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Set in 2015, a highly classified experiment goes awry and as a result the entire universe including non-observable and all multiverses are trapped in an infinite time loop whereby each cycle lasts 24 hours. If our memories can be carried over from one cycle to the next but everything must eventually reset to the same exact setting at the start of the next cycle, can the modern civilization still be able to improve on existing technology such as developing commercialized flying cars or pocket size fusion reactor that comes with energy storage just to name a few?

Allow me to clarify/set the rules:

  • The entire universe inclusively starts and ends each time loop at different timing as the disruption of time-space ripples from the point of man made accident at the speed of light.
  • The duration of each time loop lasts exactly 24 hours.
  • All changes made during the time loop will be reverted/rolled back to exactly match the setting when the disruption took place.
  • All memories inclusively is carried over to the next cycle in the form of an intuition.
  • Only memories that involves bio-chemical process within the human's brain in the absent of any artificial means is carried over.
  • Whether does anyone realize about the time loop is irrelevant as the disruption of space-time cannot be slowed, stopped or reversed.
  • No two time loops are the same unless "if you roll the dice enough times..."
  • I'll take a break then continue later to cover a few loopholes :)

Excellent answer if any must devise scientific proven way(s) for civilization to progress technologically within the rules stated, and such progress would eventually leads to the development of commercial flying cars etc in at least one of the time loop.

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you have a reason to suspect that the physical state of the world is sufficiently important to civilization that it wont simply progress on the mental states alone? (and how traumatic is the jump backwards for someone who was awake when it occurred?) $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon - Reinstate Monica Nov 6 '15 at 7:36
  • $\begingroup$ @CortAmmon: Rome is not built in a day and also having 1 day worth of intuition can't breaks any healthy person's mind i think. $\endgroup$ – user6760 Nov 6 '15 at 7:45
  • $\begingroup$ Does that mean if I move my position at some time, and the 24 hrs finish later, then I will automatically get transported to my initial position? Since my new position is stored in my memory, I will consciously know that I have been transported. Furthermore, since the 24 hr cycle has nothing do with the timezones on the earth, it is likely that majority of the human race will be aware of the problem on day 1 itself. $\endgroup$ – ghosts_in_the_code Nov 6 '15 at 8:38
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    $\begingroup$ possible duplicate of worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/18051/… $\endgroup$ – Marv Mills Nov 6 '15 at 12:45
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    $\begingroup$ This is not a duplicate. This is about technological-development while the other was about the social reaction to this event. Can the modern civilization still be able to improve on existing technology...? VS What do societies do? What does the government do? $\endgroup$ – Vincent Nov 6 '15 at 23:35
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No.

If people woke up every cycle with a complete memory of the previous ones, it might be worth discussing the logistics of trying to build a prototype designed over many cycles, but if all that remains of a partially completed design is an intuition that you were working on X and Y might be the correct way to do it, you would spend too much of each cycle retracing your steps.

Edit: Since it is a very interesting question, I wonder if you can describe in more detail how people experience the moments after the reset.

  • If they previously realized that they're in a time loop, do they remember that or is it just a sense they've already lived this?
  • Do intentions held in mind just before the reset carry over? Like "I am going directly to the physics lab at MIT when I wake up".
  • Do people with eidetic memory retain more?
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  • $\begingroup$ 1) a hunch 2) another hunch 3) more like day dreaming $\endgroup$ – user6760 Nov 6 '15 at 10:43
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I'd like to note that we already have commercial flying cars. Nobody has noticed because we call them "helicopters" rather than "flying cars". :-P


As to inventing things while time looping: it's possible that individual inventors might teach themselves how to produce new creations. They have infinite time, after all, and any resources they use will get reset the next day. It's a great environment for experimentation and research, assuming you have a good memory.

But you can't build a helicopter (or a fusion reactor) in a day. Even with much smaller inventions that you could build in a day, people generally won't feel it's worth the effort to keep rebuilding them every day forever.

Most of our scientific advancement relies on transfer of knowledge between people -- for example, publishing journal articles about your latest discovery, so that other people can build on your advances. But there won't be any new journal articles after the timeloops start. Any scientific collaboration that happens will be done by calling up the original inventor and asking them to explain their work to you. With all our newfound free time, that could still work, but only the most dedicated would pursue it.

You asked about commercial helicopters, so I'll note that the new ruleset stops nearly all commerce. Any material goods you produce will get reset; any money you receive in exchange for labor will get reset. And it's not like you needed money anyway: all the food, water, etc, you consume will get reset as well.


AndreiROM portrays this as a really dystopian scenario, where people just "give up living" because everything gets reset. I'd like to present a different view: this is just like real life, except you never have to work again.

You can spend the day hanging out with your friends; you can go to wild parties and get crazy drunk and never deal with the hangover. You can eat and not get fat; you can sleep with strangers and not get a disease. You can read all the books and play all the videogames and watch all the tv. Things might get old eventually, but it would take a very long time.

I guess you do get a problem with criminals, in that they can go on killing-and-torture sprees and society can't effectively imprison them. The risk with doing that is that the people they kill might be ready for them the next day and kill them back.

It's undeniable that, for some people in some parts of the world, life would get pretty hellish. But I choose to be optimistic and say that, for a lot of people, life would be pretty good for a very long time.

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  • $\begingroup$ I agree that as people realize that there are no consequences to their actions anymore, all people would roughly divide into large groups of hedonists and apathetics and smaller groups of crazies and heroes. But wth only hunches to go on, that might not play out until the evening every cycle. $\endgroup$ – Cyrus Nov 7 '15 at 6:45
  • $\begingroup$ You mention that people would enjoy themselves, read books, sleep around, etc. But what about an author, who's book will never be published, because the universe is constantly reset? No new books/movies/music will be released again. You mention meeting friends, but what if you were far away when this incident started? What if it takes you 15+ hrs of travel to get home. In less than 9 hrs the universe resets, and you wake up away from your loved ones. Airlines stop operating, so maybe you can't even go home to see your loves ones. Think ppl won't be crazy/apathetic? $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Nov 7 '15 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ @AndreiROM Some forms of enjoyment would have to change. An author that wishes to publish their book might need to change their tack. Instead, become a wandering storyteller, telling your story rather than publishing it. After all, the memories, once generated by an individual, survive the groundhog day, while the paper does not $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon - Reinstate Monica Feb 21 '18 at 20:19
  • $\begingroup$ @cortammon - the issue was never that some forms of enjoyment would change, it's that there are much bigger considerations at play than simply "oh, cool, we can have fun all the time now!" If you suffer from a broken limb, it will never heal. Police, and other government agencies will have no incentive to go to work each day. The world would turn into a completely chaotic dog-eat-dog kind of hell hole given enough time. And as memories always travel back with you, so will memories of being raped, or horribly tortured, which will most definitely impact people's sanity. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Feb 21 '18 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ @AndreiROM True, if one's thinking and approach to life does not change with this massive change to how life works, it'll be pretty miserable! $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon - Reinstate Monica Feb 21 '18 at 20:28
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As Cyrus said, the answer is an emphatic NO.

Intuition, or daydreams are not enough to develop a complex system in less than 24 hours. You would need solid work, written down research, teams of people coming together and coordinating their efforts, etc.

Would each day play out a little differently? Most certainly. People would have "hunches", or "day dreams", as you put it, and maybe alter their routine slightly. But in the end, they would never get around to doing much more than their planned tasks for that day.

To address the scenario where people might actually carry over the memory of the day before, I think the saying "ignorance is bliss" would apply here in spades.

If people started re-living the same day over and over again, and their surroundings would reset, but their memories would not, I think it's fair to say that most people would go insane.

People would first try to have fun - take stuff from stores without paying, just walk away from their lives and travel, maybe commit crimes that they would otherwise never have imagined. But how long would it take for it to get old? A week? A month? A year? A decade?

What's the point of going to work, or cooking dinner, or taking care of the kids, or working out, or ANYTHING, if any effort you put in gets cancelled out within 24 hrs? People would just give up living. Society would break down.

And what about the people who are stuck in their old age, or horribly injured/sick, or have just lost someone dear to them, and feel incredible emotional pain?

Someone, somewhere would just decide to end their life, only to wake up again the next day. And that's when the madness would truly begin - people desperate to end their suffering, and so jaded to violence that they don't even blink at killing anyone.

In that kind of environment no research as to how to stop the process would get done either, by the way, unless breaking the cycle would succeed in the beginning, or by way of an effort which can be achieved within 24 hours.

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Sounds like you want to have a Groundhogs Day scenario without the consequences of what that is.

If a day repeated itself then it would start over from the beginning point. All the progress that could happen would be the progress that happened in that day. That's it. No one in it could surpass that as they would also start over with the day.

It's already a fantasy, but its even more fantasy that Bill Murray (Groundhogs Day) and Tom Cruise (The Edge of Tomorrow) are outside of that loop.

Even allowing for that, the characters they play could only do as much as could get done in the time they have. For example if they have only 24 hours they still couldn't build advance an entire society in that time.

You goal should be more manageable within the time loop you've created. But with every loop closing off nothing would carry over (except for the fantasy Murray/Cruise characters memory).

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to answer your question I would say no, even with your population retaining a hunch of what they may have done in previous cycles having only a 24 hour period to do it in leaves them very little time to innovate much of anything, and further anything they do manage to invent will have 24 hours minus however much time they needed to complete it, making it fairly improbable that it will have a real chance to give tangible benefits

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