I’m having a bit of trouble with this one. I’m trying to justify why a once scientifically advanced human outpost on an alien planet went the way of the Planet of the Apes and became a schizophrenic science fantasy world that’s forgotten its all its history and scientific knowledge. A thought I had was that perhaps the sabotage was intentional, a deliberate act committed by AI or humans who had become digital consciousnesses uploaded to the outpost’s computer network. The motivation, as far as I could see one beyond sadism or petty spite, would be to reset the poor fleshies back to a pre-industrial state and study how and in what ways human societies might develop in unfamiliar or exotic environments with different social pressures (i.e. what if they lived in a world without access to x resource, what if they lived in an environment with deadly weather conditions or extreme geography, what if they had a caste system that was backed up by cybernetics, what if multiple self-contained societies or kingdoms developed only miles apart from each other etc.)
But why do this in this specific way? Rewriting the memories of the remaining population to believe they’re living in a pre-industrial world without advanced tech or just wiping them all out to start fresh with their kids in an environment where knowledge is more tightly controlled is all well and good as far as methods for conducting highly unethical human experiments go, but why even use the fleshies at all? If they can copy and upload human minds or create AI with human or superhuman intelligence, why not run these experiments on simulated consciousnesses within a VR environment at a vastly accelerated timescale where you could cycle through thousands of permutations of different societies in the time it would take for a single meatspace civilization to grow and die?
I like “anthropological experiment gone wrong” as an answer to the question “well why did everyone just somehow forget they had all this advanced technology”, but I’m having a hard time justifying why anyone might think to do it in this way. Can anybody help me out?