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Imagine as of 2019 (just to avoid the coronavirus thing), every human vanishes (literally) except for one per country, chosen randomly. Assuming around ~200 countries, that means there are 200 human beings. Survivors are entirely aware of the situation (that there are 200 people, one in each country). Most importantly, society's systems are still functioning (there is electricity and etc, at least for as long as they can work unmanned, days or weeks). So quickness is key.

The end goal is to meet each other (so the race can be saved).

The question is: what method can be realistically be expected to be used so that the 200 people get in contact with each other and then meet in one place?

The word realistically is crucial. For instance, a related answer (see below) suggests amateur radio. Yet, most people are unaware of it, let alone how to use it. Therefore, the core of the answer must be about finding the common denominator in terms of knowledge and access for random individuals.

PD: I've discussed this with several people, each offering different approaches. I have my favourite one so far but it might be better to wait instead of sharing it outright (and perhaps introduce some bias to answers).


Notice there is a related question here. That one assumes thousands of people survive a plague and must meet. There are rotten bodies and many people in the same city, so they can meet and start organizing. My question is way more extreme.

Two of the most voted answers for instance state:

Go to Times Square (because it is most likely possible anyone else will have the same idea)
And keep here a sign noting in which direction you left
Leave city
And find closest farm or self sustainable living

That assumes that the direction indicated before leaving was successful in finding a place to live. Second, it assumes the Canadian or Mexican survivor will go looking for the US one, quite a biased perspective.

Another answer is amateur radio. But when one person only survives, it's very unlikely s/he will know how to use it or be aware of such thing.

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  • $\begingroup$ New Facebook group: "Who's still alive?" That'll work for four or five of them, anyway... $\endgroup$ – Zeiss Ikon Apr 3 '20 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ Why would any particular survivor know about the abstract pattern of one-survivor-per-country? Seems like after weeks of wandering around their home city/county/province/island, most would assume they were the only survivor on the planet and stop looking too hard. Several dozen survivors would be stranded on islands, unless they happened to be skilled pilots or mariners. Some others others would be too old or young to survive long without assistance, and incapable of exploring. Still others wold be too stricken by grief to bother. Some others trapped in elevators/aircraft/jails would perish. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Apr 3 '20 at 15:54
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    $\begingroup$ How do they meet at one location ? Pretty close to impossible unless they're all experts at aviation or sailing or similar. Flying and sailing across oceans isn't for amateurs, so even if they study up and can somehow manage to learn to fly or the seamanship skills needed to do the task (solo !) they'd be very lucky to pull it off. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Apr 3 '20 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ Easy, log in to World building and make a question along the lines of "How to find other survivors after only one per country survives in <date>?". Since this is, or was, moderated, search engines rate it higher than random sources and it will be there when people ask Siri or whatever. Wikipedia is another good place to post. In any case, after a day or two you can just search for articles newer than a day so if internet keeps working... $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Apr 3 '20 at 20:25
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Contacting all of the other survivors is probably impossible and for many, contacting any of the other survivors would not be a immediate goal. Food, shelter, weapons to defend oneself with and a dependable source of water would probably take precedence. But eventually, at least a few of them would start looking for each other.

The simplest approach would be to start small. Don't try to contact everyone. Just identify which neighboring country is closest to your current location, and drive there. When you arrive, cut the muffler off of your car and take a tour of all the towns and cities. With the stereo blaring and the muffler-less exhaust slowly cruise around, watching for anyone to react. If no one responds, then before heading off to the next town, break into a hardware store and steel some spray paint. Paint your name, cellphone number, nation of origin and the date on several of the prominent buildings, billboards and even on the road surfaces.

Eventually, in this way, you will meet the survivor from that neighboring country and after the celebration is over, each of you could drive off to search another neighboring country with plans to return to a designated location a few months later.

Rinse and Repeat until all the countries on your continent have been searched and their survivors added to the search team. Then see if any of you have the skills needed to reach another continent. If not, which is more than likely, then stop at this level of success. A hand full of company is infinitely better than none and only slightly worse than more.

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