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My current world project is a world artificially kept at a middle age level of technology (no gunpowder). The population as a whole are kept at this level of development by a group of "wizards" who use science and advanced technology (including nanotechnology) to present magical powers to the people.

I'm sure we have all heard the Arthur C. Clarke quote:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

So my question: What traditional magic effects could you perform with advanced technology, given our current understanding of science/physics? (i.e. no handwavium pseudo science)

I'm mostly interested in effects produced locally in non prepared environments, (i.e. you can demonstrate levitation via a massive electromagnetic setup or time travel by travelling near the speed of light, but neither would be much help in intimidating some random village)

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closed as too broad by James, Hohmannfan, Brythan, Thucydides, bilbo_pingouin Jun 28 '16 at 6:40

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ As is, this may be too broad for our format. If you would identify two or three effects you want a scientific means to produce, I believe the community would appreciate it. (And, close-voters, please do not vote to close without leaving commentary.) $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jun 27 '16 at 20:47
  • $\begingroup$ I would vote to close as Too Broad (or perhaps Primarily Opinion-Based) if it wouldn't mean modhammering it closed. The main problem I have is that different things seem like magic to different people, and there are a lot of them. Even something as simple as magnets ("Sorcery!") can seem magical. The same goes for many technologies today ("Begone, demon of light, from thy perch in this glass bulb!" - electricity). $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Jun 27 '16 at 21:04
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Summoning ghosts/daemons. The voice can come from a hidden loudspeaker. Optical effects can come as a bonus (for example, project an image onto a steam cloud).

Crystal balls. A projector projects an image into a glass orb. Hidden cameras are distributed in all interesting places. Wireless communication is basically invisible.

Telekinesis. In reality the objects are moved by lots of nanobots. Or by hidden magnets. Or whatever is applicable to the specific situation.

Telepathy. Hidden wireless communication devices that are operated in a non-obvious way (possibly even with implants directly reading brain waves!)

Golems. Cover a robot with clay.

Healing magic. Known to us as pharmaceutics (esp. antibiotics).

And of course there's evil "magic":

Remote killing people with death curses (using very strong X-ray emitters; the targeted people will feel heat immediately, and will die shortly after).

The unextinguishable-fire magic (known to us as napalm).

The plague curse (just distribute some very bad bacteria; the people will not understand how your action makes them ill, just that after you did it, people die from some very bad illness).

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  • $\begingroup$ The plague curse could be inflicted in a much more controllable way via nanobots. You could program them so they didn't come after you. $\endgroup$ – BrettFromLA Jun 27 '16 at 20:59
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    $\begingroup$ +1, "Cover a robot with clay" - I can't help but imagine a three year old in it's sandbox with a little toy optimus prime... :D $\endgroup$ – T3 H40 Jun 28 '16 at 4:59
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You don't even have to be that high tech. A telescope and lip reading can simulate clairvoyance or other scrying spells. A gun can be mistaken for conjuring lightning (bright flash and loud sound from the wizard's wand). A WW2 era tank is a ground dragon.

It is all a matter of how high tech you want to make the 'wizards' and also how they spin their technology.

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On an up-close and personal level, the power to save or end lives within seconds. Using modern technology it would be very easy to convey the sense that you are a god. If someone challenges the power of a wizard, a high altitude drone or quadcopter could kill them in a second. To see the person next to you be blown away without the wizard even blinking an eye would be terrifying. Likewise, the ability to ease pain with drugs, preform surgery, and cure diseases would amaze people. The list could go on and on, but the power over people's lives that we now control would seem to be almost god-like magic.

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If you want a really magical piece of technology, you should definitely create a device that involves a black hole.

It's gravity well is so strong that it can warp space and lens light into all sorts of shapes and designs.

The closer you get to a black hole, the quicker time passes by you (perfect for a time capsule or a time machine-like mirror to the future).

A small black hole can be used to generate unimaginably huge amounts of power from hawking radiation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawking_radiation). This could be used for all sorts of things from powering huge war-machines, to horse-less carriages, to entire castles.

You can even create portals and dimensional gateways by linking it through a wormhole.

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  • $\begingroup$ While a black hole provides a lot of energy that you can harness, what will provide the energy in order to create the black hole in the first place ? :) $\endgroup$ – King of Snakes Jun 28 '16 at 3:58
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps the black hole is a Kugelblitz. All you would need is a lot of light to get it going. Maybe there's some sort of Starkiller-Base like device that siphons and concentrates light directly from the sun. $\endgroup$ – Mattias Jun 28 '16 at 20:08
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  1. Teleportation, be transported from one place to another through processes such as tubes and vaporisation

  2. Adjust how a test subject/ individual thinks, from the average thinking in a sloth or human to that of a leopard or a faster-thinker

  3. Grow foetuses in external wombs/placenta through artificial resources

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