Yesterday, some weird aliens decided to test their cloning device on earth. It blew up, and killed the aliens. However, it also created a one foot tall exact copy of everyone on earth. ( I shall call them: Mini me's. They pop into existence anywhere within a few feet of the Original, and they are exact copies in nearly every way.)

They have all of the original's memories. The only difference is that they are one sixth the size of the Original. They also have the same medical conditions and things like that. However, only biological matter is cloned. So they wouldn't have tattoos, earrings, or clothes. (AH! Cover it up!) One clone per person is made.

Everyone is cloned, as long as they are not brain dead. So a man who's heart just stopped is cloned, and that clone's heart is stopped. Terminally ill people have terminally ill clones. Sad, but it is true.

Also, these little people are able to reproduce and have tiny offspring.

The only bond you have between yourself and your little copy is your appearance and memories. You look exactly alike, your mini me remembers being your size and doing everything you did up until the cloning. It will be very disorienting for them.

How would the government of the modern United States respond to this event? What would be the important factors to consider? For the purposes of this question, please assume that the US government is actually effective, and please avoid discussing individual politicians. This is a question about the US government in general, not the US government right now.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm sending him to do my job for me. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Feb 3, 2016 at 18:48
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    $\begingroup$ Food and water can't catch up fast enough unless you consider the alien solved it by dropping free one foot long bacon for everyone on Earth... don't worry I probably can't outrun everybody but come on this is mini me! $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Feb 4, 2016 at 0:59
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    $\begingroup$ I think the only two things of particular importance here are A) do the clones have any legal right to things the originals own and B) how do we physically afford to feed/clothe/shelter the clones. A would turn into a giant mess that would get sorted relatively quickly, and B isn't really important since they're so tiny they don't eat much. I think focusing on the specifics of A makes for a fun question. Unlike other cloning questions, here we don't really need to worry about relationships, since mini-me will just hang out with mini-mom and sleep with mini-girlfriend, etc. $\endgroup$
    – MichaelS
    Feb 6, 2016 at 1:43
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    $\begingroup$ Correction: my math was all wrong. A copy of a six-foot 176 pound person who is one foot tall will weigh not 5 pounds but about 13 ounces. It will take 216 of them to weigh as much as one of us. The new population will need about 3% more housing area and will consume only about 0.5% more food and clean water - as Xandar says, leftovers. The problem with their 1.2 billion cars remains as they will occupy about 17% more parking space. $\endgroup$ Feb 7, 2016 at 6:30
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    $\begingroup$ Congrats, you just invented gnomes :) $\endgroup$
    – beppe9000
    Apr 3, 2016 at 19:18

6 Answers 6


The government will, fairly quickly, have to adjudicate a few matters:

  • Citizenship: Since technically these little people weren't born (the aliens made them), it's not clear what if any citizenship they hold. Since it would be impractical to have half the world's population be stateless, I think the government would consider them to inherit the citizenship of their "sources", same as they inherited other characteristics.

  • Identity: While the little people start with all the memories, skills, and presumed credentials of their sources, the government will quickly decide that the sources are the original people -- who have jobs, leases, contracts, tax obligations, and more -- and the little people are "extras". Doing otherwise would be sheer chaos, and some in government will surely point out that, if needed, the big people could force the matter. In the end, the little people will inherit no jobs, credit-card debt, or obligations from their sources.

  • Rights to assets: These mini-people need to be able to eat, obtain medical care, pay for services, and so on. They need money. Are they on their own, as if they'd appeared at the border with only the clothes on their backs? It would be politically untenable to require each source person to give half his assets to his mini clone (though some will make a comparison to child-support laws), and aside from the contents of their wallets no money or durable goods were introduced into the system as part of this cloning. I predict that in the short term the government would tap refugee-aid organizations and budgets to cover immediate needs and provide tax benefits to people who adopt their clones. In the longer term there would be a broader debate in the country that parallels the debates about social welfare and immigration.

  • Special services: Quite aside from how they came to be and how they fund their day-to-day needs, little people have special needs that society has never had to address before. Will the Americans with Disabilities Act be brought into play, with public transportation, buildings, roads, and school systems being required to provide for the size-challenged? Or will owners and providers of services argue that refitting buses, stairwells, curb cuts, elevator buttons, and more goes well beyond "reasonable accommodations"? In the end, the matter will be brought to the courts and new legislation will be required. While there will be pressure for the little people to form their own colonies where all the roads, buildings, counter-tops, light switches, and so on can be scaled to them, others will argue against creating ghettos and for full integration.

  • Employment law: In some professions the little people are out of luck; being a construction worker doesn't immediately transfer to the full-size person's job. But in other professions, there is now a glut on the workplace pool. Since (per "assets" above) there's going to be a desire for the little people to be self-supporting, the government might have to relax its wage laws and union protections. In order to get that many more people into the workforce, it's going to have to be permissible to lower compensation.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you Monica. You have been very helpful. In more ways than good answer... Also, nothing other than the person itself was cloned. So, even the tiny wallets would be nonexistent. $\endgroup$ Feb 7, 2016 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ Oh whoops; you're right. I missed the part about "biological matter only". Yeah, definitely nothing being introduced into the economy that way, then. $\endgroup$ Feb 7, 2016 at 21:20
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you Monica. The majority of the American people are probably as thoughtful and serious as you, and if your voices prevail, the sudden appearance of billions of tiny humans will ultimately prove to be an asset instead of a disaster. $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2016 at 3:18

They will decide to take over, given their smaller size they will think they can enjoy more resources of the planet. A studio apartment would become a luxurious loft and so on. They have our memories so they know all our passwords and pin numbers, the ones with less scruples will steal all they can from their regular-sized clones... prices of baby clothing will go through the roof.

The takeover wont be immediate or organized from the beginning, at first will be just a matter of human nature: they will get more and more power thanks to their ability to work on miniaturized technology and eventually they will be the only ones that can afford travelling as airlines wont waste any time in cramming six times the number of people in an airplane each paying a regular ticket price. For regular sized people the tickets will become incredibly expensive. The rest of the transport industry will follow, and from there restaurants, hotels and so on. Regular sized people will push favoring the miniclones because of monetary reasons without caring for the consequences. Their vacations will be better than ours, their life more affordable, they will be happier and spend more time babymaking... Once they will multiply and their number will be higher than the regular people they will vote for their own representatives in government and cut us off. Regular humans will end living in areas less accessible to the miniclones, eventually going extinct.

Hundreds of years later the minipopulation will end with having grown enormously, they will realize that they overdid it and went through the planet like a swarm of locusts in a field. Miniwars and unrest will be the norm but advancement in technology will allow a small group of miniscientists in a minibase in Antarctica to find a way to make interstellar travel a possibility so they still have hope... some little hope.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't know, there will be a lot less of them, considering the death toll, and we will still be more powerful. And then there will be little people discrimination, meaning they probably won't gain too much power. The first generation might still have qualms about killing their origional's, or the people they remember. If they were to gain power, it would probably take at least two generations. $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2016 at 20:28
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    $\begingroup$ people has no problems killing each other as it is now... who said who would discriminate whom? but yes, as i was saying it wouldnt be immediate but id be afraid for my bank account anyways... $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2016 at 23:10
  • $\begingroup$ If you would steal from a giant version of yourself, then you'd better worry. However, if you wouldn't steal from a giant version of yourself, you;d have nothing to worry about. $\endgroup$ Feb 5, 2016 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ Try to think from the clones point of view: all the memories, headaches and crap taken up to then and nothing to show for it? Too many regular people think that way with other people's stuff, go figure something they might think its actually their own... Maybe should be specified if they have better morals than us?... but yes I always watch my hand very carefully when i shave in the morning ;) $\endgroup$ Feb 5, 2016 at 15:15
  • $\begingroup$ The Big Ones have an unassailable advantage over the Small Ones. Try opening a door whose handle is 4 body lengths above you, and requires the strength of 10 men to turn the knob? Try crossing a street, and have to climb the shoulder-height concrete barrier that is called a "kerb". Worst of all, you live on the 44th floor of an apartment building. The elevator buttons are too high to reach, and do not react to your touch as you body is too small a capacitive sink to trigger them. So stairs it is. 44 floors down, 1144 cliffs each as tall as a teenager are in your future. $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Feb 17, 2021 at 19:44

Not sure for the long term, but in the short term, unless your cloning machine is spatially aware, you are going to have a lot of little people falling out of the sky/drowning/etc. You are also going to have a lot of people trapped in dirt or walls. Many of the clones of people in planes will appear outside of the plane. Anyone who is sky diving will have their clone appear and free fall. Same goes with people who are rock climbing. A lot of people on the water will have clones that are immediately underwater. Depending on the skills of the original (and the depth they are at), the clone may or may not survive. For people underground, the clone may end up submerged in the earth. Likewise, for people in/near buildings, the clones may end up stuck in the walls.

After the initial carnage, I imaging most of the clones would start to be incorporated into society. You will need to deal with food supplies and whether the clones have the same rights as the originals (can they vote?). I imagine that some would seperate into special towns built for clones, but some would prefer to stay within the normal society.

You will also have to deal with the psychological issues that come about due to everything that happened in the first paragraph.

  • $\begingroup$ They are slightly spatially aware, in that they can't be created in solid substances. So while they won't be in solid stone, or walls, or dirt, they can be created underwater or a million miles in the sky. But I really feel bad for the ones that get created outside of airplanes... $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2016 at 18:29
  • $\begingroup$ Not to mention the poor clones of the astronauts. You will have some issue with clones that wind up in the empty space between walls or in small caves in the earth that are mostly closed off. At least you won't have anyone half buried in concrete, though... $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2016 at 18:38
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think that the teleported can operate In a vacuum, though. Maybe that's why they didn't do it on Mars, or another planet. Maybe earth's atmosphere is conducive to cloning. I'm really trying to not be cruel, while remaining consistent. $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2016 at 20:26
  • $\begingroup$ That's fair. If you want to minimize the death of the clones, you might want to add rules like the machine can only clone people who are relatively stationary. You will get way less clones, but the ones you get will be at least slightly less likely to immediately die. $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2016 at 20:32
  • $\begingroup$ Well, the machine did explode... Anway, I think a good benchmark would be everything over 100 miles per hour is not cloned. Anyway, I wonder what would happen withing the first hour. People's reactions... Anway, that is up for speculation. $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2016 at 20:50

On day one we kill 20% - 80% with shovels.

Most of the little people that survived would hide in the storm sewers and wilderness where they would be eaten by rats and other critters.

The few that survived would be hidden either by their cell donors or by strange people.

We would all remember that day when those creepy homunculi tried to attack us.

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    $\begingroup$ Yeah... No. They are people too. Little people. Not everyone is a homicidal maniac at heart. While it may be likely a lot are killed, it definitely wouldn't be eighty percent! $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2016 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, they wouldn't be people. They would have too few brain cells for complex thought. $\endgroup$
    – Oldcat
    Feb 3, 2016 at 22:37
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    $\begingroup$ @Oldcat Ph, they have smaller brain cells. It's scifi, emphasis on the fiction. $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2016 at 22:49

As far as the American government is concerned, and if recent history is to be our guide, both houses will be totally paralyzed by partisan non-issues and unable to pass any relevant legislation much less conduct an understandable discussion.

Barney Frank will campaign to franchise them as natural-born American citizens because he knows their diet of table scraps will make them natural-born socialists. Also, it will take 99.5% less weed per capita to keep them happy.

Donald Trump will threaten to build lots and lots of teeny little walls, but they'll all be great. The Donald will gain some initial traction because it will take approximately 650 mini-people to shout down the insanity of one Trump supporter.

Meanwhile the executive will wring its hands and desperately try to appease the groundswell of Tea Party yahoos who are noisily denying that the event ever even happened.

The bulk of the American mini-person population will emigrate to Australia to escape the widespread dysfunctional chaos. Upon reflection, the bulk of the normal-sized population will attempt to follow.

  • $\begingroup$ Sighs "just, just", sighs again... $\endgroup$ Feb 7, 2016 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ It is very difficult to post a relevant answer to a question that keeps changing every few hours. $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2016 at 3:03
  • $\begingroup$ Well, you could have at least tried. And I had five answers to deal with, along with lots of threatening to close, and the question actually closing. I mean, this is the politically charged version of King-Ink's answer. I mean, shovels and insulting political parties are normally not the best answers. $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2016 at 4:14
  • $\begingroup$ I believe Worldbuilding should be considered a resource in support of the art of storytelling. King-Ink and I have responded with honest reactions to the potential of your question as a story idea. Fortunately Erik and Monica were able to compose thoughtful and serious answers to balance King-Ink's and my snarkiness. $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2016 at 4:26
  • $\begingroup$ Look, there's nothing really wrong with them, except that I was kind of looking for realistic answers. I'd be happy to retract my close vote, though. And while an edit of mine did make King-Ink's answer a little off topic, he still came out with a net gain of +1. $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2016 at 4:29

This is definitely the most believable. Consider the news stories we've read lamenting the theft of coronavirus vaccination secrets (can you believe there's such a thing?) Alien clones that have pirate copies of everyone's memory aren't going to receive nearly so much consideration.


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