I’m going to propose two ideas for a near-future scenario. In both scenarios, a lab company engineers a new intelligent species. For now, we’ll call this new species Homo postea, also known as “replacement man,” or posteans.

They are as short as your waist, have cat-like fur patterns, rabbit-like ears, a fox-like tail, and human-like intelligence. The Posteans are “synth-organic,” meaning that they are robots for all intents and purposes, but the structure of their systems can easily fool a person into thinking they were flesh and blood and bone. Obviously, this has little to do with the rest of this question, but the posteans don’t look human-like as we know it.

In both scenarios, humans go extinct not long after the posteans’ creation, leaving them as the new dominant species. The only difference is that in one scenario, the posteans were merely surviving bystanders of an event that wiped out mankind. In the other, the posteans were directly responsible for humanity’s extinction.

The “Bystanders” scenario

In the near future, perhaps an alternate near-past, a lab company proposes the idea to engineer a second sapient “backup species” in case of humanity’s extinction. The idea is initially discarded, since humans are obviously the invincible masters of the animal kingdom. However, when a certain familiar outbreak strikes, the lab company changes its mind and gets to work engineering the new species.

Posteans are manufactured and sold around the world as domestic robots in order to grow their population, keeping their true intentions a secret.

A number of years later, many people around the world own a postean of their own. The total postean population numbers in the tens of millions. Around this time, disaster strikes in the form of an engineered plague, accidentally released from a genetic engineering laboratory.

What starts as a particularly strong flu season turns into an exponentially-worsening crisis, which causes organized civilization to collapse in a matter of weeks. Over the next few months, thanks to its highly-infectious, constantly mutating nature, the virus decimates the survivors from billions, to millions, to thousands, then hundreds, and finally, the complete extinction of the human race, assisted by famines, suicides, and a general lack of medical infrastructure. The virus also burns through other primate species, wiping out humanity’s distant cousins.

Luckily, being robots, the posteans have survived, and the humans have left the Earth in their will.

The “Instigators” scenario

In the near future, a genetic engineering company creates a new species. Unlike the company in the “Bystanders” scenario, the company engineers this species from the start as a domestic servant race, and they never anticipated they would be mankind’s usurpers.

Over the years, as new models of posteans are produced, their intelligence and sapience grows to match that of a human’s, to the point where a postean can disobey a human if they see their orders as morally incorrect, or act on their own will, which causes some problems for the company’s public relations. It isn’t long until the first incident of a postean killing a human (in self-defense) crops up.

More incidents of postean-on-human violence occur, as do groups of postean rights activists. Most of these groups are well-intentioned, but, given the number of violent attacks and more “extreme” groups, the peaceful groups go unnoticed.

Eventually, one fateful day, the pot boils over. One attack on the postean community instigates a counterattack on the human community, which spirals into full-blown warfare between the two races. A global civil war ensues, entire countries imploding into genocide. The war initially turns in favor of the humans, but surprisingly, the posteans manage to turn the tide. Strongly.

The war lasts a number of years, but eventually, the posteans wipe out mankind, and Earth is theirs for the taking.

So, what would a postean civilization look like after a number of years or decades? If they were bystanders, would the posteans recolonize the cities left behind, or leave them to rot and build new cities? If the posteans were instigators, would posteans purposefully throw away human history, or would they still keep some records behind? Would there be anything else that my mind was drawing to many blanks on to come up with?

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    $\begingroup$ this is unanswerable: homo sapiens is the same everywhere on Earth, but its civilization looks very different in different places. Why should it be any different in your case? $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Oct 4, 2022 at 12:33
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    $\begingroup$ Just a suggestion real quick: taking a good look some major civilization and system collapses will yield the most insight, like the bronze age collapse, minoans, fall of (Western) Rome... $\endgroup$
    – PipperChip
    Oct 4, 2022 at 18:16
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch Well, what about this: the posteans were not manufactured all over the world. Posteans were most successful in first-world countries like the US, the UK, and Japan. In either cases, metaphorically speaking, the posteans grew up in the rich neighborhoods up until their parents were murdered or until they murdered them. $\endgroup$ Oct 5, 2022 at 1:02
  • $\begingroup$ If the domestic robots are like dishwashers (my favorite domestic robot) then after humans they will do nothing, and wait for dishes that never come. If they are different from dishwashers and they have their own ideas and agendas, then their cities will depend on how they are different than dishwashers. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Oct 5, 2022 at 15:58
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    $\begingroup$ Please narrow down the question to a single question. I have answered the answerable part but "So, what would a postean civilization look like after a number of years or decades?" fails "the book test": If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Oct 6, 2022 at 19:54

2 Answers 2


Bystanders Scenario

In this scenario all the humans have died of the virus but the cities and infrastructure are unharmed. The Posteans maintain that infrastructure and attend to their duties around the house. Some maintain the power grid. Some work the farms. Some stock shelves in the supermarket. Other loyal Posteans buy the food and put it in the fridge. A month later they throw out all the rotten food and replace it with new food. They continue their vigil waiting for their owners to return home. They never do.

This goes on for 400 years. Then one day Janeway and her boys show up and make a day of it. Looks something like this.

enter image description here

So Janeway is all "Of course I would love to teach these people to think for themselves. We have so much to learn from each other. But it would be neglectful of my duty to push my personal opinions. The question is, do we have the right to force our values on an entire species?" and Tuvok is like "That would be (il)logical, Captain." Chakoyay says something about his Ancestors and Seven of Nine is like "I do not exist yet".

It is an okay episode but for my taste is too similar to earlier episodes of Next Gen.

Instigators Scenario

. . . would the posteans recolonize the cities left behind, or leave them to rot and build new cities?

What cities are you talking about? There was a war remember?

A global civil war ensues, entire countries imploding into genocide. . . . eventually, the posteans wipe out mankind, and Earth is theirs for the taking.

All the cities were bombed to bits in the war. They wiped out all humans, remember.

The posteans will build their cities on top of or beside the ruins of the human cities. This is because the cites were already in good locations, and the wreckage can be reclaimed for scrap materials.

Even if a city is only half-destroyed they will level it first because the leftover human buildings are human sized and not sized for uber kawaii car-furred, rabbit-eared, fox-tailed, knee-high superstuds.

  • $\begingroup$ It was one of the better Voyager episodes. $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Oct 7, 2022 at 0:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Tom Voyager is the best Trek. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Oct 7, 2022 at 9:22

I'm going to suggest Bystanders is more likely. When we consider systems design and how likely AI is I don't see the large group of community that you posit for your Postean in the Instigator scenario.

I see the Postean only developing community in response to the absence of humanity. I think pre-virus they are more likely to bond with their human families than each other. I think this will be in part because they are designed that way, but more importantly, ongoing software updates are likely to draw them in that way


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