History Main / BlackBox

13th Jul '17 12:25:10 PM Malady
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* "In the center of every [=ANIMa=] creche lies a scavenged piece of an alien's brain. It's possible that this is the only thing that an [=ANIMa=] requires to function, and that the rest of the machine is there to inspire more confidence on the part of the pilots." - ''BlissStage: Ignition Stage'' rulebook
* In the ''TabletopGame/{{Eberron}}'' campaign setting of the ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' roleplaying game, black box magic was used to develop the warforged through schemas, which are essentially magical blueprints conveniently left behind by an ancient giant civilization. It turns out (in the ''Secrets of Xen'drik'' supplement) that it was [[spoiler:an attempt by an ancient extradimensional race to escape to our world from the realm of dreams by creating artificial bodies]], though this doesn't explain why modern warforged are fully sentient and appear to have souls (it does explain why the bodies can easily contain souls, but considering [[spoiler: the aforementioned extradimensional race is active on another continent and using specially bred mostly-humans for on-demand possession]] exactly where their souls are coming from is another question...).

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* "In the center of every [=ANIMa=] creche lies a scavenged piece of an alien's brain. It's possible that this is the only thing that an [=ANIMa=] requires to function, and that the rest of the machine is there to inspire more confidence on the part of the pilots." - ''BlissStage: ''TabletopGame/BlissStage: Ignition Stage'' rulebook
rulebook.
* In the ''TabletopGame/{{Eberron}}'' campaign setting of the ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' roleplaying game, black box magic was used to develop the warforged through schemas, which are essentially magical blueprints conveniently left behind by an ancient giant civilization. It turns out (in the ''Secrets of Xen'drik'' supplement) that it was [[spoiler:an attempt by an ancient extradimensional race to escape to our world from the realm of dreams by creating artificial bodies]], though this doesn't explain why modern warforged are fully sentient and appear to have souls (it does explain why the bodies can easily contain souls, but considering [[spoiler: the [[spoiler:the aforementioned extradimensional race is active on another continent and using specially bred mostly-humans for on-demand possession]] exactly where their souls are coming from is another question...).



* As a borderline ScavengerWorld, ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'''s Imperium of Man has some examples of this. A great deal of technological knowledge has been lost over the millennia, and as a result many of the devices lovingly-maintained by the rituals of the [[MachineCult Adeptus Mechanicus]] are irreplaceable ancient relics. One example would be the Standard Template Construct systems, self-contained manufacturing programs that can produce anything from medicine to battle tanks to knives - they're some of the most valuable treasures in the galaxy, and the Imperium eagerly uses them whenever one is discovered, but nobody has any clue how they function and certainly isn't going to risk cracking one open to find out.

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* As a borderline ScavengerWorld, ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'''s ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'''s Imperium of Man has some examples of this. A great deal of technological knowledge has been lost over the millennia, and as a result many of the devices lovingly-maintained by the rituals of the [[MachineCult Adeptus Mechanicus]] are irreplaceable ancient relics. One example would be the Standard Template Construct systems, self-contained manufacturing programs that can produce anything from medicine to battle tanks to knives - they're some of the most valuable treasures in the galaxy, and the Imperium eagerly uses them whenever one is discovered, but nobody has any clue how they function and certainly isn't going to risk cracking one open to find out.



** A nonhuman example would be the Blackstone Fortresses of the [[BattlefleetGothic Gothic Sector]], a sextet of ancient space stations left behind by an extinct alien race. The [=AdMech=] were able to patch into the stations' power systems and hook up their own weapons and life-support, but nobody was sure of the things' function... until [[GalacticConqueror Abaddon the Despoiler]] showed up with some artifacts of his own and fully activated the Blackstone Fortresses, deploying guns that tore holes in space-time and could make suns go nova. [[spoiler: They were created by the Eldar's forge gods as a means to harness Warp-energy to destroy the C'tans.]]

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** A nonhuman example would be the Blackstone Fortresses of the [[BattlefleetGothic Gothic Sector]], a sextet of ancient space stations left behind by an extinct alien race. The [=AdMech=] were able to patch into the stations' power systems and hook up their own weapons and life-support, but nobody was sure of the things' function... until [[GalacticConqueror Abaddon the Despoiler]] showed up with some artifacts of his own and fully activated the Blackstone Fortresses, deploying guns that tore holes in space-time and could make suns go nova. [[spoiler: They [[spoiler:They were created by the Eldar's forge gods as a means to harness Warp-energy to destroy the C'tans.]]
2nd Jul '17 11:30:52 AM SpacemanSpoof
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[[folder:Advertising]]
* A particularly amusing example from pharmaceutical advertising (emphasis added): "Fibromyalgia ''is thought to be'' the result of overactive nerves. Lyrica ''is believed to'' calm these nerves." In other words, we don't really know how our drug works or even what your disease is, but please buy it anyway!
[[/folder]]
28th Jun '17 6:43:22 AM DarkHunter
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* In the ''Franchise/MassEffect'' series, the Citadel and mass relays are thought to be built by the Protheans. Humans and other races use them, though their inner workings and construction are poorly understood, and any attempt ''to'' understand them is regarded as an exercise in futility. [[spoiler:It turns out that a race of AbusivePrecursors, the Reapers, were the real builders of these wonders, and the Protheans were just barely figuring out the technology themselves when they were wiped out.]]

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* In the ''Franchise/MassEffect'' series, the ''Franchise/MassEffect''
** The
Citadel and mass relays are thought to be built by the Protheans. Humans and other races use them, though their inner workings and construction are poorly understood, and any attempt ''to'' understand them is regarded as an exercise in futility. [[spoiler:It turns out that a race of AbusivePrecursors, the Reapers, were the real builders of these wonders, and the Protheans were just barely figuring out the technology themselves when they were wiped out.]]



*** But wait, it gets even worse than that! [[spoiler: In the original plans for the series, as in before Mass Effect 3 was developed, the motive behind the Reapers was that the Mass Effect phenomenon, upon which all modern technology is predicated, has an entropic effect on the universe, causing stars to die more quickly and presumably hastening the inevitable, final heat death of existence. The Reapers were aware of it and were harvesting sentient species the moment they became intelligent enough that they could work on solutions, but before their societies become too detrimental.]]

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*** ** But wait, it gets even worse than that! [[spoiler: In the original plans for the series, as in before Mass Effect 3 was developed, the motive behind the Reapers was that the Mass Effect phenomenon, upon which all modern technology is predicated, has an entropic effect on the universe, causing stars to die more quickly and presumably hastening the inevitable, final heat death of existence. The Reapers were aware of it and were harvesting sentient species the moment they became intelligent enough that they could work on solutions, but before their societies become too detrimental.]]


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** ''VideoGame/MassEffectAndromeda'' has a similar situation with the Remnant Vaults. The Andromeda Initiative finds out pretty quickly that the Vaults are able to terraform entire planets, which is very good because the planets they had intended to settle had been environmentally ruined by [[NegativeSpaceWedgie the Scourge]]. But nobody has a clue ''how'' any of the Remnant technology actually works, and the dangers of relying on it are pointed out.
25th Jun '17 2:52:03 PM Phantom707
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** On the other hand, anyone with a basic understanding of motivation and incentive will know very few people would even want to produce such technology in the first place without some protections because it it would just get stolen otherwise.
22nd Jun '17 3:20:37 PM zarpaulus
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* ''Webcomic/{{Drive}}'': The human Empire's Ring Drive, only members of "la Familia" who rule the Empire are even allowed to see the inner workings, and they don't know how it works, just how to maintain or duplicate it, because their ancestor reverse-engineered it from a crashed alien ship.
13th Jun '17 11:26:54 PM jormis29
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* Syrneth artifacts in the ''SeventhSea'' RPG setting are an intentional use of this trope. Syrneth technology doesn't just do whatever is convenient; the results of humans tinkering with it can have effects ranging from miraculous to horrendous, and sometimes no effect at all.

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* Syrneth artifacts in the ''SeventhSea'' ''TabletopGame/SeventhSea'' RPG setting are an intentional use of this trope. Syrneth technology doesn't just do whatever is convenient; the results of humans tinkering with it can have effects ranging from miraculous to horrendous, and sometimes no effect at all.



* Subverted in ''{{Exalted}}''. Many of the great and wondrous artifacts ''can'' be understood... it's just that most of the great designers would have been among the Solar Exalted, who were murdered and had their Exaltations sealed away so they couldn't reincarnate. It doesn't help that the Solars specifically designed many artifacts to only function for Solars... because they never imagined there would be a time when they weren't around.

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* Subverted in ''{{Exalted}}''.''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}''. Many of the great and wondrous artifacts ''can'' be understood... it's just that most of the great designers would have been among the Solar Exalted, who were murdered and had their Exaltations sealed away so they couldn't reincarnate. It doesn't help that the Solars specifically designed many artifacts to only function for Solars... because they never imagined there would be a time when they weren't around.
13th Jun '17 8:07:58 AM Gigabic
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* The ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'' classifies objects into three broad categories: Safe, Euclid, and Keter. Safe objects' properties are researched enough that the foundation knows what the object does, even if it's not completely understood ''why'' it works. Most "black boxes" would fall into this category, since the input and output are stable. Note that here, "Safe" means "understood", ''not'' "non-dangerous".

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* The ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'' classifies objects into three broad categories: Safe, Euclid, and Keter. Safe objects' properties are researched enough that the foundation knows what the object does, even if it's not completely understood ''why'' it works. Most "black boxes" would fall into this category, since the input and output are stable. Note that here, "Safe" means "understood", "understood" and "easy to contain", ''not'' "non-dangerous".
10th Jun '17 5:00:06 AM tesseractTheDevourer
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* In topology diagrams used by computer network admins, a part of the network whose internal structure is unknown or irrelevant is represented by a cloud. A site to site WAN linking two corporate sites, such as an internet VPN tunnel or private WAN are good examples. The admin doesn't have to worry about what technologies are used internally within the cloud; they just care that it gets packets from one side to the other. This is where the term "cloud computing" comes from.
25th May '17 10:48:10 PM TheNicestGuy
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* Black boxes, often by that name, are used as an important learning tool in signal processing. The idea is that you give a student a way to produce a variety of inputs (oscillators, noise generators), a suite of measuring tools (oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers), and a black box. By applying different inputs, taking measurements, and applying the signal processing principles they've been taught, they try to infer exactly what's inside the black box. With enough constraints on the parameters (e.g., "This will only contain amplifiers and attenuators, because we haven't learned about filters yet.") the black box can become simply a logic puzzle.
13th Apr '17 5:05:23 PM nombretomado
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* In ''SinsOfASolarEmpire'', the Advent field Phase Inhibitors stolen from the TEC, who use Phase Inhibitors captured from the Vasari. . . who ''also'' don't know how Phase Inhibitors work, and simply field copies of ones that ''they'' found.

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* In ''SinsOfASolarEmpire'', ''VideoGame/SinsOfASolarEmpire'', the Advent field Phase Inhibitors stolen from the TEC, who use Phase Inhibitors captured from the Vasari. . . who ''also'' don't know how Phase Inhibitors work, and simply field copies of ones that ''they'' found.
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