Let me pitch you a setting: The year is 2015 and a team of scientists are trying to create a device that allows a person to "Save" right before a major event (in this case, a job interview).

Let's say the job interview resulted in you not being hired. Normally you would have to accept this fact and move on. HOWEVER if you had a "Save Drive" (name of device that gives you the powers of "Saving" and "Loading"

If you don't understand what I mean by "Saving" and "Loading" please refer to

these links:

http://undertale.wikia.com/wiki/SAVE https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saved_game

Note: A person in possession of a Save Drive can save ANYWHERE and is not bound by the concept of "Save Points"

So, to restate my question: How do I scientifically explain the concept of "Saving" and "Loading"?

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    $\begingroup$ Can we assume your "Load" means "reload everything in the world except memories so that I remember what happened the last time around"? $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    Jan 6, 2017 at 4:39
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    $\begingroup$ Why do you want a scientific explanation? It isn't exactly science material in the first place, so you may not benefit from giving the illusion of a scientific background. Also, do note that if you have more than 1 of these, strange behaviors can happen. The indie movie Primer actually dealt with many of the side effects of this concept and they did have a scientific explanation of their own. It took them a tremendous amount of effort to get it right, and one misstep would have spelled disaster because science is picky that way. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Jan 6, 2017 at 4:48
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    $\begingroup$ Related: What would make real life UNDO possible? $\endgroup$ Jan 6, 2017 at 7:51
  • $\begingroup$ What @CortAmmon asked: why do you want this to be scientific? What about that adds value to your world? $\endgroup$
    – MichaelK
    Jun 22, 2023 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ Science-Fiction and Science-Based Exclude each other $\endgroup$
    – Or4ng3h4t
    Jun 23, 2023 at 8:49

7 Answers 7


We are living in a simulation...

...and some people know how to access the controls. High-profile physicists, entrepreneurs and philosophers, such as Elon Musk and Neil deGrasse Tyson, suspect we may very well be living in a virtual simulation. In April 2016, a group gathered to discuss this possibility:

If you, me and every person and thing in the cosmos were actually characters in some giant computer game, we would not necessarily know it. The idea that the universe is a simulation sounds more like the plot of “The Matrix,” but it is also a legitimate scientific hypothesis. Researchers pondered the controversial notion Tuesday at the annual Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate here at the American Museum of Natural History.

Moderator Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the museum’s Hayden Planetarium, put the odds at 50-50 that our entire existence is a program on someone else’s hard drive. “I think the likelihood may be very high,” he said. He noted the gap between human and chimpanzee intelligence, despite the fact that we share more than 98 percent of our DNA. Somewhere out there could be a being whose intelligence is that much greater than our own. “We would be drooling, blithering idiots in their presence,” he said. “If that’s the case, it is easy for me to imagine that everything in our lives is just a creation of some other entity for their entertainment.”

This could be a very scientific way of explaining what seems to be an impossible feat.

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    $\begingroup$ this answer is thorough and well written, You sir have earned an upvote! $\endgroup$ Jan 6, 2017 at 4:08

Marking Points in Time for Time Travel

Essentially what is involved is time travel into the past. If you are going into your job interview, you get to a point where you feel you are best prepared for it and you use your Save function to record that point in time. Then, if the interview doesn't go well, you just load the saved point in time as the destination for your time travel machine and bingo, you are right back where you were.


We are living in a consensus reality

One theory of reality is that it is shaped by the consensus -- the more conscious minds that accept a given truth, the more true that truth becomes, even if it used to be false. Had you been measuring things before Newton, you probably would have found that a bowling ball does fall faster than a feather in a vacuum, because that's intuitively true. But Newton, working in isolation, believed otherwise, and convinced enough other people that it became true.

Time actually only moves forward because everyone thinks that time moves forward. But at some point in the future, someone popularizes the idea that we actually repeat the same day until the majority of people are satisfied with how it turned out.

Now, this isn't quite your "save" idea, but it is your "load" idea... under this theory, the day is automatically saved. And load happens automatically at midnight UTC (or agreed upon moment) unless the majority of people decide we should really move on.

People who are dead at the end of the day don't get a vote. They left the consensus. Whether they come back when the day resets is up to you, author, but I'd reset their body, but leave them still dead since their minds are outside of the save/load process. That's my take on it. You might build a different consensus. :-)


Consider a universe like I devise in this answer but only your hero (and others who keep secret) know how to navigate the timelines.

More commonly in fiction, just look at a particular model of time travel: Saving is done continuously. To Load, you go back in time and this creates a new timeline which can be lived differently.

However, with the full branching of timelines available, saved points are those you’ve bookmarked and can jump to any past or future point on any timeline you’ve marked.

Note that you’ll have to deal with your other self, if you return to a point a second time or where you didn’t leave right after saving.


Multiverse String Theory

According to the Multiverse String Theory, there is no such thing as random events or even "Time" as you may think of it. The entirety of existence contains every possible outcome of every possible event at every possible time somewhere in it, and the reason we exist in the time and state that we do is because we are only perceiving an infinitely small version of existence, but in reality, you exist in every possible state and that randomness allows.

What a Save/Load device does is it indexes a specific point in the multiverse where you have been when you save, and then when you load, it actually breaks the time connection between now and the next moment, and instead loops it back to your save point. This time loop changes the next moment of your reality to become a previous point in time and space where you are now able to experience life as one of your alternate selves in an alternate universe.

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Save Function : With an immensely futuristic device you scan the whole universe in a button press and save that data inside the device.

Loading Function : You're device scavenge timelines and look for one that's just like yours, where you are in the same spot, the whole universe is the same in that moment, and transports you there, only a problem, the other you, that spontaneously dissolves when your button is pushed at the same time, of course that means sometimes you will get dissolved instead of them (if there's multiple devices on multiple reality's)


The saved person enters a medical station and has a cell sample and brain-scan performed. The medical station is is your standard save-point in a game. With more advanced technology, the sample and brain-scan is performed by wearable devices and so a save (but possibly not a restore) would be possible anywhere.

A restore would be a clone of the scanned person that has downloaded memories from the brain-scan. He is the same physically and mentally as the original, but may be missing inventory items he has when saving.

With even higher technology you could use something like the Star Trek transporter "pattern buffers". A save would be a scan of a person including what they are carrying, and a restore would be a complete duplicate created of the scanned person and his stuff. If you don't want to have save-points, you could postulate a remote scanner that does this for everyone within range.

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    $\begingroup$ So the clone doesn’t remember the job interview. But it doesn’t let him try the day again—I think that’s the point of the OP. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Jan 6, 2017 at 7:35
  • $\begingroup$ @JDługosz: you are correct; I missed this during my original read of the question. He wants a way of restoring the entire universe and not just the player. With that restriction, the simulation or time travel answers provided by others here would be the way to provide a "scientific" explanation. $\endgroup$ Jan 6, 2017 at 7:40

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