Augmentations – WW3 vastly increased the pace of innovation in cyberware and bioware, and unfortunately also created a vast market of hundreds of millions who needed prosthetics. The biggest advance has been in the perfection of the direct neural interface, allowing easy, direct brain control of any microcomponents.
Photonics – the scalar limits of traditional electronics have been overcome by breakthroughs in photonic buses and quantum computing. This coupled with embedded computing elements within every structure have promoted ambient networks and supported the free-roaming AIs we see today.
Artificial Intelligences – sometimes known as Monads, aeai or xiang zheng, these self-aware infomorphs have become ubiquitous in advanced countries and even run some city-states such as Singapore, Chongqing, New York and San Angeles.
Ambient Mesh Networks – not only is network connectivity ubiquitous, but so is computing power and storage, distributed across the landscape in self-repairing mesh networks that can be accessed anywhere, anytime by the average citizen through haptic interfaces and phantomics without the need for personal computer hardware. Only netrunners, with their special, illegal, custom-built cyberdecks, still need hardware on their physical person. Processing mass is now provided on-demand as a utility service in the same way as electricity or water.
Cyberdecks – these are mostly illegal or highly-restricted military network warfare minicores that run software attack programs known as modules to penetrate and subvert computer systems. Netrunner cyberdecks are custom-built using special chip burners and cookers, which imprint hacking utilities onto custom ASICs.
The Overnet – after the destruction of the first internet during WW3, the fledgling World Network Organization rebuilt it on a secure computing base and partitioned it based on national boundaries. International traffic is restricted except for the purpose of trade or under special net visa arrangements. National jurisdictions are known as Grids and regional ones – such as the Asian Concord controlled by Great China – are known as Zones. For most people think the overnet is an augmented reality overlay that permeates their life but is mostly local in content.
Phantomics – powerful holographic projectors that target the retina and provide touch sensation via directed induction allow for a completely illusory experience in any major location in the city or even in the privacy of your own home. The effect is so strong and habit forming that some people live in a perpetual bubble of imaginary landscapes and information flows, hardly aware of the original hard reality around them. Rooms can be reconfigured, made to look like exotic jungles or utopian idylls and any unpleasantness can be digitally edited out.
The Groundscan – the advent of ubiquitous sensors scattered across the face of the Earth has allowed governments and other powerful organizations to scan almost every centimetre of the surface and process that information into a coherent picture of activity everywhere, restricted only by the barriers of the overnet’s rival jurisdictions. The open version of this panopticon is known as the Registry, and is publicly available in liberal democracies.
Chimerics – genetic engineering has advanced to the point where genefixing techniques are commonly applied in advanced countries and the genetic manipulation of animals for specialized purposes is fairly common, though violently resisted by animal rights groups such as BioLiberty. Strange chimeric combinations such as the suicide-bomber camo-panthers used in the War have been outlawed by the global genetic control organization known as Biocontrol (under the governance of the World Court), but innocuous or beneficial genemods such as black solar power producing palm trees and rainbow-colored household pets are fairly common.