Let's say aliens come to Earth. How technologically advanced must they be for the normal people to consider it magic?

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    $\begingroup$ VTCing as opinion based because this question is impossible to answer objectively - everyone has their own limit. For example, I will NEVER consider ANYTHING magic, while a less scientific person may consider one of their ray guns magic, or a more religious person may consider their flying hover drone saltshakers acts of god. $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 9:59
  • $\begingroup$ Hmmm, I think the only way normal people may consider something magic, is if they have absolutely no way of understanding how something is done... As long as normal people have no possible explanation of how the alien could, let's say, create things from nothing, then it may be considered magic, because what else could be the answer? $\endgroup$
    – ASH-Aisyah
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 10:24
  • $\begingroup$ They must be technologically advanced enough that something they do is impossible for us to explain with current science. However, we can't really say what that is in general because if we could predict it, it would be explainable under current science. $\endgroup$
    – Brythan
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 11:23
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    $\begingroup$ Impossible. We are deeply enough practiced in science that enough of our engineers will treat it as technology, and iterate until they invented it... even if it was magic in the first place. $\endgroup$ Commented May 29, 2016 at 1:20
  • $\begingroup$ +Harper you have way too much faith in our engineers. If a someone gave us a piece of tec from ten thounsands year into the future I predict that it would take our engineers at least half that long to ever understand what it actually dose. If someone gave are engineers magic then they would never figurate it out. $\endgroup$ Commented May 30, 2016 at 2:05

1 Answer 1


On a time based assumptiom, I think that an alien a couple of thousand years more advanced has some good chance to see their technology seen as magic, with the time gap that need to become bigger and bigger the more the "primitive" civilization level is high.

On a technical level, it probably just need that the technology of the advanced civilization works on some principle that primitive civilization see as impossible also on a teorethical level.


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