The Law of Emergent Potential


Far and away the most famous principle of Technomancy, the Law of Emergent Potential directly defines how technomagical attunement functions. The basic underpinnings of Emergent Potential were first discovered by Dr. Nathan Gerson who then went on to codify and determine the first educated applications of the Law.(*)

In examining the nature of the empowered machines some humans could reliably make, Dr. Gerson recognised similarities between these machines and items altered through zoomorph attunement magic. He noticed the same kind of resonant patterns and some similarities in the process in which machines were attuned. Dr. Gerson came to the conclusion that humans could tap into some kind of phenomenal energy source. This energy seemed to defy the laws of entropy and function on a level past the current understanding of science and metaphysics.

From there Dr. Gerson eventually came to discover that the energy within humans was not energy at all but a channeling of some kind of basic conceptual force. He likened this at first to the Potential Energy of an object but later dropped the word “energy” since it was superflous and inaccurate. This last break is what allowed Dr. Gerson to truly understand Technomancy. He could see that what humans were doing was infusing and manipulating the potential uses and possibilities of objects that they created. This strengthening of an object's essential meaning somehow made it seem realer and more effective at being whatever it was supposed to be.


Since Potential will divide evenly into all available Foci, an extremely limited set of Foci means that the total Potential applied into each will be quite high. This principle is why a hammer is a better at driving nails into wood than a metal slab. But it still couldn't explain why some machines were several orders of magnitude more effective than a different machine set to the same purpose.

How were humans doing this?

They were infusing their own potential into objects with so few possible Foci that the only result was for something miraculous to happen: the infused object would eventually develop, learn or be discovered to have additional functions while the value for the amount of Potential applied to the object's original Focus or set of Foci remained the same. That is, the object appeared to somehow create Potential all on its own. Dr. Gerson discovered that human Potential was so vast that incredible amounts of it could be dedicated into an object with no observable side-effect to the technomancer. All that was required was knowledge and at least some magical ability.(**)

From this phenomenon, Dr. Gerson wrote the first discovered but ultimately Second Law of Technomancy:

When Enough Potential is shunted into a single- or multiple-Focus- system, that system will tend to generate enough Effect to create or appear to create new branches of Potential within the system.


From there the race was on to create a meaningful unit of measure for Potential, Focus and their product. It was eventually decided that Potential divided by Focus would be called Effect or Utility. From here machines and tools could be reliably infused and set to work with anybody who had the ability to interact with them in any way, shape or form. For many Technomatically enhanced tools, the user became irrelevent as the item itself was so limited that it could do nothing other than what it was meant to do.

The original applications included tools and spare parts that never, ever failed, objects that could only be broken through magical means, and electronic equipment that could not be hacked or overriden without using magic. To create an object with a low failure rate was one thing, but a skilled technomancer could eliminate the Focus that allowed the object to fail, in many ways simply editing out the very possibility of failure.

Items so attuned will sometimes seem to have a mind of their own and seem to posess a rudimentary or even advanced level of intellect. This level of sentience is real. It is the ultimate expression of Emergent Potential. As an item's Utility is raised by the infusion of Potential, it tends to be able to fulfill more and more functions that are similar or associated to the original set of Foci that the item posesses.(***)

Artificial Intelligence

It has since been discovered that the amount of additional Foci created by Emergent Potential is a finite value that changes between any given object. This variance is determined by a wide variety of factors including complexity, commonality, and strength of archetype. This last factor is the reason why technomancers have little success in changing the potential of natural objects. The Law of Correspondence clearly states that magical manipulation must be limited by a form's Guiding Archetype. Potential belongs to Humanity and sentient races. To infuse an object already under the jursidiction of another Guiding Archetype is to attempt to change the basic nature of the object which not only defies most ethical codes but the basic idea behind Technomancy itself.

Simple and versatile objects tend to have a higher amount of additional Foci for Emergent Potential to apply itself into. Unlike the base or infused Potential, Emergent Potential doesn't seem to divide itself evenly into these new branches or uses. Instead it will usually fill into one before moving on to another. This was discovered when the same infused tools seemed to learn completely different sets of additional techniques despite being of identical build and makeup as well as being infused by the same person.

There is a point at which the amount of Emergent Potential generated begins to grant the object its own consciousness. This will only begin to occur once the object has uncovered roughly four-fifths of its additial functions (or Foci). The precise numerical value of extra functions an object must put Emergent Potential into before sentience begins to develop is called the object's Minutiae.

The fundamental principle of artificial intelligence can thus be described as this:

If the Utility created by Emergent Potential is greater than the Utility required to overcome a system's Minutiae, that system's Emergent Potential will continue to build until it becomes the system's new basic value of Potential.

Infused Potential is assimilated by the system as its own only after Minutiae is overcome. There is additionally a minimum value to Minutiae, under which a system will not gain consciousness. This value is called the Spark Point.

And with that, AIs could be created reliably and expertly. This would have been utterly impossible without the principles of Technomancy. There can be no artificial intelligence without Emergent Potential.(****)


(*) - There exists some debate as to weather Dr. Gerson also discovered The Law of Infinite Potential as the law seemed to have appeared in several different sources and locations near the end of his life.

(**) - According to his later observations, given enough time there was theoretically no limit to the amount of Potential a human could invest into an object. No other race seemed to posess this lack of limitation.

(***) - One must remember that a Technomancer is not manipulating the value of an object's Focus; they manipulate the value of the object's Potential.

(****) - There is continual debate on weather one can create a human being with this method. Research on the conversion of Emergent Potential into Infinite Potential is inconclusive. Interestingly, AIs created through Emergent Potential always seem to have an obsession with becoming a human being, thus lending intriguing evidence to the idea that a human is the physical expression of Infinite Potential.


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