fractal probes) into the subject devices.

The understanding that mechanical probing, info-mapping, and field effect analysis must go hand in hand and in alignment with security measures has led to the formation of the MET's structure.

In addition to the practical analysis of many extrasolar technologies, the most significant contribution of the new research institution is the creation of a scientifically grounded and theoretically validated new discipline: the field of "Minimally Invasive Foreign Technology Reaction Diagnostics".

The new faculty includes the following departments:

  • Institute of Theoretical Diagnostics: Developing the theoretical foundations of minimally invasive foreign technology reaction diagnostics.
  • Institute for Electromagnetic Analysis (IEA): Analysis using classical E/M fields and nano-generated near fields.
  • Institute for Nanomechanical Probing and Manipulation (NPM): Infiltration of exo-hardware using nanoprobes and partial activation or deactivation of internal components through nano-actuators, often with fractal scanning tips.
  • Institute for Mechanical Diagnostics and Kinematics (MDK): Evaluation of mechanical aspects, sensitivity to shock and sound, assessment of mechanical outputs of systems, acoustic depth scans, and mechanical resilience for both civilian and military applications.
  • Institute for Exotic Information Systems and Architecture (Ei): Analysis of data and processing architecture of foreign systems and creation of interfaces.
  • Department of Information Interaction (II): Infotech infiltration and inside-out mapping of foreign systems supported by automated prioritization of data areas.
  • Department of Technical Documentation (Doc): Documentation of hardware and software interfaces, translation of user manuals into human languages and creation of a database for foreign technology concepts and terminology.
  • Institute for Energy Generation and Storage (EMC2): Investigation of energy sources of foreign systems, analysis of storage technology and energy transmission, and creation of energy interfaces for continuous local operation.
  • Society for Nuclear Energy Management (NucEM): Research on autonomous and integrated fusion reactors and techniques for direct energy conversion, plus the analysis of fusion cell technologies.
  • Department of Interdisciplinary Inference (I2): Exchange of information between institutes, analysis of the state of technology, and knowledge synthesis through automated inference.
  • Institute for Risk Management (RISK): Risk management for interstellar systems and concepts, with several working groups:
  • Capacity and Performance Estimation (EnCap): Investigation of the energy capacity of systems and associated risks.
  • Biological Security (BioSec): Research on biological and biochemical mechanisms concerning contamination of solar ecologies.
  • Sociocultural Anthropology and Economic Relevance (SocAnt): Forecasting and evaluation of the impacts of deploying foreign technology on society, focusing on technical and economic transformation.
  • Several groups in the field of information and nano security:
  • Cross Channel Interference Working Group (XChi, occasionally called XX): Investigation of infections through extraordinary channels, especially optoacoustic coupling, anthropological manipulation, i.e., analysis of potential subversion of human users by foreign AI.
  • Department for Advanced Walling Technologies (AWT): Provision of firewall, sandbox, simulator technologies, and hardened AI for the investigating institutes, including a rapid intervention team to combat info-infections.
  • Department of Nanoboxing (NQubed): Safety in micro and nanotechnology, secure containment of exotic nano-systems, with a small mobile task force designed to contain nano-breakouts, colloquially known as the "Ghostbusters".

The MET partners with a wide range of entities from both industrial and military research. It is primarily funded by third-party projects seeking to integrate exo-technologies into their products. Yet, MET's theoretical and practical analysis techniques also hold significant value for reverse engineering in general. Specifically, the Institute for Theoretical Diagnostics, by establishing technology analysis as a scientific method, elevates the practice of reverse engineering among competing firms in the Solar economy to unprecedented levels.

Various military organizations and intelligence agencies are also interested in a wide range of MET research, such as

  • the results of the MDK in high-energy kinetics,
  • new techniques of automated infiltration from the II,
  • AWT's firewalls, and
  • creative manipulation methods of XChi.

For inference, I2 uses the Tauneunjot, a hyper-parallel AI from KOMSEC of the Sargodha Republic. Tauneunjot is one of the top 10 inference machines in the Sol system. While it officially belongs to the civilian Center for Knowledge Processing of the Ahamad Society, it was funded by KOMSEC and is exclusively used by I2.

There is a multilateral dependency between the MET and its clients. MET relies not just on publicly accessible technology but also on the most recent experimental and even classified technologies from various actors. MET's research builds on humanity's latest findings and further improves on them through the insights provided by the analysis of alien technology.

The MET is distributed throughout the Mars system. Most institutes are located on Mars, within territories and enclaves of the Sargodha Republic. Security-sensitive areas are situated far away from population centers. NQube and Firewall are located in dedicated stations in Mars orbit. Parts of EMC2 and NucEM are outsourced to asteroids near Mars and the analytical section of BioSec is an extraterritorial area in modules from Jiadasha in the Huayuan Tiankong Cluster.