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Our universe dies due to entropy, so what do humans do best???

COLONIZE!

A near sentient AI found a way to cross realities and because our universe was dead, everyone took the chance.

They (about 100 remaining humans and a small computer) found themselves naked and afraid, in a fantasy world where they could only bring their bodies, not their clothes and certainly not their weapons.

The group first made clothes out of sheep’s wool they stole from a quiet farm. Then they made their way into a city where they saw a hero being paraded around. The AI which contained the entire history of the last universe recognized the boy as coming from the 21st century Earth.

Asking around (a bit difficult considering their language was a mixture of cyrillic and kanji) they found out that each kingdom had a hero with varying levels of power. Some had the power to level a town, while others were just good politicians.

There were also other species, they too could level a town.

The group didn’t want the attention of the kingdoms for now so they set out to build a city for themselves. They found an empty volcanic crater full of minerals and elements. They also took with them some of the time’s tools, which were just hammers and wheels and such.

So there’s a supergenius AI which knows all and a group of 100 genetically modified, immortal people, all with the same goal to conquer the world! How long would it take for this group to get to the modern or even sci fi civilization they were at? This is assuming they won’t use magic to help their tech.

This group will only consider it safe to reveal themselves once they have attained nuclear weapons. Though they probably might accidentally meet a few friends along the way.

They’ll secretly infiltrate kingdoms with their superior technology and “culture”. “Oh wow let’s eat at this restaurant the food is really good”, “There’s this place called the ‘convenience store’ truly marvelous!” “Have you heard of the new leader of his Majesty’s army? Truly a wonderful guy, his moves are out of this world” all of this happening while they slowly rebuild their super society.

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    $\begingroup$ Cyrillic is an alphabet. Kanji is the Japanese word for Sinitic characters as used in the Japanese writing system. Neither of them are languages. You do understand that one can write a language with different writing systems? (For example, my own language used to be written with a local variant of the Cyrillic alphabet, and about 180 years ago switched to Latin letters. The Turkish language used to be written with a local variant of the Arabic alphabet and about 100 years ago switched to a local variant of the Latin alphabet. Etc.) $\endgroup$ – AlexP Feb 11 at 11:45
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    $\begingroup$ "This is assuming they won’t use magic to help their tech." - why not? If they don't use the most powerful tool available to them, they're either idiots or not trying to develop technology, in either case will never get there. $\endgroup$ – user3482749 Feb 11 at 11:48
  • $\begingroup$ Keep in mind that they want to keep this whole operation secret(at least till they get nukes hehe). Also, otherealmly humans who came here through means of science and not magic, cannot use magic. $\endgroup$ – In the name of the story Feb 11 at 11:59
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    $\begingroup$ "first made clothes out of sheep’s wool they stole from a quiet farm." Wool doesn't come off the sheep sweater-ready. It needs to be cleaned and carded and spun before the yarn is ready to knit into clothes. All these steps require tools and time. Those future dudes are gonna die of exposure and starvation while they are still figuring out how to card the wool with nothing but rocks and leaves. Farms might keep a very small supply of wool on-hand for their own needs (not for 100!), but would generally sell the raw wool as quickly as possible before it gets dirty and smelly. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Feb 11 at 14:21
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    $\begingroup$ No "quiet" medieval farm has 100 sets of clothes to steal. And since theft was common AND clothes were expensive, rumor of a clothes thief would have local farms guarding the wash line. You might want to revisit the "naked and afraid" element of entry - it makes weeks of effort simply to survive (in good weather) before you get to the more fun parts. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Feb 11 at 14:28
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Any answer to this involves a guesswork, you can really give either answer. Since there is already a good answer for "A long time," I'll give a possibility for "Not really that long."

Author Liu Cixin says technology is an explosion. Humans can remain at practically the same level for tens of thousands of years, then someone formalizes the scientific method and we go from horses transport to moon travel in 1 lifetime, and then to smartphones and the internet in a third that time.

Once you show up with penicillin and germ killing soap and vitamins in those medieval towns, you are gonna start winning people over. Those people get stronger than their neighbors, and build better weapons, better mining practices and equipment, better salt making practices (salt technology plays a WAY bigger role in ancient times than it is easy for us to imagine), soon they will be noticed by their neighbors as outcompeting, and the population grows. They are curious, and greedy for nicer things, and learn HOW these things are done, and start thinking in a modern manner. Soon you start building your pyramid of production that is needed for even more modern things.

Advancement snowballs, especially when there is no research phase. I'd say if things went REALLY well, you might pull it off in 50 years.

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  • $\begingroup$ Would having modern weapons make this novel boring? $\endgroup$ – In the name of the story Feb 12 at 11:58
  • $\begingroup$ I think they could be fun if inserted with scarcity. By which I mean, maybe the modern people brought a handgun, but it only has six bullets. So each time they use it they do get that insta-kill, but there is that great tension of knowing you won't have that bullet in the future. Or, maybe they have a sword made of really advanced modern materials, that easily outclasses the bulky medieval ones. In literary terms it almost functions as an elven blade by its lightness and swiftness. $\endgroup$ – CaptainSkyfish Feb 13 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ I'd say that technology follows punctuated equilibrium more than it does the idea of explosions. Things advance rapidly until things level off until the next technology is developed. While it is true that we go from no cell phones to smartphones in thirty years, it is also true that smartphones haven't really advanced all that much in the last ten years. An even more stark case of this can be found in the aerospace industry, in which the fastest aircraft and most powerful rockets were made in the 1960s and there has been incremental improvement on this at best. $\endgroup$ – Adam Reynolds Feb 14 at 20:34
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    $\begingroup$ Also, that idea about modern weapons made me think of a subplot idea I had once. The modern character starts off with a gun that they want to use to threaten people, but because no one has any idea what it is it doesn't work. By the time that word gets around about what those unusual sticks are, the characters have run out of ammunition. So now the weapon can only be used for intimidation, and the first time that someone calls their bluff they have to throw it away and rely on a more primitive weapon. $\endgroup$ – Adam Reynolds Feb 14 at 20:38
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    $\begingroup$ That's a good point Adam, tech progress is so very unpredictable. In the same vein, I read a story once where a man tried to use a silent invisible beam disintegration gun on alien wolves, but it didn't scare them because they couldn't tell how they were dying. He had to switch to a bow and arrow so they could see their friends hit with it. $\endgroup$ – CaptainSkyfish Feb 17 at 15:53
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More than a few generations.

I would assume the AI would be their (unspoken) ruler, as it knows the history and which steps to take to repeat that, which technologies to develop first for best effect, and how to keep the humans alive. But there are still a fair few things you would need to take over the world so to speak, and advance your technology.

Resources

Quite a few resources not available in a medieval setting would be needed. Think precious metals for computer chips and the like. Mining wasn't nearly as developed as much in the middle ages, and most materials now abundant were extremely rare back then. If mining operations like that would need to be developed on other continents, this would take several decades if not generations at least.

Manpower

100 people is not that much, and a lot more people would be needed to effectively rule the earth and advance the population. Recruiting local humans would not be as easy as you think, as they would not understand the long term goals. Several generations would be needed to pad out the numbers, with upbringing largely by the older generations and the AI to keep the long term goals on track. Getting the rest of the population on board would not be impossible, but extremely hard.

Defense/acceptance

It's likely the local population won't take kindly to this new village of "Witches". They are aware heroes with heightened abilities exists, but a whole village of them would be unheard of. They would be frightened and reluctant to trust anything coming from them, especially if they start throwing new technologies around. At least the first few decades they would have to keep to themselves, or even forcefully defend their settlement. If they were to anger any of the local heroes with any strength to them, they would be easily overrun, no matter how smart, and that would be the end of them. Any technological advances would need to be introduced to the population slowly and covertly, again slowing their progress.

Religion

The AI would nearly need to be worshipped like a god, especially by younger generations. It is their only source of knowledge and advancement after the original generation dies out, and if anything ever happens to it, or they stop listening to it, they are practically toast. Nothing but a generation of quirky people living in a strange land.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer. Perhaps they could hole up in the volcano for a few generations. $\endgroup$ – In the name of the story Feb 11 at 12:05
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    $\begingroup$ They could, but that would not give them their much needed resources, and delay their plans. Also their technologies would still have to be shared to advance the entire population as needed. Just waiting around to pad their numbers would be ill-advised as their most precious resource (the original generation with knowledge of how it used to be) would be entirely wasted. Not to mention the shift in mentality and future goals for future generations who never experienced what they are working towards. $\endgroup$ – Plutian Feb 11 at 12:10
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    $\begingroup$ That is definitely important information and changes the whole dynamic. You need to add this info to your question to get an adequate answer. $\endgroup$ – Plutian Feb 11 at 12:23
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    $\begingroup$ (explosion) mining anywhere near a volcano is an extremely bad idea. The ground is extremely unstable and explosions could reactivate the volcano, eradicating their settlement instantly. Even if the volcano didn't activate, without modern tools it's near impossible to tell where magma resides within the volcano. Any explosion or mining attempt could instantly be met with a face full of lava. Besides, most rare materials are found in very local places all over the world, it is impossible to find everything you need in one single volcano. $\endgroup$ – Plutian Feb 11 at 12:56
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    $\begingroup$ Volcanoes are volcanoes because they are located on weak or thin spots in the Earths crust. Anything to upset the balance it currently has could potentially be dangerous, especially in the long run. $\endgroup$ – Plutian Feb 11 at 13:20
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You should check out Ryan North's nonfiction book How to Invent Everything, it pretty much handles this exact scenario with plenty of useful details about specific technologies, including a nice tech tree. Most of what I come up with below are from his book, except for the ideas about religion. A cheat sheet version he made earlier than the book can be seen here.

There are five key ideas required to be successful, and your group should already have four of them: an oral and written language as well as a decent number system and the scientific method. The only one this group won't have is a calorie surplus, which historically predated everything but oral language. Probably the best things your group could do in the short term would be to develop selective breeding and the four field crop rotation and maximize your output through this over a couple of generations. Especially if it was combined with effective animal husbandry allowing the greatest benefits from this crop diversity and use of selective breeding.

You can also follow up on this by educating others on the germ theory of disease and inventing gunpowder, as they mostly require insight rather than technology, The obvious technologies like a steam engine require too many supporting technologies, and even penicillin requires microscopes to be positively detected and x-rays to be easily produced after a convoluted process. A couple of other technologies that could be made without any real prerequisites are buttons, the compass, and birth control.

If people considering your group "witches" is a problem, your group can take a page out of the book of Hades from Horizon Zero Dawn and use the AI to satisfy some religious prophecy as a means to justify their power. This would also serve to allow the group to gain followers and a larger organization, which especially in more primitive times would allow them to build on their calorie surplus and begin to develop a proper civilization. Alternatively you could also use the AI to invent your own religion complete with prophecies that might actually come true. Astronomical predictions are a good source of this, as was once used by Columbus. This is obviously not the ethical option, but it would probably be among the most effective things you could do.

I'd also agree this premise would be both easier and more interesting if the characters start with whatever they can carry back with them, including basics like emergency rations, medicine, and weapons. The limited supply before they can advance enough based on local resources would be a nice source of short term drama. It won't make things too easy.

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