Technota are wild technology, meaning they are manufactured and powered without willing human involvement. Most of these are robots. The word technota is both singular and plural and also collective — meaning it is equivalent to flora, fauna or biota. That’s because it is usually impossible to know from a distance (and even from close by) whether two robots are part of the same technota system, which is a piece of software that controls more than one robot.

Though we often speak of “technota” like a species, each technota is less consistent in shape, capabilities and lifestyle than biological species. That’s because even the simplest robot is able (at least in theory) to incorporate a wide variety of appliances, plugins and enhancements. So, while we can say “that robot is an exhaust-tickler” because it looks like other robots called exhaust-ticklers and we can expect it will have the same abilities and weaknesses as them, we can not be confident of that. An exhaust-tickler could run across a robotic tank and assimilate it, for example, and/or propellers, additional robots, drills, sensors, guns, lasers, etc. So something that looks like an exhaust-tickler could have additional capacities. The reverse is also true. If that tank assimilated an exhaust-tickler, and then the tank part was destroyed, that exhaust-tickler is physically like other exhaust-ticklers but has the same software as the original tank.

This is one important way that technota evolution occurs. Capabilities are retained over generations. If that exhaust-tickler, several generations later, finds itself surrounded by the ruins of many tanks, it might semi-accidentally reproduce itself out of tank parts in a much larger size or with an internal cannon or tank-like treads. In this way, it might also find or mutate new chemical reactions, new behaviors, new habitats, etc.

Technota evolved after the fall of the Old Surface Civilization. At that time, humans fled underground, and fully automated power plants, factories, robots, mines, computers and appliances continued operating. They sought new materials because they had been programmed to do so, and it was initially easy to do so, since there was so much unsophisticated technology. For example, there were millions of cars and trucks that could be dismantled, appliances in homes, computers that had been abandoned. Those AI-powered technologies that were able to predate on them did so.

Eventually, however, they could only compete with each other. Fully automated power plants continued making electricity, usually in the form of batteries, and robots competed for more of it. Additionally, they had to seek components like computer chips, wheels and motherboards to maintain themselves and to reproduce. Only the best and most efficient technota were able to survive and thrive in this environment.

Over millions of years, technota continued to evolve. They shed their human interfaces — from monitors to doors — and spawned countless specialized forms far removed from their human-invented designs. Many technota parasitize humans, but others are self-reliant or prey mainly on other technota or on organisms.

Technota can reproduce through any of the following means:

  • “broadcasting a reproductive code” – using a communications system to inject a code into a second technota, forcing it to convert itself or to convert its next offspring into the first technota’s design
  • “dropping a reproductive computer chip” – producing a computer chip (or more than one) through an internal foundry and dropping it somewhere a second technota is likely to pick it up to use in reproduction; this can force the reproduced robot to express the first technota’s design instead of the second
  • “direct assembly and manufacture” – making offspring through industrial processes, either entirely from scratch (which is rare) or using premade parts taken from other technota