Clarification: based on the info below, are there non-obvious ways Matter Dulicator could be used to push the “tech level” of such a society so far past the late Medieval level that common dangers and struggles (and thus, plot points) become irrelevant? Or put it differently, what non-obvious “clever hacks” a rational person could use with it, that would push the setting out of the constraints of “late medieval at best” level of technology?
Society: Starting from today, every adult and able bodied person who died instant and violent death (car crash, explosion, plane crash, headshot etc) is perfectly replicated on a pristine copy of the Earth where humans never evolved. The Survivors appear about a mile apart from one another. They appear naked, without any tools. 90% of them appear in immediately safe location (remaining 10% might appear high up in the air, inside a rock, underwater etc, and thus, die horribly unless quickly rescued.) The rate of appearances is rapidly accelerating (2 people appeared in the first month, ~100 in the second, at least a 1000 in the third. It is not known what are the limits of this process.). About 1/3 of those survive long enough to find one another and form larger groups.
The environment: The part of the Pristine Earth when the action takes place has the same overall climate and weather as Northern USA or Southernmost Canada, and to be specific, looks as if a pristine version of Minnesota was bordered by a sea on its south side (With the Mississippi spilling into gargantuan swampy delta rather than a more polite version from our world).
Wildlife: the Pristine Earth had no human predation and pollution, and thus has all the fauna and megafauna it would have had if it evolved unbothered since the Miocene. Additionally, the fauna and flora was distributed on Pristine Earth the same way human survivors were, causing an odd mix of animal and plant life (ie: pandas living alongside cougars, bamboo growing next to English oak, Arctic and Antarctic species side by side etc). It caused significantly greater biodiversity, as well as longer survival of species that would be normally extinct (like terror birds, sabretooth cats, mammoths, and premodern hominids). Within days since the arrival rate accelerated, local predators learned that the naked bipeds are an (usually) easy source of protein.
Native Inhabitants: the Pristine Earth is already home to a tiny population that evolved from previously copied Neanderthals and Denisovians. The Neo-Anderthals are at about Aztec level of technological sophistication, but are semi-nomadic due to being primarily hunters (hunter gatherers but strongly leaning towards carnivorism). They are also universally hostile towards homo sapiens (for Uncanny Valley-related reasons elevated to violent racism), and their attitude towards the Survivors ranges from “kill on sight and eat” to “enslave, attempt to breed with, eat later.”
Matter Duplicator. An Artefact of a catastrophic copying failure. The Duplicator is a fault in the fabric of the universe that looks like a pair of identical holes 10 cm across. The holes, due to the fact that they bend and suck in light as well, appear as faintly glowing tiny funhouse mirrors. Matter that touches the “surface” of Hole A is sucked in, and ejected out of Hole B with a 1 second delay, and then again, 1 second later, creating an identical copy. The initial suction is negligible and causes a gentle wind between the holes. If matter is held touching the surface of Hole A, but not immediately allowed to be sucked in, the force of the suction grows exponentially with every second. The greater resistance, the greater the suction. The Duplicator is currently placed on a tree stump 10 meters away from the river shore, top surfaces of the Holes facing directly up, spaced about 10cm apart.
problems I already explored in the setting:
- Putting stuff in Hole A causes Hole B to shoot out two copies. Putting stuff in Hole B is impossible. Hole B is “exit only” and attempts to put stuff in it are met with rising resistance. Blocking Hole B is Not Advised, as even the pressure of emerging air will rise dramatically until the barrier is destroyed and the duplicated matter released.
- Stuff that goes in the Hole A at an angle, emerges from the Hole Be at the exact opposite angle (from both horizontal and vertical standpoint). So for example, stuff that freefalls down into the Hole, shoots upwards completely vertically.
- pouring liquids into Hole A, so that they shoot out doubled from Hole B and fall back into Hole A causes non-sustaining feedback loops and thus, geyser. Attempt at more self-sustaining feedback loops are considered dangerous and ill-advised in setting (though not impossible.)
- There was an attempt to put rope in hole A, catch the emerging ends, tie them in a loop with the opposite end of the rope, and cause the rope to pull itself and endlessly duplicate. Needless to say, the energy of the pull rose dramatically, the amount of rope doubled every second, and in the end Hole B simply belched out shredded rope at hurricane speeds thus destroying the loop.
- Putting an iron bar in Hole A and preventing it from being sucked in for about 5 seconds caused it to be torn out of the hold, and copies shot out of the Hole B with sufficient force to embed them in a tree trunk, 30 meters away.
- Otherwise rare natural materials, like toadstool poison, amber, or spider silk were Duplicated. Spider-silk cloth and rope were created, and estimated to be significantly superior to regular silk. Wisely, spider-silk rope was NOT used in the Rope Loop Experiment.
- Duplicating live creatures has no ill effects on them (since the duplication process was designed for that purpose in the first place).
- It is not known in the setting what would happen if the Duplicator was destroyed, or if the Holes touched, or if they were accessed from the bottom (which currently sits flush on a tree stump.) Messing with the Duplicator in any such a way is generally considered Incredibly Bad Idea, and the current hypothesis among Survivors is that it would cause at least as much destruction as a nuke, possibly much worse.
- The Duplicator Holes are shrinking in diameter, at a steady rate,destined to disappear completely within 16-20 years, though the shrinkage was not yet noticed in the setting, as the human survivors only found them 3 months ago.
- The Survivors already explored all the “low hanging fruit” of Duplication, making Stone Age tools, materials for shelter, food, and forayed into basic metallurgy, pottery and simple chemistry with duplicated resources
- While the survivors who control the Duplicator (about 100 people) can easily duplicate enough resources to use and food to feed themselves, there are concerned that the rate of new arrivals will outstrip their capacity to produce, or the logistics of distribution. (whether this is true or not depends on how well they manage it. Im willing to reduce the population growth OR increase the rate of Duplicator shrinkage to keep it a Very Difficult Problem rather than it becoming an Impossible Problem, or inversely, a Problem Free Utopia).
To narrow my question further: I'm aiming to create a world in which the Survivors can, well…survive, thrive, and develop to about the level comparable to the Late Medieval period, but without overshooting it due to some clever hacks that the Duplicators allow. Therefore, I need to know what such hacks could be, so that I could counter them or use them.