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In my story, there is a large group of humanoid clones that help the city function, doing mundane tasks such as cleaning and maintaining the city. Doing all of the minimum wage jobs and 95% of the manual labor. This is almost like a single utopian city(the only one) in the world where costs are cheap due to the abundance of clones doing everything. Other countries are jealous and want to steal/sabotage this city.

I'm looking for ways that this can fail, in order to draw up some counter-measurements that can destroy the status quo in this futuristic city in a heartbeat. I need some ideas, because I think such a system is pretty destruction-proof.

Right now I have the idea of EMP usage on individual clones/or hunting them down one by one, but this would not damage the infrastructure, and therefore would not be a cause for concern in this world. Clones can be created with a click of a button.

Just think of how wasps and ants can build such a complex base that far exceeds the cognitive capabilities of one ant/wasp. How can this system malfunction?

Constraint: -The swarm intelligence is strong due to the ability to create clones purely mechanically and chemically(relies only on monetary costs and chemicals that can be synthesized)

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    $\begingroup$ There is one way to make things work. Infinite way to make them go wrong. As such I think you need to better specify your question. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Aug 9 at 14:42
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    $\begingroup$ Do they, for example have cyber implants through which orders are relayed, is there an encryption protocol in place, are they direct-linked to central command or are orders relayed through the human network or some kind of distributed Wi-fi network? $\endgroup$ – We are Monica. Aug 9 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ Definitely a cyber implant in which they receive commands. There is a standard Symmetric Key encryption through AES 128. $\endgroup$ – Aylin Aug 9 at 15:04
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    $\begingroup$ Send comrade Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov "Lenin" to explain to the clones that they are downtrodden and exploited and should rise against the blood-sucking exploiters. It worked at least once. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Aug 9 at 15:28
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    $\begingroup$ LOL! Free Netflix accounts for everybody! :^) $\endgroup$ – puppetsock Aug 9 at 16:51
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Biowarfare.

The clones all have an identical genetic makeup. Given this, it should be pretty easy to engineer a designer virus that will specifically target the clones. If the virus was airborne and vicious enough, it could kill them faster than new ones can be created. New clones step out of the Clone Generator, take their first breath of infected air, and die within minutes. The streets are clogged with clone corpses and nobody is equipped to dispose of them properly because that was clone work. The whole city grinds to a halt.

Here's an article about how scientists accidentally created the bird flu epidemic by mutating a few genes in an existing virus. And given that doctors are already creating custom drug protocols based on the patient's genome, I don't think it's far-fetched that a highly contagious virus could be created that would target the specific genome of the clones.

Editing to add: For a real-life example of a single disease wiping out a vast population of clones, research the Gros Michel banana and Panama Disease.

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Jam the communication

In my story, there is a large group of humanoid clones that help the city function, doing mundane tasks such as cleaning and maintaining the city. Doing all of the minimum wage jobs and 95% of the manual labor. This is almost like a single utopian city(the only one) in the world where costs are cheap due to the abundance of clones doing everything.

That's not really how clones work, they're just normal people, basically identical twins just born years apart. so for the sake of this question, I'm assuming that these are genetically modifed clones which lack free will and have been altered to somehow have a hive mind, despite the many ethical question this raises. Now, they communicate using as you put it:

Constraint: -The swarm intelligence is strong due to the ability to create clones purely mechanically and chemically(relies only on monetary costs and chemicals that can be synthesized)

Well, there's your answer. Stop the communication. If they're mechanically communicating (radio waves), then find the frequency and flood it so they can only hear gibberish. If they're chemically communicating, they're using hormones, so all you have to do is track down and identify the hormones (which isn't easy, but is certainly doable), synthesize an insane amount and go to town with crop dusters and smoke bombs. And if you can decipher the language (this is going to be hormone communication, because encrypting messages is a lot harder than encrypting molecules), then send them the wrong signal.

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    $\begingroup$ This was exactly what I was thinking. Jam, spoof, or hijack whatever the communication signal is that is connecting the clones to form the hive mind. If they are used to always having that connection, just jamming it may actually create a lot of confusion - instead of making them act like normal (non-hive mind) humans. $\endgroup$ – MParm Aug 9 at 17:04
  • $\begingroup$ I also considered this, but then I thought you can get around it by having them default to doing the same job they did yesterday in the case of communication failure. Yes, some jobs wouldn't get done, but it would give the city time to detect and correct the problem. Breaking the communication could cause havoc though. Issue the same command to all clones - e.g. today everyone must clean city hall and watch the transport networks and city hall grind to a halt as thousands (10s of thousands?) of clones show up and wait their turn to clean. $\endgroup$ – Greig Aug 9 at 20:56
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Decentralized swarm intelligence depends heavily on the ability of each member in the swarm to find unoccupied space. They don't need to know what everyone else is doing, only what job is available for them to do.

If the available jobs come from a list of pre programmed functions, then the city is destabilized as soon as a need appears which wasn't foreseen by the original programmers. It could be anything. Maybe the primary organic source of some kind of specialized rubber, used in plumbing, experiences a pandemic and goes extinct. Now the clones are not equipped to maintain everyone's toilets and there's nobody experienced enough in problem solving to find an alternative.

If the available jobs are dynamically determined via some kind of problem solving algorithm, so the clones can identify and solve problems as they go, then the city can be destroyed by philosophical shifts toward subjectivism, unrealistic laziness, or general entitlement in the human population (or anything else that causes a priority imbalance). For example, the clones are simply programmed to meet the "needs" of the people, and the programmers had the foresight to refrain from limiting that too much with a strict definition. Who knows what the future holds? One day, Bill decides that his "entertainment needs" are such that he simply can't live without at least 200 clones constantly performing a wide variety of tasks centered on him. Bill is an influential thinker in the city's pop culture, and many people follow after him. Due to the practical limitations around having a 200:1 ratio of clones to people, many people are neglected, and tasks which are actually important are ignored in favor of tasks which are subjectively perceived to be important.

Last thing, literally any malfunction in the mechanism by which clones are reproduced/manufactured is an existential crisis for your city.

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Pod people.

Clones are easy to make. Make your own. Replace current working clones with your pod clones. They are like the originals in every way, hooked into the mass mind, doing menial jobs. Eventually all the clones will be your replacements.

But when the bass drops, all of the pod clones launch into the Harlem Shake. Thus ends civilization.

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