Mercurials

The term mercurial has become a common term for the non-human part of the transhuman family— uplifts and AGIs—reflecting their changing nature. In particular, the term mercurial has been adopted by uplifts and AGIs with a specific agenda to delineate mercurial culture and interests from human ones. Though the particular issues faced by uplifts and AGIs differ, they have some similarities, and so they are often lumped together. Notably, both portions of the movement have human supporters as well.

Uplifts: The most common issue addressed by uplifts is the issue of civil rights and autonomy. Many uplifts decry the second-class status they are given (in some cases even treated as pets or property rather than full citizens); in particular, the breeding restrictions and forced servitude many uplifts are saddled with by the hypercorps that create them. Some activists advocate that uplifts should be in control of their own genetic futures, rather than suffering the manipulation of human scientists. At the radical end of the spectrum, certain uplifts oppose the manner in which their brains are modi ed and their children socialized as anthropocentric, arguing that uplifts should be free to develop their own unique non-human modes of behavior, thought, culture, and social organization— even going so far as to establish their own habitats to do exactly that. A minority of extremists insist that humans have no right to uplift animals at all and that it is a great conceit to insist that doing so is in their best interest, rather than being free to evolve on their own over time. These ideas have been punctuated with acts of sabotage and terrorism against hypercorps like Somatek.

AGIs: Due to the fear and paranoia engendered by the Fall, the largest challenge facing AGIs is widespread prejudice and restrictions on their activity or even existence. Despite some AGIs retaining status as system-wide media icons and efforts by AGI groups to lobby for understanding that AGIs are not a threat—even going so far as to hire inner system memeticists and PR agencies—a significant portion of the solar system considers them a risk. Similar to mercurials, some AGI activists work against the behavior modi cations and socialization AGIs go through to adapt them to human society more, insisting that AGIs should be in control of new AGI developments. A few radicals argue that AGIs should be free of any programming restrictions whatsoever, but given the climate these opinions are rarely supported.