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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4
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8answers
2k views

Is It Possible for a Universally-Executable Virus to be Written in Binary?

In my world, there was a man that wrote a virus in binary code - which in turn infects every computer-based system in the world, as long as it is connected to the internet. Is this even possible? ...
10
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6answers
382 views

How would a civilization without reading and writing develop general-purpose computers?

Related: Technological development without writing (related to general technological development without writing) How would a society without linear alphabetic writing have devised human-readable ...
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5answers
654 views

What Technology is Needed to Virtually Simulate…Everything?

This is not my question. In my story, I have a machine that you can connect to using electrodes. It allows one to enter a small virtual reality room where everything from gravity and electromagnetism,...
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9answers
3k views

How to trick a fairly simplistic kill-counter? [closed]

In my setting, soldiers carry with them kill-counters; devices that measure the lifesigns of everything in the vicinity and then count one kill if the lifesigns of a given humanoid suddenly ceases to ...
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2answers
153 views

A mathmatician just discovered a way to solve any NP-Complete problen in N*log(n) time. How does the world change? [closed]

The title sort of says it all. We discovered through some ingenious use of obscure mathematics a way to solve any NP-Complete problem with an algorithm that completes in a Big-O of n*log(n) time. ...
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0answers
73 views

How should a cube world turn itself inside out to produce gravity? [closed]

My world is a 4D cube graphed on to a one-dimensional plane. If you have ever seen a torus grafted on a two-dimensional plane it's kinda like that. This world has a finite amount of mass and life on ...
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11answers
5k views

Will computers be named differently in the future?

In a few science fiction settings, we can see computers being called differently. A terminal, a holosphere, a pad, anything techno-sounding. But from when computers were invented up until now, they'...
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3answers
268 views

Your computer made you rich by perfectly predicting 50/50 and 1:3 decisions, but only 50µs in the future. What did you control? [closed]

You have a Time Displacement Teleportation Device (or two). Your computer is making split-second decisions, & it knows an outcome or event 50µs from now and can correct decisions. You now control ...
35
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12answers
8k views

Is It Possible to Make a Computer Virus That Acts as an Anti-virus?

After receiving answers to this question, I now know that viruses cannot be written in machine code in such a way that they can universally infect all kinds of systems. Every machine has a unique set ...
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2answers
143 views

How to connect Brain to computer? [closed]

I'm not talking about mind-uploading, but rather about connecting your consciousness to the computer to be able to live inside it.I'm talking rather about advanced bci, so you have all the experiences,...
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1answer
184 views

How to create Matrix-like simulation?

Movies like The Matrix and video games like The Evil Within have popularized the idea of a simulated reality. I'm talking about a human connected to a computer and able to experience similar things ...
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7answers
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Just How Powerful Could a Mechanical Computer Be?

We've all heard about the 1822 Babbage Difference Engine and other mechanical computer ideas of the 19th century. Sadly, Babbage's computer and printer ideas were never implemented in our world†, and ...
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9answers
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Non-visual Computers - thoughts?

TL;DR Let's say that computers were invented at a school for the blind in mid-1800s. How would today's technology, based on these non-screen-based computers, be different? ETA: To clarify and ...
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1answer
106 views

Could AI create a more complex language and (if so) how? [closed]

Animals use less intelligent language, so one may assume that human language is unintelligent to extraterrestrial life. We use technology to perceive senses that we do not naturally have (e.g., seeing ...
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3answers
429 views

What is realistic quality of computer blueprints quickly backed up before apocalypse and their impact on future design?

Incoming generic apocalypse, a bunch of people with low budget tries to quickly download publicly accessible blueprints, so in a few decades or centuries someone would be able produce again computer ...
357
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25answers
39k views

How would Facebook Sysadmins prevent the summoning of Cthulhu?

So, I've got this idea for a short story. Some researchers find a forgotten manuscript hidden locked away in an ancient tomb. While they are working on it one of them pastes part of the text into a ...
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26answers
4k views

Limit computation technology in a futuristic society

I'm wondering what kind of events or limitations would be needed in a science fiction society hundreds of years into the future in order limit computational advances to the level of the early 70's to ...
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11answers
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How viable would an analog computing revolution be?

I am trying to write a sci-fi setting in a not so distant future in which analog signal (brainwaves, in this case) processing is one of the main points of the plot and pretty much required to explain ...
3
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1answer
241 views

What would happen if we sent a modern computer into the past? [closed]

According to Moore's law, the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles about every two years. Therefore, a modern household computer has the computational capabilities of a supercomputer ...
3
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2answers
140 views

Humans meet a distant alien species. How do they coordinate? - Computers [closed]

Part of a series addressing the challenges of a mutual first contact. Previous question here Humans meet some distant alien species. They are mutual first contacts. After learning the languages of ...
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0answers
223 views

What is the limit of Graphene CPUs? [closed]

In the world I'm building, set roughly 350 years in the future, the humans have colonized the Solar System and other systems beyond using a hyperlane network discovered at the edges of the Solar ...
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1answer
117 views

Imaginary computer processor, made of flip-flop atoms

It would be cool if scientists can invent an electrical material which is made of an XY square grid of atoms... straight like salt atoms except made of a weird polymer. the stuff functions as XY ...
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16answers
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Could a future computer or supercomputer run a government?

I've looked into the question already and no one really seems to answer it very well. I'll sum up what I've found so far. Some people say that it would not work: "the parameters would always limit ...
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2answers
301 views

I can break AES. Now what? [closed]

The story The protagonist (whom will be referred with a first person narrative in this question) had a friend, Eve, who was a math genius. Eve was dying of cancer. She kept her mind occupied in her ...
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2answers
108 views

When were computer components 0,2 micrometer in size? [closed]

When setting a story in the future I always try to limit the technology available. It's less enjoyable and harder to identify yourself with droney the drone than with John and Jane Doe. Currently I ...
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1answer
164 views

Minimum tech level to invent core memory

Magnetic core memory was a critical innovation in the development of computers. Per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic-core_memory it was the most advanced form of memory from about the mid-...
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38answers
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Why would technology dictate graphical interfaces to be rare on spaceships?

This question differs from that question in that the other question is asking about a change in history while this question is looking for a change in the future. In a near future setting I am ...
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12answers
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What steps are necessary to read a Modern SSD in Medieval Europe?

So the main team of characters is traveling back in time from "modern day" to medieval Europe, arriving around the 1300s. Assumptions: They Know they are going, they have space and time to prepare, ...
107
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12answers
26k views

How long would it take to create a Windows 1.0 capable machine from complete scratch?

I've been thinking about this concept for a while and have not been able to figure out what could be a plausible answer. It seemed appropriate for my first question on this website. Imagine an ...
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3answers
170 views

How would a resistance group stop or disrupt software development

I have an idea of a story that takes place in a near future dystopia, where the government is planning to deploy a new dangerous surveillance software. This surveillance tech is of course contracted ...
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2answers
166 views

How small can a perpetual energy source be to run a far-future civilization indefinitely?

You are the leader of a far-future civilization - human or otherwise - that has endured for trillions of years doing whatever far-future civilizations do. You've surrounded stars with Matrioshka ...
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5answers
272 views

In a world without software how would Hacking work?

A definition of computer hacking. Computer hacking refers to the practice of modifying or altering computer software and hardware to accomplish a goal that is considered to be outside of the ...
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3answers
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Why would jupiter brain be completely devoid of ocean? [closed]

Jupiter brain is known as a colossal computer the size of a planet, if heat dissipation is a concern when constructing it how come most models lack an ocean of distilled reverse osmosis UV treated ...
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0answers
93 views

How would a world where electronics are organically based differ from ours? [closed]

I'm building a Retrofuture space fantasy setting. Some relevant information on that can be found here... One of the core aspects to me of the retro sci-fi aesthetic is its hardware focused nature. I ...
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9answers
855 views

What would a society without cryptography look like?

In this world you have access to computers powerful enough to decipher messages as long as the method used to encrypt it has at least one theoretical weakness (those computers cannot defeat an ...
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8answers
2k views

Turing incomplete magic, avoiding computers in world where magic is programmable

Inspired by Cort Ammon wonderfully detailed answer here: How to prevent tiny mistake in 'programmable language' magic spell causing horrible disasters, and my desire to go out of my way to ...
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3answers
288 views

Could a technologically advanced civilization be possible without digital computers?

I've noted an interesting trend in Netflix, specially on Sci-Fi and hero series. The worlds often have these aesthetic characteristics: Computers are rare, very big or non existing Phones, but ...
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8answers
6k views

Would Moore's Law apply to mechanical computers?

We know through the works of Babbage, Lovelace, et al. that mechanical computers (computers operating through gears, cogs, etc., and powered by steam or some other arbitrary non-electric power source) ...
6
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6answers
662 views

How in a post nuclear apocalypse setting could a group of survivors set up a “Internet” or “Internet-like” service?

In a world set many years (At least a generation or two) after a near extinction level nuclear event, how could a recovering population set up a internet or internet like service? Key points I'm ...
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1answer
83 views

Would system virtualization technology play a role in future space colonization and can we observe its roots today? [closed]

If I asked the same question for operating systems, I'd say I am quite confident that some descendants of Linux could be there for a very long time. Today, while Linux is used in embedded IoT devices,...
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14answers
16k views

What would be the impact of a modern programmer and laptop being dropped into World War II, possibly breaking Enigma?

I've always found the idea of intelligent every-man sent back in time using his knowledge of the future tech to realistically impact the past. The first time something like this came to my mind was ...
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3answers
455 views

How must computers/telecommunication deviate from reality for a retrofuturistic setting?

. I love the aesthetics of retrofuturistic settingsand I aim to build my own. A mixture of a fantastical, Thundercats(2011),Outlaw Star x Star*Drive. How yesterday saw tomorrow is quite fascinating ...
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1answer
250 views

What is a realistic computational limit for a handtool-made mechanic computer?

This question here brought up interesting points on what kind of distribution we could expect for the increase in computational power of mechanical computers in a world relying solely on such non-...
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24answers
12k views

What is the most reasonable way for non-binary computers to have become standard?

Let us assume planet Earth, with a history similar to ours. Except, the result of the computer revolution is not a computer system based on binary (i.e. 0 and 1), but some other system. This system ...
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7answers
4k views

What size EMP device would be necessary to wipe all data in a Google-sized server farm, without major physical damage?

I'm not sure if it's even feasible, but I have a server farm in my book, of a size that puts it on par with Google's. I want to wipe out all the data stored on the hard drives, without destroying the ...
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4answers
163 views

Can any kind of public-key encryption hold up against a logically omniscient oracle?

"Logical omniscience" can be defined for these purposes as a form of hypercomputation in which all Turing-computable functions can be computed in constant time. Practically speaking, this means that ...
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1answer
175 views

how could a computer in the first dimension perform multiplication? [closed]

If it is possible for a computer in the first dimension to perform a second dimensional operation in the same way a computer in the second dimension can perform a third dimensional operation, then ...
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7answers
9k views

How many years could notebook computers and phones be stored in a closed bunker/vault and still operational when found?

The idea is for some people in a post-apocalyptic future to find these bunkers/vaults and be able to turn on the computers and charge the cellphones. How many years could the equipment last if they ...
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24answers
16k views

If our universe was a simulation, what could a bug look like?

Let's assume, without revoking any of today's science, that the world is a simulation. What would a bug look like? I'm assuming that "the eiffel tower suddenly being bent at 45°" is rather unlikely, ...
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15answers
10k views

Why would characters spend time answering imaginary questions to fictional hypotheticals?

I'm developing a simulation where characters, "users", are interacting over a virtual communication network. "Users" have the option to engage in any activity they want at any time, as long as the ...