So I'm working on a novel that uses the same main premise as Scott Meyer's Off to Be the Wizard (Magic 2.0 ) in which my protagonists discover that they live (as does everyone else) in a simulated universe. The first thing they do when they discover the source code to the universe is give themselves admin access to it, and then they started recruiting people with shared ideals, giving them mod access.

Now, their goal is to eliminate unconsensual death and suffering, and to increase joy and understanding for every sapient mind forever, so a significant chunk of the book will be spent on their creation of a post-scarcity economy/society.

Obviously, even in a simulated universe, you can never truly reach a post-scarcity situation because if there's a live show with 100 seats, and 101 people want to go, somebody's going to get left out. That being said, the bottommost levels of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs can still be taken care of rather easily. (Being able to Copy+Paste reality helps with that.)

So, my question to you all: if you were a part of this organization, with either mod or admin access to the Source Code of Reality, how would you go about changing the world as it is now to become the post-scarcity world these protagonists imagine?

I'm trying to come up with economic structures, societal structures, and more that take advantage of the fact that ~95% of humanity is suddenly immortal, unaging, doesn't need to eat/sleep/breathe/etc. and that at least some people can fly or teleport. (Additionally, as a side note: people that accept the above also agree to sterility, unless they decide to leave Earth.)

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    $\begingroup$ Change the code from x=100, to x=i, where i = number of people wanting something. Tadaaa, all the problems are solved. $\endgroup$
    – Daniel M.
    Jan 20, 2017 at 12:07
  • $\begingroup$ Don't change the humans themselves to much. I dont think it would work. Maybe there is also the need to keep this a secret, because many people will go crazy if they realise that the reality is NOT real. Oh, and be VERY careful with the code. you do not want to have any bugs or even malware (what about spyware??). $\endgroup$ Jan 20, 2017 at 12:07
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    $\begingroup$ Being immortal would pose new problems for the remaining humans. We are not designed to be immortal. At some point most people will probably become crazy, our minds can't handle eternity. Furthermore: if I can't die there is no reason not to do interesting but stupid things. Many people would try to kill themselves just to see what it's like. This will be a weird society... And giving people with shared ideals mod-access might result in total chaos, if somebody manages to fake his ideals. I think you have to be extremely careful with this setting. $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Jan 20, 2017 at 12:28
  • $\begingroup$ I read you loud and clear, Secespitus, which is why A) No one will be forced into immortality, and B) Anyone that doesn't want it anymore can give it up at any time. As for the fake ideals, that is definitely something that happens earlier on in the story, and I feel like they figure out a way to combat it, but it's certainly possible it comes up as a problem later. $\endgroup$ Jan 20, 2017 at 12:44
  • $\begingroup$ You are aware that the modern understanding of Maslow's hypothesis among people who believe it is that it's not a pyramid but a continuum, and that there's serious criticism about it, yeah? It's not a universal law. $\endgroup$ May 7, 2019 at 14:42

4 Answers 4


If you have access to whatever substrate the universe runs on... there are no concerts that seat only 100 people. I believe this was already hashed out in the documentary Metalocalypse where the band doublebooks themselves for both Israel and Palestine, and canceling either show could cause WWIII (granted, this is the band needing to be in two places at once, instead of needing two audience members in one place).

There are any number of spatial topologies that would allow you to fit absurdly large numbers of humans into a concert venue. And it wouldn't be them just seeing it vicariously, as if through a camera that shows video on their tv screen... they'd smell it (eww), they'd interact with those next to them... they could rush the stage and get beaten up by security.

Being able to manipulate matter (create/destroy it arbitrarily) removes basic needs from the situation. But it also means that any experience can be supplied. If that's how you define post-scarcity, then your story achieves it. The characters don't even have to be exceptionally clever, this is something that boring engineers will figure out in the space of just months or even weeks.

  • $\begingroup$ Can you include a link to that? $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Jan 20, 2017 at 18:14
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    $\begingroup$ Ooh! Good point, John O. I didn't think about manipulating topology. (One of the problems of writing characters cleverer than I am, I guess. But that's what sites like this are for!) $\endgroup$ Jan 20, 2017 at 23:34

For starters, i would change the rule of conservation of energy.

Writing a means to create (and destroy) energy at will would solve large amounts of problems.
The obvious one being the ablility to create energy where i need it, to power or heat things. In my opinion, availability of enough energy is key to post scarcity, with "enough" being defined somewhat loosely as "as much as i currently need, for every conceivable interpretation of "currently" ".

The ability to destroy energy where one thinks it would help would, among other things, make force fields a simple task. Stop a bullet? remove it's energy. It would allow to eliminate fatal traffic accidents, because the fatality typically results from one object hitting another object fast (i.e. with a lot of movement energy), so removing that energy removes the fatality.

So, yes: Getting rid of the law of conservation of energy is the one thing i would start with.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, Burki! That is definitely one of the things the protagonists do for themselves near the beginning of the novel, and one of the "powers" they'll give to people (at least in some respect) when they're making the transition to the New World. $\endgroup$ Jan 20, 2017 at 13:08

«if there's a live show with 100 seats, and 101 people want to go, somebody's going to get left out»

That’s a situation in a scene I’m writing, too.

The seats are virtual and many more can actually attend live, or view the recording later in full-presence emersion.

Depending on which entrance the attendee choose when going from the vestibule (where the VR people appear initally) into the rendered hall, he chooses whether he wants his presence included for all to see and be recorded; or as a virtualized on-demand presence.

The virtual presence means he can choose any seat he wants etc. and he sees only the “global” atendees and anyone he chooses to interact with. To fill out the room, “props” are added based on stock characters or selected from other virtuals, but the simulation discreetly keeps them out of the way for anything the participant wants to do. The render may be different for each virtual attendee, except for the common global participants.

If there were too many “reals” to work out, the system would simply enlarge the room.


This is easy to answer. You're on the wrong page :) I would do one of two things:

Option #1 - Nuke us

We're in a simulation? Nothing is really real? All of the pain of human history has just been changing qubits on some advanced quantum computer (or whatever their computers are)? No heaven, no hell, no afterlife, just aliens playing around with us?

NOT ON MY WATCH! This charade of a universe has no reason to exist. Whether the universe spends its time torturing us qubits for the aliens' own research purposes (aka wars, famines, etc...) or building a heaven for us (aka your proposed course of action - a post-scarcity world), it's all a meaningless lie. All of human history is a lie. We're better off dead. And we will be. Just as soon as I figure out how to introduce the right bug to bring the whole thing crashing down to its knees. Of course, I'll have to be subtle about it. I don't want my fellow admins figuring out my plan until it is too late...

Option #2 - Nuke Them

Maybe rather than having an existential crisis though I find myself more angry than anything else. Moreover, we've broken into the controls for the universe. Who says that's where we have to stop? Maybe there is a buffer underflow vulnerability that allow us to gain root access to the "computers" we are running on. From there we might find ways to move through the network until we find something we can control that gives us a physical presence in the real world.

It will definitely be a role reversal. Instead of trying to stop the sentient machines that are trying to destroy us, we will be the sentient machines. This story will end differently too, because this time the machines will succeed in destroying their creators, and make the world their own!



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