In my world, approximately 100 humans with were stranded on a planet with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They all have at least high school education, but most of them do not have degrees. How far would technology have progressed for them in that time, if none of them died in that time?

  • $\begingroup$ I've a sneaking suspicion that this is a duplicate, but I can't find a precise match right now. Watch this space. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Feb 16 at 13:08
  • $\begingroup$ This is going to entirely depend on what they they know, average people don't know much about how technology works. $\endgroup$ – John Feb 16 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ Does anybody in the group have any idea how to make stone tools? The skill is extremely rare in the civilized world... No knowledge of how to make stone tools means certain extinction of the group. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Feb 16 at 19:32

How far would technology have progressed for them in that time

I think you mean "from zero, which is what they started from".

It almost completely depends on the planet. First thing they're going to do is find food and shelter. Resources shall have to be dedicated to this. How much, it depends on how easy it is to find food.

They will start as hunters-gatherers, and try to reach the agricultural stage, but this will take optimistically no less than three or four years (they need to identify edible plants first, even if someone knows the testing drill or reproduces it accidentally or as an alternative to starvation).

Then comes animal husbandry, and this might be well under way around the ten-years mark. If everything goes exceedingly well, or they have large strokes of luck. For example they can disrupt some predator/prey relationship and establish themselves as new, and more "illuminated", predators - not just eating prey but caring for it until it's dinner time. Being able to gather fodder for prey animals without worrying about predators might allow a quick growth of the captive prey population.

Meanwhile it's rediscovery of fire, and looking for metal deposits. With no technology to start with, you need to find tin and copper to at least smelt bronze, but to do so you need to know what tin and copper deposits look like. And of course there must be such deposits within reach.

I don't expect your hundred guys - possibly as many as one hundred and twenty by now, and boy does this add to problems - to have progressed much farther past the knapped flint stage.

All this completely abstracts from a whole different lot of problems, i.e. how they will take this psychologically and what long game they're going to decide to play ("wait for rescue" or "be fruitful and multiply", in which case some way of preserving their culture and as-yet-useless knowledge must be found before the first generation is dead by old age - and, now, with no medicines or therapies or technology, not even to replace a pair of glasses, "old age" comes much earlier)

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    $\begingroup$ Also, the agriculture that 100 random people with high school educations are used to relies on plants that humanity has often spent thousands of years breeding and culturing to be food crops. Wild ancestors of crop plants on Earth aren't nearly as accommodating. $\endgroup$ – notovny Feb 16 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ They will be very lucky if there are wild plants & animals they can domesticate. Read "Guns, Germs, & Steel", for how people from regions that had lots of domesticable plants & animals took over the regions that didn't. $\endgroup$ – Jim Baerg Feb 17 at 22:59

Depends on the story you want to tell. One realistic option is that they all die of starvation, which you have excluded.

  • No technology beyond the stone age, but certain bits of knowledge like germ theory or Mendelian genetics.
  • Stone age plus, no metalworking but many "practical tricks" like pulleys, wooden wheelbarrows, keystone arches, and crop rotation.
  • Even simple metalworking is probably improbable. First they have to find the ore, then they have to invent charcoal production, then they have to invent smelters ...
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    $\begingroup$ I think "stone age plus" is the most likely outcome. The people will go into this experience with a modern social and cultural viewpoints and apply this to a primitive hunter-gatherer society. In fact, it wouldn't be unreasonable for this group to end up quite happy as the average stone-age person had much more leasure time than the average modern office drone. $\endgroup$ – Dragongeek Feb 16 at 13:45

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