So, an android, called X7, survived the apocalypse which nuked most humans, along with advanced technology, away. X7 wanders the wasteland, with one, and only one possession. An audio tape of the Michael Jackson song “I’m bad”. He often plays it at campfires, and amazes the simple minded humans with what could only be described as a voice in a box.

He travels to a town, called El Paso, where everyone and their mother are fundamentalist Catholics, and believe in witchcraft and sorcery. X7 doesn’t know, and plays his tape for some small children he sees playing outside the town. Shocked, everyone thinks that X7 has just committed witchcraft, and they plan on taking out his hard drive and destroying it, along with this blasphemous "audio tape" he has in possession.

He must prove himself innocent, so, how could X7 explain what the tape is in the simplest, most understandable terms for people living in an era technologically equivalent to the late 1600?


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    $\begingroup$ Any sufficiently advanced technology cannot be distinguished from magic. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jun 30 '18 at 9:05
  • $\begingroup$ How much does the android know about the tape and how much time is he willing to spend explaining it to these people? I feel like your answer lies somewhere in there. $\endgroup$ – Pleiades Jun 30 '18 at 9:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Pleiades: He knows how the wirk, exactly. It’s a modern digital tape, btw $\endgroup$ – V. Sychem Jun 30 '18 at 9:12
  • $\begingroup$ I have the most hilarious mental image of X7 singing "If you think my tape is witchcraft, THEN WON'T YOU SLAP MY FACE", one of the fundamentalists trying to slap him and breaking his hand, and X7 laughing and moonwalking away. I'll think of a more serious answer, I just wanted to share that with you all first. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Jun 30 '18 at 9:18
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    $\begingroup$ @F1Krazy: Yes, X7 knows how to do the entire dance from the song. The mutants and small children love the moonwalk, even though they now it’s impossible to walk on the moon $\endgroup$ – V. Sychem Jun 30 '18 at 9:21

He cant.once the charge of witchcraft is leveled, it becomes an issue of faith and emotion. Anything he says in his defence that involves knowledge out of the norm will be witch craft. Note that the very name witch craft means "occupational activity of a witch", just like carpenters craft.


Let's take for granted that the android has a complete wikipedia stored inside its memory.

Now all he needs are the materials to start a class in phonographical recording, starting with carillons and perforated paper sheets (if there is any paper available).

Once demonstrated music can be incised and reproduced with low tech, he needs to go to the vynil recording step, which requires a higher level of technology (good luck finding the materials!).

And after that, comprehensible theoretical explanations can start about magnetic recording, and so the tape is explained. But by now there's no more tech level abailable to create a tape recorder/player, but hey! carillon rules!

EDIT: Oh, and BTW, since we're talking a nuclearized world, a 1600 technology level is WAY too optimistic. The world would be plagued by radiation, rampant pollution, coldest weather, radioactive dustbowls, and the best available food would come from the people's corpses and insects. hey'd be lucky to be living a little above the stone age technology level

  • $\begingroup$ Are you sure he couldn’t do something more cool. Like moonwalking and dancing MJ style, or...or hire some other robots to preform a dance show? $\endgroup$ – V. Sychem Jun 30 '18 at 9:23
  • $\begingroup$ Yup! He could surely perform nice tricks to entertain kids. But alas, without any schooling system all his precious data couldn't be spread in comprehensible fashion to people reverted to a nomadic scavenging condition. All that knowledge lost... $\endgroup$ – Valerio Pastore Jun 30 '18 at 9:29
  • $\begingroup$ No, I mean could he teach the people the do the moonwalk, along with teaching them the other stuff? Post apocalyptic thriller with a robot sounds fun $\endgroup$ – V. Sychem Jun 30 '18 at 9:59
  • $\begingroup$ Oh yes,he could. No matter how hard the times, there will be always people to be entertained. If he wanted to teach them Michael Jackson's music, he could just sing it and perform with some simple instruments, like wandering bards used to do. $\endgroup$ – Valerio Pastore Jun 30 '18 at 10:01
  • $\begingroup$ Hahahaha, I can only imagine a robot, dressed up in 80s style clothing, singing MJ songs across the land. Btw, great answer $\endgroup$ – V. Sychem Jun 30 '18 at 10:13

Well-trained parrots

This is not the first time our hero has been run out of town on charges of witchcraft. So he invented a countermeasure in case it happens again. He is accompanied by a flock of trained parrots/ravens/birds that mimic songs.

Extra points: They are a special post-apocalypse type of irradiated bird that learn faster, mimic better, and can throw their voices unlike any real world bird. They are trained to throw their voices to where the walkman is. There are many types of strange animals now and this lowers the chances of "the witch has trained a flock of devil birds to talk like men!"

The birds are trained to sing along to the recording when he plays it. Depending on audience reaction our hero will decide to reveal the music is actually coming from the walkman. Otherwise he plays off the walkman as a 'training device' that gets the birds singing.

The birds should be genuine mimics though. In case he is arrested and separated from his walkman, he just requests his flock, sings a few bars of the song and, oh, there they go just like I said. They even mimic the crackling of the low quality recording. And it seems to be coming from the far corner of the room. Just like magic!


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