The intelinet hubs of the institutes, encased deep beneath the earth and isolated from environmental factors, were only physically accessible by the use of miniscule, crawling machines. The maintenance and improvement of the hardware was carried out by teams of systems theorists trained to operate and communicate with these repair intelligences. The memory cloud itself was physically organized in an extensive hierarchy, with partitions of increasing abstraction devoted to areas such as social history and records of artistic creation, among other subdivisions of information.
Perhaps the most extensive branch of the intelinet contained the collective biologic of the planet. Biologic consisted of all of the genetic information amassed by living beings over time, through mutation and adaptation. Every innate behavior and phylogenetic structure was catalogued within the intelinet. The biologic network contained its own hierarchies, organized by archetypal features that marked important biological structures and trends. By compiling this information, the process of guided evolution became an essential element of human innovation.
The breadth of data available to institute study was mainly supplied by those living on the fringes of the cities. While connected to city centers by way of vacuum rail, the fibrous boundaries of Efficiency Age cities shared more contact with open terrain than they did with other structures. Because of the increased significance of environmental constraints, these portions of civilization reflected a more varied, organic design than the highly fractal centers. In the absence of spatial constraints, individual residences and communities also reflected vibrant streaks of individuality.
Looking down upon a city from the air, one might compare a city to a cell. The nucleus of the city, the institute, housed not only the collective information of the global population, but also the operational programs required to keep a city functioning. While in proper condition, a city was a haven of abundant resources that allowed an individual to reach their highest potential. Surrounding the institutes were densely packed regions that executed a large array of functions, from restaurants to technology maintenance workshops. It was in this area that the greater majority of people made their contributions to their community.
Quite opposite to the centers of the city were the fringes. Lining the exterior of the buzzing centers, strings of communities and coiled vacuum rail splintered into the surrounding environment. Even though Efficiency Age technology hardly produced any noise, fringe communities enjoyed a deeper, more peaceful silence than the city nuclei. Of course, being maximally exposed to the surrounding natural environment, fringe society never experienced true silence.
Fringe communities were known to produce individuals as diverse as the swaths of data in the bioliogical intelinet. One of the vital jobs common to fringe zones was the collection of biologic data itself, which often involved extensive, regular excursions into the surrounding ecosystems for observation. The solitude of ecosystem observation attracted many, from those of bioscientific inclination to the incurably adventurous. Whether or not an ecosystem observer conducted studies with a group was a matter of personal preference, as well as one of scale. Coarse-grain, high level studies of entire forests or mountain ranges were usually handled by entire networks of observation teams, while the study of a single community of a species could be undertaken by any apt individual.
Regardless of the ecosystem in question, or the nature of the observation, the final destination of a study was an institute. At the termination of a study period, observers would meet with the systems scientists that maintained and altered the intelinet. By way of a few hours of collaboration, the new information would be analyzed and integrated into current biologic. Once catalogued, the information became an open asset stored in the intelinet. This process of observation and storage provided systems theorists and creative disciplines with theoretical genetic building blocks for phenomic innovation.
The rewards of this tireless labor were the chief interest of those in the creation discipline, to whom biological resources were easier to attain than most raw materials. Local compost and biomaterial from the agrinet allowed for extensive botanical experimentation. A student armed with a keen understanding of life processes and genome sequences would be quite comfortable inventing a new form of plant. Often, these biological innovations were not initiated with any specific goal in mind. Rather, some accident of fortune would produce a new structure or function, an event which led to a series of tests to determine what could be done with the new specimen, and how it interacted with other ecosystems. In this way, mankind began to repair the damage done by decades of destroying ecosystems.
There were several benefits to a life of biological innovation. For one thing, biological structures had the peculiar property of reproducing themselves under proper conditions, whereas most inorganic technology required extensive raw resources and external effort to produce. Additionally, biological material had become much more available than the raw, simple materials used in the majority of industrial age progress. These materials were more easily recyclable from project to project, and composting was a key function in the institutions.
Perhaps it was this availability that made biological engineering crucial to the planet as other resources became more painfully scarce. Photosynthesis and organic chemical processes garnered increasing attention and effectiveness as humanity learned to understand its abundant stores of biologic.