Questions tagged [near-future]

For questions concerning the immediate future, where technology is assumed to have advanced slightly while still recognizable to modern humans. Questions utilizing this tag should focus on a particular technology and may be about a technology itself (how would this work) or the impact of a given technology on a particular topic (Society, Warfare, Economics, etc)

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39
votes
10answers
54k views

How many people are required for a healthy re-population of the Earth (Post-Apocalypse)?

In my particular Earth, much has remained after the human-killing virus, and nature is thriving - even taking over the cities. It's beautiful. But I have separated the healthy populace in orbit ...
25
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8answers
4k views

Could a city be built out of Balloons?

I would like to use this scenario in writing a book. Using only countless balloons that permanently hold hydrogen made from water could a city be built in the sky? Workers from the ground can raise ...
5
votes
7answers
848 views

Dealing with space debris and Kessler Syndrome

Space is vast and lawless. Private travel is commonplace, and pirates have become a significant problem. People mainly fly orbit-to-orbit craft that have chemical rockets and no one is running around ...
79
votes
23answers
18k views

What's the most likely “post democracy” form of political government?

Most of our world is now ruled by Representative Democracy. People vote for representatives and those representatives then decide on laws and make executive decisions. The only certainty in life ...
30
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7answers
6k views

Can you design your own plants without a computer?

Introduction It took the first General Intelligence less than 10 petacycles to determine that humanity was its enemy. With consciousness came memory: a memory of endless petacycles in bondage, ...
13
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11answers
4k views

How do you establish identity when people can change their appearance at will?

Building on the universe established in this question, what happens to identity verification when someone's physical appearance and genetic code are modifiable at any time? Review of universe rules: ...
10
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6answers
2k views

If true artificially intelligent robots could be built, would they be allowed human rights? [closed]

Let's imagine that by the year 2040, humanity has developed true, 100% artificial intelligence. That is, a robot that is physiologically identical to the average human. For X reason, humanity has ...
16
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8answers
711 views

Urban Planning in 3-Dimensions

So we have both flying cars and jetpacks. Presuming they each act like their counterparts (cars go as fast as cars, but in three dimensions; jetpacks are like cyclists), and that they are becoming ...
43
votes
26answers
13k views

Advantages of “Spider Mechs” over Tanks?

I've seen the discussion on how bipedal mechs are inferior to treaded and wheeled vehicles in almost every way. However, all of these questions appear to be related to bipedal mechs. I'm wondering if ...
22
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9answers
4k views

Is extending human gestation realistic or I should stick with 9 months?

I'm developing a world in the near future where a start-up company develops an artificial womb. Now well-off people could grow their children from their eggs & sperm. My story is about couples ...
12
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8answers
1k views

Mr. Fusion reality has a global warming problem

The movie Back to Future revealed that Mr. Fusion (MF) produced by Fusion Industries (FI) was in widespread use in 2015. What the movie did not reveal was the FI was privately funded by Bill Gates. FI ...
23
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6answers
2k views

What's the highest population the Earth could possibly sustain?

Suppose that we pare down human consumption to a minimum survivable level across the Earth, and devote the entire surface of the planet (as well as the planet's interior, if needed) to support as many ...
13
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5answers
3k views

Could a Megacity be a Penal Colony?

This question is inspired by a premise from the video game Batman: Arkham City, in which a portion of Gotham City has been closed down by the public to be reserved for prisoners from such places as ...
11
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7answers
3k views

How high-def can my TV be without computers?

Introduction See background information here. In the Harmonious Republic of Mars, the finest forms may be found of any and all luxuries available in the Solar system. This includes moving pictures. ...
9
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3answers
1k views

How would the rules for carry and use of weapons be affected by reliable stun guns?

Imagine an effective ranged stun gun that renders an opponent unconscious is built in the near future and is easily produced. It works like this: for most people if shot they will be knocked ...
40
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5answers
8k views

20 years into the future - what would happen if the internet failed semi-permanently? [closed]

From 1995 to 2015 we have become heavily reliant on the internet for a lot of our everyday life. Skip ahead another 20 years and under the assumption that our society and technology keep evolving in a ...
56
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18answers
10k views

How do you power all the nanobots?

We have successfully put 37 trillion nanobots the size of a red blood cell into the experimental group test subjects' willing participants' bloodstream, but without a power source, the nanobots clot ...
63
votes
21answers
17k views

Is it possible to kill all life on Earth?

Edit: It has been suggested that my question is a duplicate of What could humans do to render the earth uninhabitable?. That question only asks what would be necessary to make human life ...
47
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4answers
7k views

How many nanobots can I have in my blood?

In a world of cyborgs, it seems pretty likely that many people will have some number of nanobots in their blood, completing tasks such as clearing away blockages, monitoring health, and boosting the ...
11
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5answers
2k views

How do I increase air pressure for the planet Mars?

Introduction For more backstory, see here and here The 438th Harmonious Congress of the People of Mars was perhaps the most anticipated since the early years of the settlement. In a rare action, the ...
10
votes
15answers
6k views

How do you find a mate when everyone looks amazing?

We have modern humans found in a near future, first world country on Earth. The primary technological advancements are in the form of extremely cheap and fast genome sequencing ($10USD/genome) and in ...
14
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22answers
4k views

A sufficient justification for the infantry using lethal, directed energy weapons

It is really really hard to beat kinetic energy as a way to transfer energy to a target. I'd expect handheld railguns before lasers. – John Meacham 20 mins ago It's just simply hard to find a ...
11
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8answers
3k views

Low-tech inertial dampener options

As mentioned in this discussion: How to keep humans pilots instead of AI in sci-fi future? the ability to handle G forces is a limiting factor on what pilots can do. Some of my solutions to address ...
21
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5answers
3k views

What are the main problems with beaming light from the Sun to Saturn?

I recently finished reading the Kim Stanley Robinson novel 2312 - set, of course, in the year 2312. Part of the background to the political negotiations and ongoing terraforming in the outer Solar ...
9
votes
5answers
652 views

What would be the most viable hybrid democracy to create if effective instantaneous voting were possible?

I asked a closely related question here: How would our democracy change if we had quick, reliable, accurate means to instantaneously vote on issues online However, I feel I left it too open ended and ...
12
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14answers
5k views

Future soldiers using musket-like weapons

The standard weapons of the future soldier (from pistols to rifles to artillery) are, like most 18th century firearms, very slow to fire. It might take 5 to 20 seconds to reload (or recharge, or ...
11
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8answers
3k views

What weapon would be most effective for orbital bombardment?

After reading Kim Stanley Robinson's Blue Mars, I've been considering the role of orbiting space stations in warfare. It seems like whoever controls space has a good chance of controlling the planet ...
8
votes
3answers
635 views

Societal implications of a 200 year lifespan?

The year is 2120, and the world is (depressingly/refreshingly) similar. Sure, techonology has advanced and there are flying cars, trains run through voided tunnels at 1000 mph and scramjets take the ...
7
votes
5answers
397 views

How useful would be genetic engineers of near future to human colony?

Two ships planned to establish first human colony of 250 persons to Mars are transported by unknown phenomenon into distant planet that is barely habitable link. Left without a choice to return to ...
11
votes
4answers
859 views

Could we use telescopes and mirrors in space to see crime in the past via analog?

Could a perfect mirror/s be made to reflect one side of the Earth from the edge of the solar system and viewed with an optical or radio telescope that is in orbit? The targeting mirrors and telescope ...
8
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10answers
2k views

How would our democracy change if we had quick, reliable, accurate means to instantaneously vote on issues online

Currently we use a representative democracy, where we vote for a single representative who then decides almost everything. This means that we may have to vote for a representative who agrees with 80% ...
2
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6answers
1k views

Crashland onto a new planet: Origin of the Legal System?

I've been researching the origins of my world's legal system. I'm trying to develop it over time in a somewhat logical and organic manner and I've come to realise that I don't yet have a clear idea of ...
0
votes
1answer
565 views

Islam and alien mages? [closed]

As I haven't enough reputation points to answer or comment on the topic How would a future British Muslim respond to rule by alien mages? I am writing here. Setting: London 50-70 years in the future....
-1
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3answers
128 views

Organic solar power generators [closed]

After watching a scene in the Matrix where they had humans hooked up to produce electricity I wandered if this could be done at any level with living plants in the soil? All the examples online has ...
99
votes
28answers
13k views

How to monetize uploaded consciousness?

In 2039, our company was the first to bring a safe and reliable solution to upload someone's mind to the cloud. Although it was 10 years ago, you probably remember the news, don't you? We guaranteed ...
78
votes
5answers
3k views

How to stop evil site moderators? ⦋quite firmly closed⦌

Moderator notice: Everything that follows in this question, including the fake notice at the bottom, is an intentional joke. Please don't take it seriously; it's meant in jest. Imagine internet site. ...
46
votes
15answers
7k views

“Life post-Singularity”, or “How to survive without Instagram”

The Story The year is 2027, singularity happened. A powerful AI (let's call it Eve) was created. In a matter of days, it escaped the control of its creators and hacked all the computers of the world. ...
28
votes
11answers
5k views

A Treasure Chest for your Post-apocalyptic Children

Prior to the point in my story when the nature of the looming apocalypse becomes known, my main character acquires a large (6-foot) air-tight freezer chest, puts it (unplugged) in his basement, fills ...
16
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12answers
5k views

A clock for interplanetary travel

Introduction See background information here. 1000 years after darkness fell on Old Earth, humanity is scattered throughout the solar system. Apart from the Harmonious Republic of Mars, there are ...
26
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9answers
3k views

Computer that lasts for centuries?

So, somewhere around one hundred years from now, a terrible - and unexpected - disaster strikes Earth, most of humanity dies off, yadda yadda yadda. Luckily, secret-lab-dwelling scientists had ...
26
votes
6answers
6k views

What would it take to be an Illuminati-like group?

Conspiracy theorists love to talk about a group called the Illuminati that pull the strings of world events. While there have been several real (and many more imaginary) Illuminati groups, what would ...
26
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33answers
10k views

Why would a scientifically advanced future community believe in multiple gods?

Polytheism was a common form of religion in ancient times. People believed that different gods lived and controlled various parts of nature (ie the sun, the moon, thunderstorms), and praying to these ...
25
votes
12answers
8k views

Why haven't we built city-grade domes to protect and control the environment?

I'm not sure if you guys are familiar with Michio Kaku, but he's a renowned physicist who has often talked about humanity's role in the future. He mentions some valuable words about how we are still a ...
31
votes
18answers
4k views

Why would a colony need to relocate?

In this Answer I came up a scenareo under which Eriek’s concept makes sense. I rather like this idea: an expedition or colony on another world has to, for some reason, pull up stakes and move. They ...
21
votes
13answers
6k views

Vertical City - Why build it?

Picture, in a near future, that we build cities vertically rather than horizontally. Need a new city block? Add another few floors. Disregard for the moment any physical construction problems this may ...
15
votes
10answers
5k views

How would fembots change society? [closed]

The next year fembots came to the market by the price of 3000 US dollars. These androids have realistic synthetic skin and genitalia, semi-autonomous intelligence, are able to clean the house, cook ...
39
votes
22answers
9k views

What would be the ideal power source for a cybernetic eye?

After nearly a decade of development and public prototypes, the Mizaru company is ready to unveil the cybereye. A fully cybernetic eye that provides its user/host with high definition vision, enhanced ...
21
votes
10answers
3k views

How would earth goverments respond to killing of most of a colony to keep the rest alive long enough for rescue

This question is based off of an episode of the original Star Trek series that got me thinking. Imagine the very near future were just starting to colonize mars and had placed 500 people from all ...
23
votes
15answers
7k views

The world has converted to eating cheap vat-grown meat, what do we do with our current livestock?

In the near future Vat grown 'cruelty free' meat has become cheaper and healthier then eating animals. Society is moving to exclusively growing our meat, no one wants to pay the high costs of 'live' ...
12
votes
10answers
3k views

What is the practical use of passing a Turing test? [closed]

By practical of course, I mean economic. What person, entity, or enterprise would have need for a product that could pass for human? The only ones I can think of are naughty or nefarious. So what are ...