Questions tagged [computers]

For questions regarding a device that can be programmed to carry out a set of certain set of tasks without external intervention.

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Were there problems for Babbage's Analytical Engine in 1850s?

Suppose that a mysterious philanthropist provided fundings for Charles Babbage's intricate projects and the Analytical Engine was finished by 1850. Surely there would be a lot of raptured academicians ...
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5 votes
6 answers
236 views

Stages of Artificial intelligence's mental development to full personhood

First post here so please go easy on me. My knowledge of software and programming is limited. Question: What kind of progression/stages would we see if an AI started as a highly advanced computer ...
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18 votes
7 answers
4k views

Listening to Your Computer - Infering Software Use via Acoustic and Electronic Noise

Is it possible to deduce the software being run and its uses by listening to the magnetic, electromagnetic, and acoustic signals released by its operation? Computers generate minute acoustic noise, ...
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1 vote
2 answers
179 views

How to counteract a trojan horse when the horse is the anti-virus software?

I have got caught behind the 'irresistible force meets immoveable rock' conundrum. A predatory country has been making very long-term plans for building an empire. This country, as part of a very long-...
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0 votes
2 answers
109 views

Could molecular nanotechnology alow the creation of computer chips and hardware that would have any desirable shape rather than being always flat? [closed]

Could the direct manipulation of individual atoms and molecules allow the creation of computers that could have exotic and weird shapes like a cube or even a sphere with flexible and/or continuous ...
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18 votes
20 answers
4k views

Why would a civilization's biotechnology be far behind all its other technology?

In the setting of a novella I am just beginning to write, computing and engineering are significantly ahead of our world, but biotechnology lags massively behind: They have very efficient brain-...
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3 votes
2 answers
145 views

Post-mortem brain digitization of the future: HDD backup?

Far in the future, can there be some kind of mechanism where we can slice through a waxed brain and image every synapse, copy the neural map into a computer and find memories and personality traits ...
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2 votes
3 answers
139 views

How to have these technologies with only mid-1980s-level computers?

So, in a semi-biopunk semi-atompunk world I'm planning to write a story set in, computers are no more advanced than they were in our world during the mid-1980s. The problem is that they also have the ...
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5 votes
9 answers
2k views

How would computers work if the number zero wasn't invented?

I imagine a parallel world where people instantly went crazy and kill themselves whenever they try to conceptualize nothingness which we now known as the number zero, so no one I mean absolutely ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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How would a "computer" be useful in a medieval world? [duplicate]

I am working on a story idea where a character in a medieval world develops a rudimentary computer. It is made of simple building blocks similar to the flip-flop and and/nor gates of digital logic. ...
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2 votes
5 answers
182 views

A nation is using its citizens as a distributed computing network to solve some kind of problem. What kind of problem is it trying to solve? [closed]

Long story short, the government of The People's Representative Democratic Federated Republic of Southeast Countryistan has its citizens fill out a couple of forms per day, each with some kind of ...
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3 votes
4 answers
161 views

Advantages of my runic magic system that can be used to build machines and computers over electronic circuits [closed]

Mages can use runes to Transfer over distance and transform easily between different types of energies (heat, kinetic, electrical, etc and magical energy) Store raw analogue signals or accurately ...
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5 votes
6 answers
1k views

How can an interstellar empire prevent its subjects from obtaining advanced computer technology?

My interstellar empire, the Dynasty, draws some inspiration from the Gao’uld of Stargate. Encompassing the entirety of the Hyades cluster, it is ruled with an iron (or platinum) fist by the Sovereign-...
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-1 votes
4 answers
131 views

Why link supercomputers in a sequence instead of all together?

My sci-fi story has this girl, let's call her "Lucy". She finds herself virtualized into a simulation within one or more supercomputers, which translate programs and inputs into visual cues; ...
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15 votes
11 answers
3k views

Where does a virtual being's data move in the physical world whether in a supercomputer or in the internet?

The virtual world is nothing new in science fiction and has had quite a few uses considering it's a fairly recent concept. Since the virtual realm isn't constrained by understanding of physics, it ...
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2 votes
9 answers
476 views

How might computers have developed in a Islamic theocracy? [closed]

In this scenario, the first programmers are Muslim scholars living in an Islamic theocracy. They are educated in Arabic and understand the classics of Muslim science and theology. How would their ...
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2 votes
7 answers
271 views

A big primitive computer in orbit, very big, powerful but old technologies from 80's, V2.0 on-topic revamp

I have to point out, it is an attempt to make this on-topic, all thanks to @JBH, so tell us in the comments how well we did. the old one is history now. 50 years ago my grandfather created humanity's ...
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-4 votes
5 answers
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Can we represent all objects in the universe in a small cube? [closed]

Imagine this. An alien culture needs the information of all objects that are present in the universe. Could a cube with an internal structure be constructed so that all objects of the universe can be ...
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1 vote
4 answers
225 views

A Far Future in which Network Security Does Not Exist [closed]

In The Grim Darkness Of The Far Future, There Is Only Analogue These days, our society seems to be growing increasingly fond of, even dependent on, wireless networks, to the point of obsession, if you ...
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3 votes
2 answers
159 views

What is the viability of mineral-infused seawater as an effective conductor for an aquatic species' electrical needs?

In another post on this brilliant site I saw someone suggest that an aquatic species could make insulated tubes filled with seawater to transmit electricity, with the only downside being that seawater ...
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47 votes
29 answers
7k views

How long can it really take to calculate a hyperspace jump?

It is a common trope in sci-fi that engaging a vessel's faster-than-light travel requires performing some complicated mathematics that takes a non-trivial amount of time. I want to know to what extent ...
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3 votes
0 answers
151 views

Will extreme cold damage hard drives? [closed]

At one point in Snowpiercer (the Netflix series) to keep some hard drives warm (or room temperature) in a research outpost in the context of a snowy post-apocalyptic world where the average outside ...
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39 votes
11 answers
6k views

Most efficent way to transmit binary data by human voice

Suppose two people want to transmit some binary data (a png image perhaps) by voice. Two of my characters want to share binary data but they can only use their voice and no other form of communication ...
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1 vote
0 answers
49 views

Without biological research, would be people ever able to come to an idea of neural networks? [closed]

Without biology, would people come to an idea of computer neural nets?
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-5 votes
5 answers
211 views

The future with infinitely fast computers [closed]

Imagine that people discovered a technology that allows executing any algorithm instantly regardless of its complexity. E.g. Decryption of any encrypted data happens instantly Simulation of systems ...
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-1 votes
3 answers
571 views

A big primitive computer in orbit, very big, powerfull but old technologies from 80's, what is a potential fiat money value for its use? [closed]

This question about the economy of technological solution, there 800 of such on wb Was looking for materials for the answer to the question Semiconductor foundries are a thing of the past. Rebuild the ...
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23 votes
11 answers
4k views

Semiconductor foundries are a thing of the past. Rebuild the computer industry if you can

After the uncontested absorption of Hong Kong in 2020, China reasserted control over Formosa in 2022. In 2023 the Korean government reopened its war against its southern rebels, leading to their ...
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2 votes
5 answers
399 views

Throwing away muscle memory to make brain backups smaller. Would it work?

Overlord is the best 5-episode anime, as I only acknowledge the existence of episodes 14-18, the rest is gorehound edge bait I can only recommend to people who are still flaming about the titan CGI. ...
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3 votes
2 answers
117 views

How could VR access affect the security of the underlying system?

How might access within a VR world affect security within the real world layer of the VR system? Would there be a reasonable way in which gaining access using VR would allow access that might bypass ...
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5 votes
3 answers
2k views

What's a reasonable location in the body for a bio-implant?

Fairly straightforward. I'm writing a character with a regenerative ability that's prone producing cancerous tumors when healing from substantial injury. A friend suggested having some sort of ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
198 views

Magic is Software: Why isn't there an overabundance of magical frameworks? [closed]

So, magic in this world is basically telling various types of micromachines to do things. In its original state, magic only existed as "sorcery". Sorcery was a flexible and efficient, but ...
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-4 votes
1 answer
141 views

Doxxing users on the Dark Web [closed]

I'm not a hacker, but one idea has intrigued me. Imagine the story is set in a contemporary version of our modern world, and the main character is a brilliant hacker who wants to create a virus that ...
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11 votes
8 answers
3k views

Would beings with a base 8 number system be advantaged for electronics?

I am looking forward to create anthropomorphic dragons/lizards with 8 fingers (3 + thumb). As they base their number system on it, the powers of 2 are recurrent. Would this grant any advantage for the ...
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3 votes
11 answers
3k views

Can FTL travel be achieved with mid-20th century technology? [closed]

Let's say that the FTL system is based upon that of Star Trek, but deviations can be made. FTL technology was discovered through the reverse-engineering of a starship that crashed on the civilization'...
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5 votes
6 answers
497 views

Uses of a computer no upper limit on processing power?

Edit: I do not have the best technical understanding of computers so some of my terminology may be misused. I guess a simpler way to imagine this hypothetical computer is one whose overall performance ...
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5 votes
3 answers
210 views

Adaptating computers to creatures with 4 fingers

What would be the ideal layout for a 4-fingered usage of a keyboard? I thought about making keyboards square and and have less keys. Here is the alphabet : 28 characters total. The alphabet is ...
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4 votes
2 answers
273 views

Duplication of human advantages by biological machines

People often postulate in works of fiction that humans (and other sentient biological organisms) have powers that machines will never duplicate, but by machines people often think about constructs ...
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0 votes
1 answer
197 views

Ideal material for Von Neumann Probes

So, I understand that a common way to explore the universe and colonise worlds is through Von Neumann Probes. Self-replicating and efficient... except for the fact that, as far as I have seen in ...
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3 votes
1 answer
82 views

How could the display technology of self-rewriting books work?

Oh yes, it's Artifact Time! with Best Dad and Ozen the Immovable! If you watched Hairy Plotter and the Gas Chamber of Secrets, you probably remember the scene where the Horcrux of Adolf Hitler is ...
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5 votes
1 answer
200 views

How could two AIs “battle” within a closed off computer?

This is not so much for a story as much as something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’m really drawn to the idea of a sort of world that exists on a server somewhere. The ‘gods’ that ...
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0 votes
3 answers
132 views

How much brain power per KG/volume?

When writing a futuristic story I always try to minimise the impact of computerization. Its rather uncomfortable writig a story when technology is advanced enough that humans arent in a position to ...
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5 votes
1 answer
279 views

Finding ways to robots feel pleasure

Given a world where a human-like brain is synthetizable, I wonder: A human-like artificial brain would most likely crave sensorial overwhelm. Pleasure to humans is something deeply associated with ...
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-2 votes
2 answers
155 views

What might a world look like where basic programming skills are as common as literacy today? [closed]

In the other related question, I am exploring how might a world like ours develop to a world where programming skills are considered to be basic literacy. Currently, possibly less than 1% of world ...
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1 vote
4 answers
161 views

What could have been the history of a world where programming skills are considered to be basic literacy?

Sometimes I hear from other professionals, "it has become impossible to talk to IT professionals, what they talk it sounds like gibberish". There are lots of efforts for better connecting to ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
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A new type of paradox? [closed]

Imagine we had this incredibly powerful computer that can simulate our universe, and that we somehow knew the initial conditions of the big bang (or the planet earth) down to the exact detail. Fast ...
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25 votes
14 answers
9k views

Can programming "mutate"?

Can the programming of simple nanobots randomly change to create a similar effect as mutations in DNA? This question has a very similar idea as I wanted, although in this case the nanobots are capable ...
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2 votes
1 answer
118 views

what is the maximum theoretical density for qubits?

What is the maximum amount of qubits that could be put in a cubed centimeter and still function? The technology level is near future, within the next 50 years. bonus question: how much computing ...
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8 votes
10 answers
2k views

How would a Grey Goo robot compute given that it has no fixed form?

This is something that confuses me with amorphous characters, monsters, robots etc... How do they compute when their particles don't have a fixed form? They are in a sense modular robots only taken to ...
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27 votes
28 answers
14k views

Way to prove you are human when the Turing test is not sufficient

In a story I am working on there are 5 AI on a space station of varying levels of social, image recognition and general intelligence. At least one is good enough to pass a Turing test and do image ...
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1 vote
4 answers
208 views

The biggest e-ink display in the world [closed]

tl;dr: What could be an approximate size of the biggest e-ink display with current Kindle-like pixel density if we would use nowadays the biggest available computing power to make it usable? Imagine ...
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