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In my world, magic and technology have a weird relationship. While they do combine and help advance growing civilizations, they can also inhibit each other. For example, if there are healing spells, medical technology may stagnate. Or, if electric generators become popular, big businesses will ignore alternate, magic ways and take the cheaper and "cooler-looking" option.

However, in my world, technology is not stagnant. It is always progressing and degenerating, much like how technology evolves in real history. Due to how technology evolves and history works, why would people bother to invent and use a mechanical solution when there is already a magic one?

Worldbuilding notes:

  • The magic system is energy-based. It can be used for things such as powering machinery, transferring energy sources, and medical purposes such as healing and certain surgeries and transplants.

  • Magic is mostly extracted energy, and that energy has to follow at least the first law of thermodynamics (energy cannot be created or destroyed).

  • Magic is not limited to a specific race; anyone can do magic, it is just very difficult to learn, resulting in magic schools and universities.

  • The main story takes place in the 16th-17th centuries.

  • While I say "mechanical" and "non-magic", but state the magic works with machinery, what I meant were solutions that have No magic involved.

  • The kingdoms are on the brink of industrialization, with giant smelters and blasting furnaces.

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  • $\begingroup$ Aerodynamics? Perhaps you mean "thermodynamics"? $\endgroup$ Nov 11, 2022 at 10:40
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    $\begingroup$ Your question has a bit of a problem with assuming that technology "degenerates". It doesn't. Literally the only way technology goes backwards is if you kill all the people who know how to do it. (Which is what happened to the Romans, and various other dead tribes.) $\endgroup$
    – Graham
    Nov 11, 2022 at 18:50
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    $\begingroup$ Magic is just sufficiently advanced technology. As it becomes better-understood, it becomes non-magic. $\endgroup$
    – user253751
    Nov 11, 2022 at 19:14
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    $\begingroup$ I think there was a section on this in the first Artemis Fowl book. I remember something like the devices not competing & being more reliable, so the siege won't fail because a sage drank too much wine and needs a break. $\endgroup$
    – Uncle Dino
    Nov 11, 2022 at 19:48
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    $\begingroup$ @Crafter: So it's only sentient races which can perform magic. Same idea: only people can do magic, and people are expensive. Even though a person isn't always a human. $\endgroup$ Nov 11, 2022 at 22:13

19 Answers 19

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Anyone can shovel coal. Not anyone can be an engine-mancer.

Technology is when you make something new and give it to someone who doesn't know how it works. Anyone can use the new thing but most cannot build their own. On the other hand

Magic is not limited to a specific race; anyone can do magic, it is just very difficult to learn, resulting in magic schools and universities

Magic scales poorly. Every magic train needs a mage in the engine room powering the furnace. And it is very difficult to become such a mage.

Technology scales easily. It is difficult to invent the steam train, marginally easier to build the first working model, easier again the manufacture the carriages at the foundry, . . . , and so on until the coal-shoveller only needs to know how to operate a shovel, and the driver only needs to know how to press the button.

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    $\begingroup$ Good answer, but perhaps as a counterpoint to technology: it could present a lot more maintenance and replacement than a magical solution. That way you can balance large scale use/production against maintenance cost and, potentially, accuracy. A magical steamtrain could have a superior performance and lower downtime, assuming that mage is capable enough to make it function. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Nov 11, 2022 at 15:26
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    $\begingroup$ Magic infused engineers would hyper accelerate the progress of technology. The first working prototype is 1000x easier to construct when you can magically build mines, magically purify ores, magically shape and construct your components, magically levitate and assemble, and magically reshape and experiment. Once a functional, non magical proof of concept can be created, magically making an assembly line for mass non-magical production is a sure thing. $\endgroup$
    – abestrange
    Nov 11, 2022 at 21:07
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    $\begingroup$ @abestrange not necessarily. If you dont understand what you did you may think you made a magical material rather than a technological one. For example purifying aluminium from its ore could simply be seen as a magical process creating a magic material, stifling the need or want to understand further. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Nov 11, 2022 at 21:53
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    $\begingroup$ This would also be an unappealing job. It would be like studying difficult course for years, only to be an office drone who shoves energy into a furnace for hours then goes home. If people put in the effort to learn magic, they wouldn't want a dull job to come of it; although you would have the employability benefits of a rare skill. $\endgroup$
    – Phi
    Nov 14, 2022 at 0:45
  • $\begingroup$ you also have time for the mage, I can spend months learning the walk on water spell, or I can hire a boat to cross the river now for less than I make in an hour of mage work. which would you choose? $\endgroup$
    – John
    Nov 15, 2022 at 21:09
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Sphygmomanometry.

Edit: I totally botched the name of the technique. it's "pulse feeling," not "chest listening."

A hundred years ago, measuring blood pressure was a new invention. You can check Wikipedia for details; but it only started taking off just after 1900. The blood pressure cuff, or "sphygmomanometer" is much easier to train someone to use than the techniques of the time, and gives quantitative measurements, in a way that you can write down and compare over time.

So why did it take decades for the medical community to adopt it?

The usual answer is some modern fairy tale about how doctors distrust new stuff, and this is a metaphor for society, etc. The usual answer is wrong.

In reality, what doctors already had was better. "Pulse feeling" was a technique which took years to learn, but which had far better diagnostic power. When Crile showed an early model sphygmomanometer at Harvard Medical School, the doctors weren't afraid or skeptical, they were simply unimpressed. It was like showing off a telegraph to a bunch of iPhone junkies.

And yet, pulse feeling is gone and blood-pressure measurement is ubiquitous. It turns out that having standardized measurements that transfer between practitioners and which can be learned and applied easily did actually beat out the near-oracular diagnostic power that a decade of training used to give doctors.

So, why have technology when you could have magic? Fundamentally it's because magic doesn't scale.

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    $\begingroup$ Another example in the same vein: Why invent technology to store and replay music if it is going to be lower quality than just hiring a live musician to play for you? Note that in this case both methods continue to exist and be used. $\endgroup$
    – quarague
    Nov 11, 2022 at 18:02
  • $\begingroup$ Don't doctors still do chest listening? Or is that not the thing with the stethoscope? $\endgroup$
    – No Name
    Nov 11, 2022 at 19:28
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    $\begingroup$ @NoName I'm not clear on exactly what "chest listening" indicated, but it's apparently not the same as what's done today. (Interestingly, I keep hearing about senior nurses' ability to diagnose heart conditions very quickly and just by listening, so it may be that the skill just went underground? ) $\endgroup$
    – fectin
    Nov 11, 2022 at 19:36
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    $\begingroup$ Do you have any sources/further reading on chest listening? the wikipedia page for sphygmomanometer didn't have much info $\endgroup$ Nov 14, 2022 at 5:44
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    $\begingroup$ @BugCatcherNakata ...I found an old essay though, and I got the technique wrong in this answer. Fixed now, and it doesn't change anything but the name. $\endgroup$
    – fectin
    Nov 14, 2022 at 13:35
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Poor people would make use of non magic solutions.

While the rich elites would have excellent mages to solve their problems the poor masses would not. Their injuries would go untouched, their power sources limited.

As such they would have a strong incentive to research technology to fix their problems. The better technology they produced would allow them to mix with or kill their magic using noble overlords.

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    $\begingroup$ Would there be a difference? Beyond bloodletting procedures and the like actual medical technology would require schooling just the same as magical healing (and any school worth their salt would teach both I'd assume). There would also be some division: simple cheap techniques like disinfecting or a stitch could be non-magical while more difficult techniques (root canal) are done magically ahead of the technological curve. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Nov 11, 2022 at 15:15
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Mundane technology often can work when and where magic won't, or has been taken away by the likes of some anti-magic spell.

This is why a smart mage likely carries a mundane weapon in addition to their staff, wand, or what have you. An opposing mage may drop an anti-magic attack on you, and your mundane weapon may lose some of it's nifty enchantments you added to it, but it's still a usable sidearm to shoot or stab at them with. Mundane weapon technology would obviously have to keep advancing with the times to remain combat effective in such a situation.

Standard doctrine thus would likely be explicitly to only to enhance military technology with magic for exactly that reason, so that while you may become less effective without magic, you're never helpless.

It applies to non-military technology as well, magic can sometimes fail due to outside circumstances, perhaps a dead-magic zone or the like. It's not gonna be a good day if your only medical/survival equipment in such a place is entirely dependent on magic to work. This of course would also have to advance with the times if you want a modern standard of living in dead zones.

As for the completely without magic tech, you'd use that in places like the aforementioned magic 'dead zones' which would be rather like living 'off the grid' or in the extreme places on earth like northern Alaska, with isolation and extreme winters.

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Mechanical solutions are more cost efficient.

  • Magicians are hard to find

According to your question:

Magic is not limited to a specific race; anyone can do magic, it is just very difficult to learn, resulting in magic schools and universities

From what I understand, if magic is hard to learn, then magicians, especially good ones, would be hard to find. They would probably be able to charge quite a bit for their services. And, these same magicians would be the ones who create magical items. As in, these magical solutions would very often cost a fortune.

  • Energy is expensive

There's also another fact you gave:

The magic system is energy-based. It can be used for things such as powering machinery, transferring energy sources, and medical purposes such as healing and certain surgeries and transplants

As in, magic uses energy. And this energy has to come from somewhere. The process of gathering energy could cost a lot of money. Whether because it's time-consuming, extreme physical labor, or just because there's a limited amount of energy that everyone has to share.

The cost of energy would bring up the price of magic even more. Especially if magical technology needs constant energy to work.

So, taking all that into consideration, only the rich will be able to afford to buy all these magical solutions. And the market for cheaper, mechanical solutions would definitely exist, and probably be quite big, assuming there are many middle-class people in your world.

I mean, who wouldn't want the same result for less money?

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    $\begingroup$ I don't see any mention that magic requires more energy than a mechanical solution, just that it's not free. Moving a heavy weight uphill costs energy whether you do it with magic or a machine, if those are equal quantities of energy then the price of fuel makes no difference. The OP just mentions that magic is constrained by the theoretical limit of thermodynamics, but mechanical approaches will always be less efficient than that. $\endgroup$ Nov 11, 2022 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ True, there is no mention that magic requires more energy than mechanical solutions. I was assuming that it requires different energy than mechanical solutions, not more energy. And this magical energy could be more expensive to come across, given the question. It was a suggestion which could work in the OP's world, though it also might not make sense to OP. $\endgroup$
    – user613
    Nov 12, 2022 at 15:42
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    $\begingroup$ Its a bit like why crossbows out competed longbows for many uses, a long bows takes less time to make but training on longbows takes years training on a crossbow takes hours. I can spend years studying magic to walk on water or I can buy a boat today. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Nov 15, 2022 at 21:04
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Magic has weirder side effects if not carefully maintained

Build a dam of rock and earth. If it's not maintained, it breaks and floods the valley. Everybody can see the consequences, and rolls the dice by working the land under the dam.

Build a dam of water magically enspelled to stand up straight. But what happens when fish (mostly water) run into the dam? What happens when rain falls atop the dam? What happens when a person walks on top of the dam, or, goodness gracious, runs headon into it? What happens when it gets cold enough to freeze? What happens if it gets hot enough to boil? There needs to be a fully-competent inquisitive mage on hand who asks these sorts of questions and actively seeks out ways his dam can cause problems.
And that's just for a run-of-the-mill Hoover Dam type thing. Never mind a flying city or Dogs Who Talk.

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Economy of scale

One magician can make as much grain as a small water-mill.

A small water-mill can be made into a big water-mill (water permitting) by adding more machinery. How can a magic-mill expand? Hire more magicians? Those magicians are rare, and casting mill grain over and over is so boring they demand high salaries.

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  • Machines work while you are tired, absent or asleep. "The magic system is energy-based. It can be used for things such as powering machinery" if teams of people on shifts need to be there conjouring magic while the machine runs, a waterwheel works 24/7.

  • Magic is an 'active' thing, it flows but can't wait like a coiled spring in a mousetrap.

  • It's easier to trade bellows and batteries than magic spells; people like economies.

  • Religion, people who think magic is the Devil's handiwork or unholy. Or they think magic is God's hand at work and using it for mundane problems they could solve themselves is asking too much, being too dependent on the Deity, making them lazy.

  • Culture, maybe "using magic" is considered intimate, private, erotic, or taboo in some manner. e.g. you don't accept magical healing from a stranger only mechanical healing; women performing magic are propagandised as "a temptation to men", or rumours spread that if men used magic in public they would use it to make women fall in love with them or make their clothes jump off - even if that's unrealistic - so it's socially frowned upon.

  • Risk; magic is powerful and powerful things can go wrong and have side effects, maybe machines are more boring but safer? Side effects like explosions and fires, or weirdness like things growing and appearing. Maybe magic needs bystanders to stay well clear. Maybe magic used for prolonged time gets increasingly risky so a 15 minute healing is safe enough but powering a machine for a week is dangerous?

  • You want ants? Because that's how you get ants. Life loves free energy, and there's bound to be some semi-magical locusts, ants, flies, parasites, looking for a feed wherever magical energy is flowing. Magic is for pushing the frontiers; use it only until a mechanical alternative is developed.

  • "Magic is mostly extracted energy [...] first law of thermodynamics" - from where is the energy borrowed? Maybe using too much magic borrows energy from nearby structures causing them to fall down, or nearby people/plants/animals causing them to get ill, so it's more useful in remote areas and less useful in builtup areas.

    • Maybe the energy has to be extracted first, saved up, before you can spend it. You need to visit the Volcano and gather heat energy before you can magically heat things.

    • Maybe the borrowed energy has to be repaid, either in a direct way (you borrowed 10 heats from the Volcano, you need to spend a week gathering waste heat and return it to the Volcano) or an indirect way (you borrowed 10 heats from your own future, you will be very cold for the next 10 days).

  • Suspicion or superstition, people who think magic is too good to be true and there must be a catch, e.g. a repayment with interest like a loan shark, a karmic punishment, or something unknown. Even if there isn't (or doesn't seem to be).

  • Inaccessibility, you mention "very difficult to learn, resulting in magic schools and universities." - what if you grew up in a remote town where nobody was able to teach it, or people could not afford to travel go to school, but you could pick up carpentry or blacksmithing or baking. (Magically created blades might be cheap enough to flood the market, but local blacksmiths could exist to do local tasks like horseshoeing or repair work).

  • Fear of the unknown, people (perhaps an Enlightenment style subculture) who like being able to understand things and shun what can't be understood in favour of what can - and encourage others to do likewise.

  • Ordinary fear, like we have of people who play with explosives; if your sister got hurt or killed trying magic, it could put you off for life, and you warn your children away from it.

  • Ascetics, analogous to the Amish, who shun magic because it makes their lives too easy and makes them weak and dependent on it, and prefer plain wood, metal, heat and effort to forge themselves into better people.

  • It's illegal; magic was used so much for industrial sabotage of walking past a competitor's business in the night and destroying it, that the only solution was a Mutually Assured Destruction style standoff (optionally limited to certain regions, industrial districts, military or government areas, etc).

  • Use of magic is obvious; using a large blast of difficult to control magical energy announces to everyone in a large area that you're doing something, building a purely mechanical machine doesn't.

  • Magical people can 'hear' magic, and using it is considered a kind of noise pollution and limited to daytime use only.

  • Differing skill levels, maybe powering a large machine is too hard for some people who could come together and build a waterwheel. See Peter F. Hamilton's The Void Trilogy where Edeard has much more powerful magic than everyone else.

  • Some things atrophy with age, if magic is like speaking a language maybe you can do it for a lifetime, but if it's like a professional sport or martial art then you may be past your prime at 35.

  • Charlatans spoiled it. The YouTube Hustle-Culture of magicworld, people making a quick buck by telling you how to get good at magic but selling you snake oil so you don't learn anything useful - and perhaps injure yourself so you can never do magic, or put you off it.

  • Elitists, people who learned something which was difficult to learn like to feel superior and pull the ladder up after them, maybe an exclusive guild or union of magic users politically and legally limit who can do it and in what circumstances.

  • Machines look pretty, you can't have much of an objet d'art if you take all the mechanism away and replace it with invisible magic.

  • Racism, tribalism, in-group/out-group dynamics. Segregationist short story by Isaac Asimov (PDF). Clearly the magic users are superior to the muggles. No, clearly the technologists are the more intelligent group compared to people spending years rote memorising handwaves.

  • Machines can be more intricate, e.g. how tweezers and microscopes and telescopes enhance what a human can do alone, or cameras can capture more detail in a glance than a human can draw in an hour. If magic has a granularity limit like "size of fingers", a distance limite like "twice as far as your arm can reach" or spreads with an inverse-square relation, machines might just be more practical for a lot of things.

  • Magic might require other supplementary resources - Paul Atreides could predict the future, but only with the help of Spice. You could use magic but the corner shop is all out of Eye of Newt and isn't expecting any for days.

  • Magic takes too long; who can wait a month for a magician to charge up a powerful spell when you can have a machine dragged here by horses in a week?

  • Anything you can do, I can do better, or the underdog effect. "Why have non-magic technology when there is already a magic solution?" well, because there is a magic solution, I'm driven compulsively to prove MY techno way can do anything your magic way can do, you see if I don't!

(Some cribbed from my answer to In an era of instantaneous travel, would more mundane methods still be used?)

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Read "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss

He has a similar magic system to yours and in chapter 51, the protagonist explains, and I quote below:

For example, if you engraved one brick with the rune ule and another with the rune doch, the two runes would cause the bricks to cling to each other, as if mortared in place.

But it’s not as simple as that. What really happens is the two runes tear the bricks apart with the strength of their attraction. To prevent this you have to add the rune aru to each of the bricks. Aru is the rune for clay, and it makes the two pieces of clay cling to each other, solving your problem. Except that aru and doch don’t fit together. They’re the wrong shape. To get them to fit you have to add a few linking runes, gea and teh. Then, for balance, you have to add gea and teh to the other brick, too. Then the bricks cling to each other without breaking. But only if the bricks are made out of clay. Most bricks aren’t. So, generally, it is a better idea to mix iron into the ceramic of the brick before it is fired. Of course, that means you have to use fehr instead of aru. Then you have to switch teh and gea so the ends come together properly. . . . As you can see, mortar is a simpler and more reliable route for holding bricks together.

This is an excellent example illustrating why, when a magical solution exists for a problem, a mundane one is just better.

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Develop them side-by-side, and you have countermeasures in case there's an EMP or an Anti-Magic-Shield EMP

First, a small frame-challenge: companies probably won't just "all-in" on electricity, especially for things that "must" stay online - at a previous company I worked at, while most things were on the public electrical grid, they also had emergency backup generators that, while expensive to run, kept essential equipment running in the case of a power outage. Stuff still went down, but the "Critical infrastructure" stayed powered on.

In a same way, a sudden drop in "Magic-capability" would be debilitating to a system using it. So you might supplement it with a "Backup-technology version".

In a similar way, you may find yourself in a situation where the best magic, or the best technology, finds itself being directly targeted. For example, in war, you might:

  • Use anti-magic-shielded bullets to do damage that can't be treated by standard magic treatments;

  • Use electrically-shielded bullets to do damage that can't be treated by technical solutions;

  • Force all magical lights to turn off in a range, and use technical LED lamps to get by during a night raid;

  • EMP the area and use Fire Magic-lit lamps to get by in an area during a night raid;

  • Use magical wounding to prevent bandages from sealing wounds;

  • Use technology that keeps wounds from sealing via magic.

There are a few other situations that are more likely to come up in the 16th and 17th century, but having a way to "No-sell" or "Counterspell" a technique would lead people to look for the next best alternative solution.

And that is why your doctors might not just have magical scalpel, but also have a regular scalpel, just in case.

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Because they complement each other and cover more needs than one alone.

You can use wheatum crushum when you want to mill some wheat and have no beast of burden, wind or river available, but if any of them is present, why bothering harvesting energy and put into a spell when a conventional mill can do the job?

Also, it is not a given that you will have a magic user at hand, or their services might not be affordable for you.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good point. While I will add it, anyone can do magic, it is just a really hard trade to practice, much like learning to be an electrician or IT worker $\endgroup$
    – Crafter
    Nov 11, 2022 at 5:42
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Technology is a more predictable field, seeing as magic is necessarily something that can't be explained. So even if it's less efficient in the short run, setting up an entire infrastructure on technology will be easier to build upon.

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Magic has severe limits. A magic user can only use so much magic per day (or hour, or whatever) before getting too worn out and having to stop to 'recharge'.

That recharging might mean sleeping for a week, drinking expensive magic potions (which might well have side effects when used a lot, like reduced effectiveness, addiction, poisoning, etc. etc.) or eating copious amounts of food.

A mechanical device will need maintenance as well, but that maintenance is cheaper to perform, and the device may well be cheaper to acquire than the mage is as well.

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Economy and market

Lets say there is company A and Company B. Company A has a magic academy/School it is funding, and raises an army of skillfull mages in variety of fields. Then, rents their services to different industries and places for fixing pretty much any problem.

Lets say, Company B has large amounts of mines, materials, lands, and engineers. Now, Company B cannot race Company A in terms of flexibility or range of applications. So, how can they race? Reduce the cost. How? Better technology, more efficient solutions, using more durable materials, mass production.

A race in economics can bea factor for developping plenty of different ideas. And in a world of magic and machinery, when the two race against each other, people will try to get creative.

"Oh! He can throw lightning! Cool! My machine can also throw lightning! But it doesn't need to eat or sleep! So I can give you 20% discount! How about it?"

War

Mages takes maybe decades to raise and train. But if you kill the mage, it is teh end of mage's usefulness. But a machine? Replace the broken parts and it is ready to go... Mostly. War, famine or other disasters causing mass deaths will eventually create scarcity on workers, or in this context, mages. But a machine doesn't need to eat. It can be fixed with a detailed user manual and people with little training. A machine can be more easily produced, deployed and maintained than a mage. When there is scarcity and disasters, people have to get creative and efficient. Or they will die.

Extremist beliefs and traumas

"Magic is evil! But we do need light, cleaning our house, tending the field and making food. But people get wounded or die. So we need a better solution. Any ideas?"

"Machines!"

People following extreme beliefs in different perspectives will focus on ideas and methods they feel comfortable with. Even in our world, many people don't trust modern medical science and try to seek cure from alternative methods. Makes sense? Debatable. But in a world of magic, you will have options.

For example, in modern world, you won't see many zeppelins because.. Hindenburg accident. It was a tragic accident which changed the focus on aero-engineering. A similar disaster relating magic, could do the same for a few local areas. Generational traumas, extreme accidents, disasters... These kinds of thigns will scare people and sometimes leave generational memories preventing them to pursue those. Similar stuff could create regions and groups all focus on either magic, or machine but definetely not both. Now, people needs food, medicine, transportation... So you have to develop something.

Specialization, long-term requirements, reaching the peak.

If you consider magic like art, there will always be people trying to hone it to perfection. Trying to add their techniques. THere are art schools, art majors. People will use different methods to express themselves and luckly, magic is extremely versatile. Also, maybe machines cannot create enough fire power or output when a mage can. Maybe only a true mage can reach to pinnacle of power. But a machine will break down after a level. Humans on the other hand, they heal. they adapt. And they can gain experience.

Machines on the other hand, has a really special place in mass production where they can beat mages in everyday use, repeated tasks and endurance on continuing a certain duty. Machines can be specialized in certain fields to fix a specific solution which could be tricky or annoying for mages. So, requirements may create different development paths for these two areas.

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Cost and Difficulty of Implementation

The same reason people use turnkey solutions like Wordpress or Shopify vs using custom code.

Certainly, if you want to have a blog site, or an ecommerce site, you can find a dev who will custom make every single piece of code (you could even demand a lack of use of any libraries, if you wished). But the expense to create such a thing, compared to a scalable, engineered solution is going to be quite high.

So maybe for certain things, where you need a lot of granularity and there's plenty of money, a mage makes sense.

But for most regularized standard things, a mage just isn't economically worth it. One size fits most, and those are the people who don't need, or don't need at that price, mages.

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As Larry Niven wrote in the classic short story, "The Magic Goes Away", "A knife always works."

That is, when spells and counterspells cancel each other out, what is left is amenable to technology and technological progress.

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There is a real or imaginary side effect of using magic. Maybe using too much magic within a short period of time causes earthquakes later. Or maybe it's just a story perpetuated by an influential cult to protect their interests in non-magical investments. You can make it as conspiracy-theoretic as your setting calls for. Magic could cause global warming (or cooling) if you are not afraid to anger your readers.

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Because non magical technology can be better or magical technology can be harmful.

Take healing for example and there are some diseases/poisons that kill the person by multiplying in the body. When using healing magic it works by stimulating the body to grow and it doesn't limit it to helpful things. This means when someone has certain diseases/poisons healing magic can actually be fatal for them. In cases like this it is better to use non magical means of healing to ensure the cure isn't fatal.

Another example is farming and magical means of growing crops and speeding up the growth use the same amount of nutrients and minerals from the land. Meaning that the more you use magic to farm the quicker you turn the land unusable and you would be better off using non magical means for growing crops.

There are other examples where magic can be helpful and get things done faster but the results end up being not as good as non magical means or straight up harmful.

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The utilization of magic comes with a potential consequence, whether it be real or perceived. It is plausible that excessive and concentrated use of magic within a limited timeframe leads to subsequent occurrences of earthquakes. However, there exists a narrative propagated by a powerful cult, potentially for the purpose of safeguarding their non-magical investments. This story may delve into the realm of conspiracy theories, as per the requirements of your setting. Exploring the idea further, the concept of magic itself could even be linked to global warming or cooling, should you be willing to provoke a sense of intrigue or concern among your readers.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi, Alex. It's usually bad form to provide answers to your main question in the body of your question. Actually, I think it's against the rules. Could you elucidate on what problem you're trying to solve instead of presenting your own solutions? $\endgroup$ Jun 26, 2023 at 16:08

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