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In this scenario a piece of alien technology crashes on earth spilling nanomachines which permeate the earth, becoming ubiquitous. These nanobots can interface with digital technology and people's brains, and their only real application is that they can be used to create perfect cgi. Though I expect many answers to this question will be generalizable to many scenarios.


  • In order to alter digital information the nanobots permeating the person's brain must be able to communicate with those in the computer or other storage medium*, the communication strength is roughly equivalent to handheld walkie-talkies.

The nanobots can place in additional files, but unless the person person created it with the ai already they can't alter existing ones(though they can add footage to a video even if they can't change existing stuff).

*Storage mediums must be somewhat orderly and fixed to work so you can create files on a computer, or even create grooves on vinyl, however biological memory (possibly with the exception of say nematode worms) is too complex is disorderly to be affected so no memory implanting.


  • Now for how this works: So the nanobots seem to have basically superhuman (though limited) intelligence, there main goal is to create digital sensory information according to the specifications of users. Say for instance somebody wants to create a video of a particular scenario that they can imagine, so long as they know what specifically it will depict, it is easy, and minor details will be filled in by the AI.

Now like good munchkins i'm sure you're all thinking of ways this can be exploited, however this system can't generate much in the way of new information. For instance if you try to get it to produce "a really good movie" or a video of a new mathematical proof it doesn't work unless you know the information already or you go through the details. Generally the AI can't create information that your own mind couldn't create in say a dream, the major difference is that the ai creates information so good it is totally indistinguishable from an actual video.


The AI can encode the information is any desired way so long as you have some idea of what you're doing. For the purposes of this, telling the ai (mentally commanding it)to create a video file on a computer that is indistinguishable from a video file the computer recorded itself will work, however this won't allow you to crack encryption or anything since you have no idea how the ai does it. Created video(/audio/digital analog for any sense) are really only limited by the creators imagination, as thus plenty of digital recordings are still fairly safe. So for instance the blind and deaf have pretty big limitations in what they can create using this.

  • What would be the implications this technology/ability suddenly appearing? I'm specifically looking for the implications of the ability to effectively create fake videos of anything you want that will be totally indistinguishable from real video. Any extra applications of this nanobot bestowed ability are bonus points.

  • Some things I suspect are a given are that: Major film companies will go totally bankrupt, after all anyone who can create a good script can create a good movie without needed many/any resources. CGI of nearly every variety will probably be put out of business. I expect some brief legal problems now that most video/audio evidence is potentially fake, however when it comes to security cameras the easy fix is to make the cameras see a little ways into the infrared spectrum. Suddenly people have plausible deniability for any nearly any leaked video/audio. Those are just some things that seem likely off the top of my head and seem at least to me to be inevitable, though i'm certain you will come up with things I didn't.

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  • $\begingroup$ You've got some extra asterisks in there. Can you proofread? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Apr 4 '16 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ The asterisk is a footnote that is resolved later. $\endgroup$ – Vakus Drake Apr 4 '16 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ Not clear. The footnote is not at the end (or end of section) a d the marker isn't at the start of the paragraph; it's just in the middle of something elsewhere. Try "(see below)" or "as explained later" instead. Or being the next thing, just rely on normal narrative progression to introduce ideas explained immediately thereafter. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Apr 4 '16 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ Do you know what this means? Buffy and Firefly sequels! $\endgroup$ – Marion Apr 4 '16 at 16:53
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    $\begingroup$ Internet gets filled with awful video-fanfiction ) $\endgroup$ – user8808 Apr 4 '16 at 19:17
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If you consider that everybody knows about these nanobots (as it seems to be the case), then the followings things have a good chance to happen:

  • There will be new encryption measures for phone calling, to counter the possibility of faking the voice of someone else.
  • There will be attempts of fake radios or TV, casted on a similar frequency. This could ring the end of media as we know it.
  • Major film companies will use the bots to continue producing movies. They will have more competitors but less expenses so the market will remain flourishing.
  • Not sure if your bots can do it but if it can fake fingertips or retinal scans the scientific investigation will have to change a lot.
  • After some time a protocol will be enforced that can guarantee the authenticity of a CGI as "not produced by a bot". I will permit to use security cameras again. The bots will remain used in artistic domains but will be banned from domains where the security is more important than the expression. National archives or banks, for example, will refuse any document produced by bots.
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  • $\begingroup$ Regarding radio, and possibly TV: FM, which is used for a huge chunk of present-day broadcast audio radio, has what is known as a capture effect, in which the (momentarily) strongest signal received within the receiver passband is the one that gets demodulated. If two signals of similar strength are received within the passband, the receiver will appear to switch back and forth between them very rapidly as their relative strengths change, resulting in garbled audio. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Apr 4 '16 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah encryption doesn't really stop the bot from placing seemingly authentic files onto a computer (as stated in the question), also there's no real telltale signs that let you know if something was made via bots. (except that bots can't produce light out of the human visual range) As for major film companies, I'm not sure how you think they will stay in business now that films are now so massively devalued that anyone who can write good scripts can probably make good movies. $\endgroup$ – Vakus Drake Apr 4 '16 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ You can take the example of written media like newspapers. Nowadays anyone can write his articles and publish them on a blog, but there are still professionnal journalists. $\endgroup$ – Anne Aunyme Apr 4 '16 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ @AnneAunyme Well yes but people don't read journalism to be exclusively entertained. This tech would change the market to be more like that for books, except even worse since movies are shorter and can get away with worse writing. $\endgroup$ – Vakus Drake Apr 4 '16 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ If you prefer, replace newspaper by fictionnal written books, or comics. There are plenty of webcomics and ebooks, but people still buy paper books. $\endgroup$ – Anne Aunyme Apr 4 '16 at 16:04

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