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Future governments (1-100yrs) believe human civilization has de-evolved since the invention of the personal computer.

Their points are:

  • People stopped socializing
  • People don't go outside
  • Global depression and anxiety levels at an all time high
  • Cyber crime flourishes
  • Humans stopped thinking and remembering things
  • The information age enables people to rebel against the government

Therefore there is a world effort to completely outlaw the ownership of microprocessors for any uses. The only agencies allowed to own such computing capabilities are scientists at their lab (highly monitored) and the government (that includes banking and the stock exchange)

Is it viable or even possible that the world could get together to enact such laws? Would there be a rebellion? Is this possible in our world?

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  • $\begingroup$ Are you one of those luddites who don't understand how does new technology enhance people's lives and wish to return to a lesser developed era? (No offense, I would only like to know.) $\endgroup$ – mg30rg Feb 7 '16 at 8:57
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    $\begingroup$ Hell no,but the potential government is $\endgroup$ – downrep_nation Feb 7 '16 at 9:21
  • $\begingroup$ De-evolve isn't a thing. Evolution only has one direction, though the fitness function can be changed. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Feb 7 '16 at 9:28
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    $\begingroup$ @JDługosz Devolution is a thing. It's just that this concept has been bashed and ridiculed so much by various parties that the original meaning has been clouded over. But the actual meaning is (or was): evolution in a direction that would from an objective standpoint be seen as moving backwards. For instance, when animals live in dark caves with no light, their eyes degenerate with each generation. Things like that. $\endgroup$ – Mr Lister Feb 7 '16 at 15:07
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    $\begingroup$ Humans lost the massive chewing muscles of our ancestors because we started cooking. Is that "devolving"? You both say objective but that's not right at all - you're imposing a subjective point of view. objectively the organism changes to better fit the current situation. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Feb 7 '16 at 18:56
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Even nowadays it is impossible to perform in developed countries.


Everything would change.

For starters, if you ban microprocessors, you practically ban everything which works using electricity. Not only computers and smartphones, but dishwashers, washing machines, TV sets, radios, cars, buses and trains, aircrafts, non-analog watches... (The list is practically endless.) Some of those could be redesigned to work with non-smart technology, but that would mean a complete redesign.

But there is more than that...

Every office uses computers to handle data, and entire industries are based on computers and microelectronics. Modern industry would be useless without microprocessors, so hundreds of millions would lose their jobs. There is practically no area of modern life what wouldn't change with the ban of microprocessors.

Who would care?

There definitely would be a rebellion, because you wouldn't only take away basic comfort from people, but also their work. You (your foolish government) would try to mess with an industry with an enormous economical power. Tech giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple are already more powerful than most of the old national-states and if they saw they are facing total extinction because of some retarded politician they wouldn't afraid to use all their money, influence over the media (don't forget, they actually are the new media), and voting power of all their employees and customers to stop it. (Also, don't have illusions; noone with an agenda like that can get into a position where they could make it real. Multinational industry would never let that happen.)


But since your setup is not in the present but in the near future...

Should I remind you that IOT (Internet Of Things) is slowly becoming a thing? It means everything you own will have some sort of processor technology; your clothes, your vehicles, your household tools, even the very structure of your house - which means if the "great purge" comes, humanity wouldn't return to a late medieval level, but to the very stone-age. No clothes, no tools, no houses. Instead we would have a huge problem: 7 billion people unskilled in agriculture and basic survival on a planet which could only maintain a few hundred million without complex planning and agriculture.


So TL;DR:

That wouldn't work.

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    $\begingroup$ Great point about agriculture. +1 $\endgroup$ – Wossname Feb 7 '16 at 16:14
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    $\begingroup$ It certainly wouldn't work. As you say, it would mass starvation and misery. However that does not necessarily mean it could not happen. Sadly, history has many examples of governments embarking on policies that cause mass starvation and provoke violent rebellion, and nonetheless pursuing those policies with insane determination even as the consequences become clear. See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collectivization_in_the_Soviet_Union $\endgroup$ – Lostinfrance Feb 7 '16 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ However, despite the inevitable huge suffering, would it really take humanity back to a situation of no clothes, no tools, no houses? There would surely be houses, tools, and even clothes left over from before the time when the internet of things became popular. I asked a slightly similar question about forced technological regression on WBSE some time ago ( worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/q/15089/9207 ) and among the answers were good suggestions for minimising the suffering. $\endgroup$ – Lostinfrance Feb 7 '16 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Lostinfrance That part of my answer directly targeted the not-so-far future, when all technology is "smart" technology. There would be no clothes/houses/tools because all would be microprocessor-powered, therefore banned. $\endgroup$ – mg30rg Feb 7 '16 at 20:03
  • $\begingroup$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. $\endgroup$ – mg30rg Feb 8 '16 at 13:47
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Someone somewhere perfects non-nuclear(?) EMP bombs and some megalomaniac uses them on a continental scale. They don't quite destroy the world but the collapse of a continent's information networks brings mass starvation and hundreds of millions of deaths.

I think after this, survivors and inhabitants of other continents will take a very different view of microprocessors. However, entertainment devices will not be top of the list. Controllers in the power grids and in automobiles will be. Then computers doing finance and bookkeeping. Back to manual switches, relay logic, electromechanical fuel injection, pen, paper and mechanical calculators. "Never again".

It doesn't stop there, though. The removal of all microprocessors becomes the basis of a new quasi-religious movement. Something not unlike the Butlerian jihad is under way.

I appreciate this scenario is rather different to the questioner's, but if a scenario in which the premise might come to pass is required, I think this one works.

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In n-ty years from now, a quantum phingamaboob processor is intended, that can be integrated into every single cell of the body, giving extended longevity/probably extending to immortality benefits or a sort of post-death existence ("upload").

In order for that technology to work, other ways of restructuring entropic flow shall be banished and having the simplest life is the way to live longer.. guess there'll be a group of immortals wishing for pre-stoneage.

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