Trope-a-Day: Mega Corp

Mega Corp: Oh, quite a few.  (Well, bearing in mind the cultural, demographic, and technological differences that mean that while an Earthly multinational might hit millions of employees, its Imperial counterpart probably has a couple of dozen executives, a large computronium core, and millions of jobs being done by subcontractors, sub-sub-contractors, etc., or “on-bounty”.)

The canonical list in the Empire and nearby, the “Big 26” starcorporations, are usually given as:

All Good Things, ICC – retailing

Artifice Armaments, ICC – firearms, heavy weapons, military vehicles, and defense technologies

Atalant Materials, ICC – mining, refining, and nanoslurry production

Biogenesis Technologies, ICC – neogenic organisms, biotech products and bioshells

Biolith Chemical Products, ICC – bactries and organochemicals

Bright Shadow, ICC – computers (including expert systems and thinkers), telecommunications equipment, and infotech

Cognitech, ICC – cognitive science, psychedesign, nootropics, and sophotechnology

Consolidated Mutual Mitigation and Surety, ICC – insurance underwriting and ancillary legal services

Crystal Flame, ICC – immortality (noetic backup archiving and insurance)

Databeat, ICC – major cycle brokerage and information furnace rental org

Ecogenetics, ICC – ecopoesis, living systems, environmental services, and bio-architecture

Enjoyment Unbounded, ICC – entertainment and luxury goods

Experia, ICC – entertainment and media (watchvid, InVid, slinky, and virtuality)

Extropa Energy, ICC – energy production and distribution, antimatter production, and fuels

Gilea and Company, ICC – banking, investments, and futures markets

Llyn Standard Manufacturing, ICC – cornucopias and industrial-scale production

Prosperity Nexus, ICC – investment, fund management, and commercial banking

Ring Dynamics, ICC – stargates (construction, maintenance and leasing)

Riverside Eubiosis Foundation, ICC – pharmaceuticals and health and medical services

Service Gate, ICC – contract matching and labor allocation

Stellar Express, ICC – delivery services, interstellar logistics, supply chains, and shipping

Systemic Integrated Technologies, ICC – robotics, automation, and infrastructure technology

Telememe, ICC – news, statistics, demographics, data mining and information research

Traders in Ideation, ICC – information brokerage, rights management services and data warehousing

Ultimate Argument Risk Control, ICC – security services, military contracting, and mercenary brokerage

Vermilion Harvest, ICC – agriculture, silviculture, carniculture, and bioproducts

…but there are several others that compete close to these leagues – exactly which are named depends on who precisely you’re talking to.

Given the nature of the setting, of course, the traditional unremittingly negative portrayal of business in fiction is utterly averted, and the Big 26 receive the respect they deserve as the mighty prosperity-generating engines that they are.  But then, in their home markets, the free market actually is a free market, so they never had the opportunity to discover corrupt business strategies of monopoly, rent-seeking, and regulating the competition out of business, even if they didn’t tend to be run by people who are every bit as ideological as everyone else in the vicinity.

(Well, not that this opinion is shared by everyone.  Gilea & Co. and UARC, in particular, tend to attract some opprobrium elsewhere in the Associated Worlds, particularly in places that don’t appreciate the absolute sacredness of contract in Imperial ethics, Gilea & Co.’s policy of not recognizing any special difference between “states” and its regular commercial customers, and – especially – its willingness to pursue “asset realization” after a sovereign default with however many of UARC’s finest mercs it takes to impress upon the customer that when they do the job, they always get paid.  But that’s not the mainstream opinion at home.)

As a side note, while it is by no means a conventional corporation, the Imperial Charter makes use of much of the traditional structure of a joint-stock corporation in the Imperial government, such as it is – its citizens, for example, are citizen-shareholders in the technical lingo, and the traditional style of the Imperial Couple includes “Chief Executive Officers of the Imperium Incorporate” – so you could make a convincing argument that the Empire is, in quite a few senses, the biggest Mega Corp of them all.

Gestalt Abstract

IMPERIAL PATENT #S/1AA882B4 / issued 3092-11-10
METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR LIMITED-PARTY TEMPORARY GROUP MIND (“CONFLUX”) CONNECTIVITY

Creator: Essene Steamweaver, <Adagio in Gray>, & Conflux Development Initiative
(sub. Exogenesis, ICC)
Holder: Cognitech, ICC
Expiry: 3104-11-09

Ref.:

Previous patents: #S/1AA8247A, #S/1AA85223, #S/1AA86386
Exogenesis internal documents: [redacted]

Primary examiner: Lorith Oricalcios-ith-Oricalcios

Abstract:

The conflux state is one in which many mind-states each incorporating the conflux extensions described herewithin operate temporarily as a single multithreaded mind-state distributed across multiple cogence cores, utilizing the extensions to the gnostic link protocol described in patent #S/1AA86386.

Such extensions permit full sharing of talent functionality, sensory awareness, and narrative thread of consciousness (this latter operating in a similar manner to the “Noetic Whisper” techlepathic system described in patent #S/11A8247A), while not permitting conflux constitutional mind-states unmediated access to each others’ personal memory strings. Additional in this design is sharing of agency via a distributed arbitration protocol based on the open-source cyberdemocratic voting system described in [redacted], suppressing individual ‘shell control (except for the choice to withdraw from the conflux) and operating all ‘shells under the control of constitutional mind-states in accordance with the coherent extrapolated common volition of the conflux entire. In combination, these permit a gestalt intelligence to form.

The pooled cognitive bandwidth of such a gestalt, when stable and functioning optimally, can exceed that of the baseline members by a factor trending towards n^2/n, and its mutual coordination capacity by a factor trending towards n^2. The applications in many fields requiring high cognitive bandwidth and/or coordination should be obvious.

Headlines: A Day in the Worlds

The Imperial Infoclast
Supplementing Your Memeplex Since 2042

EMPIRE

Sidar Colony Celebrates Ecopoesis Bicentennial
The Sidar Colony in the Principalities will celebrate the 288th anniversary of the initiation of its ecopoesis program next month, with a series of low-lying valleys being opened to habitation for the first time by unmodified colonists.

Eleven Temporarily Killed In Solar Sailing Accident
This year’s Meridia Cup ends in tragedy as an unpredicted coronal mass ejection wrecks five of the competing solar sailers.

WORLDS

Presidium Condemns Trikhad Conquest
The Presidium of the Conclave has unanimously condemned the military expansion program of the Trikhad Conquest in the Tanion Wilds. Sources close to the Presidium suggest that containment action may be in preparation.

Piracy Again Rising In Dark Sea Constellation
Unusual shipping movements around the ruins of Litash may indicate a rebirth of the pirate syndicates that once controlled the area, INI warns.

Republic Delegation Protests Uncontrolled Exports, Smuggling
In a now annual tradition, a delegation from the Voniensa Republic protested the uncontrolled filtration of technologies and other artifacts across their border with the Associated Worlds. The protest was heard by the Conclave, who expressed sympathy but regretted once again that the situation was beyond their power to address.

BUSINESS

A Probable Discovery, or A Probable Bubble?
Shares in Probable Technology, ICC (ticker: PROBL) jumped 21 points on the Seranth Exchange today based on unconfirmed rumors that their relativistic xenoarchaeological expedition beyond the rimward Periphery has reported a major find. While the company itself has refused to comment on the rumors, many usually knowledgeable investors seem unusually bullish on this stock today.

ENTERTAINMENT

Anticipation Rises As Aelaviel Fashion Show Opens
Expectations are high on Seranth this week as the 187th Aelaviel Fashion Show opens in Mer Dinévál, especially since last week’s leaked news that several major fashion houses have contracted vector control engineers and swarm roboticists. Join the Infoclast’s memeweaves for real-time, on-the-spot, full-sensory reporting!

“Ah, Yes, The People”, Triumphs, Flops
As expected by most critics, the palace farce which mercilessly satirizes galactic politicians from core to rim, while a runaway success in the Accord’s most notoriously libertist polities, freesoil worlds and independent drifts, proved unpopular elsewhere.  Nevertheless, after pulling in 3.9 billion exvals in its opening week, the producers are laughing all the way to the bank.

TECHNOLOGY

Cognitech, ICC Announces Breakthrough In Bulk Mnemonesis
New advances in axiom feeds and neural imprinting may double the speed of synthetic learning.

OPINION

Point: It’s Time To Crush The Militarists
“The recent expansionism by the Trikhad Conquest only goes to reinforce that we, as the responsible members of galactic civilization, simply can’t afford to let these dangerous idiots and the rest of the Interstellar League of Tribal Chiefdoms run around loose.”  Cail Amanyr-ith-Velcyr, doyen of the belligerati, makes the case for preemptive action to prevent the wars that always seem to accompany the introduction of certain types of society to the galactic neighborhood.