Linked Questions

6
votes
17answers
2k views

Human caused apocalypse other than nuclear winter or climate change [duplicate]

I am writing a post apocalyptic story in which a large amount of the foliage is dead and agriculture has become much more difficult. My original idea was to say that this was caused by an ancient ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

What event could push the entire human race into medieval times? [duplicate]

Considering the state of human civilization to be what it is currently at this moment, complete with its technological advance, our mechanical and electrical equipment and its dependence on ...
4
votes
3answers
589 views

How many generations does it take to fall back to the dark ages? [duplicate]

There are many stories out there, that have a plot device, like a swarm of nanites that drain all energy (Revolution), radiation that tamper with your cognitive abilities (maddrax) or a big reset ...
90
votes
24answers
11k views

The Challenge of Controlling a Powerful AI

By now, everyone is familiar with the remarkable achievements of special-purpose AIs like Deep Blue and Watson. Now, it is clear that as our accumulated knowledge of algorithmic methods and of the ...
39
votes
16answers
8k views

What could humans do to render the earth uninhabitable?

If a hostile group wanted to render Earth or an Earth-like planet completely unfit for human life, what could they do to go about achieving that end? By uninhabitable, I mean a planet on which humans ...
16
votes
26answers
7k views

A catastrophe that wipes out the current civilization but does not make humanity go extinct [closed]

I'm looking for a catastrophe on a scale that can wipe out civilization as we know it, but humanity will not go extinct (i.e. humanity will start to thrive again after some time has passed, but should ...
22
votes
11answers
7k views

The cost of switching to electric cars?

I'm developing a world where all car manufacturers must switch to producing only electric cars like Tesla, Leaf. All the other cars (gas, hybrids, whatever) will be banned. Vehicles already produced ...
25
votes
11answers
4k views

How would relatively cheap and abundant (but not free or limitless) electrical energy at an up-front cost impact society?

A group of scientists has been slaving away largely in obscurity for two decades, with very few publishable results. Suddenly, one of them has an epiphany, which turns out to be instrumental to ...
19
votes
9answers
4k views

Can you use an AI to shackle (control) an AI?

Intro and Context (feel free to skip if TL;DR) This question does not come in isolation. It is intrinsically linked with several previous posts (Challenge of Control and Humans as Pets) that have ...
20
votes
8answers
10k views

Where to Anchor My Space Elevator

Thanks to the recent discovery of handwavium ‡ filaments that can in principle be extruded to any length, we will be able to build space elevators sooner than most people would expect. The ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

When could space travel (including FTL of any kind) and other tech be common?

I'm looking for some data to create my own sci-fi setting, but I want to base it on real world as much as possible. Also, I don't want to come up with any arbitrary year like 3290 with no background ...
4
votes
9answers
1k views

Getting Rid of Fossil Fuels (?)

I was working on a relatively near future time-line (20-30 years), and there is a scene in which the POV character has to sabotage the local power supply. Now my initial guess was that it'd be a ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

World without oil? what is the quick replacement?

What will happen if just today we find out that no more oil left in the planet. With the current infrastructures, how would that change, affect our lives? What is the fastest replacement?
3
votes
5answers
311 views

Plausible weapon or other cause for a space-stage civilization to shatter and revert to primitive societies

So I have been creating this one planet recently. It has naturally occurring water, atmosphere, and alien life already there. It's a nice place that is almost a duplicate of pre-human earth, just with ...
3
votes
1answer
441 views

What could the NSA do with its computing power and smart people that would be of most good? [closed]

The NSA has tremendous computing power, storage capabilities, and some of the smartest mathematicians and computer scientists on the planet. Let's assume that the key influencers in the US government ...

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