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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)

2
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3answers
241 views

How could a single individual warn the following civilization after the fall of our current one? [closed]

Reviewers: reformulation according to this is done if the post is not okay yet, suggestions are welcomed in comments The limits of the individual: has no access to the mass media. has the average ...
0
votes
5answers
263 views

Would a tank with a cloaking device be pointless? [closed]

I know it could probably fire the first shot without the enemy seeing them but after it starts firing, would it matter that it's invisible? Would it be harder to hit or would it be easy to just figure ...
8
votes
10answers
2k views

Are supersonic submarine trains necessary in a civilization that spans a galaxy

A galaxy wide civilization with starships. Would a single planet benefit from supersonic submarine trains to go from continent to continent. Supercavitation makes them faster than planes, but would a ...
1
vote
2answers
118 views

How would a biolectrical plant work?

I was wondering... If only we could make a GMO plant that could produce electricty thanks to bioelectricty. How could that be done, how could it produce a lot of energy, Also, how could we ...
28
votes
5answers
5k views

Can a dedicated amateur astronomer spot a rogue asteroid?

Meet Joe. Joe is generally an average person with one special trait: He loves astronomy and star gazing. However, Joe has a great paying job as a web developer. He earns 120 000 USD yearly and has a ...
8
votes
2answers
157 views

Brain-construct

I am currently reading an eternal golden braid, i've gotten as far as several lengthy chapters about the brain. He talks about neurons and symbols, what 'meaning' is and there is a lot of ...
17
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19answers
5k views

What conditions might create bigger military submarines?

I'm creating a story set on a near-future Earth in which undersea colonization is fairly widespread. I want large (think undersea equivalent of a battleship) and, especially, expensive submarines to ...
9
votes
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 ...
-2
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1answer
133 views

How much the world would change if room-temperature superconductivity is dicovered? [closed]

In what ways the world would change? Should we expect table-top quantum computers, furniture without legs, high-speed cheap maglevs (or vacuum tube metros), lossless energy trasfer, high-capacity and/...
-1
votes
3answers
112 views

The all knowing, the magnificent [closed]

It's modern times. A geeky university dropout makes some website (later mobile app, later device) that provides some features for everyone for free. The website is immensely popular and becomes a ...
3
votes
4answers
194 views

How would warfare change in a future with perfect software-executed aim and perfect surveillance?

It's 20 years into the future and we've developed 2 significant tools of war: Perfect Surveillance within 10 miles. A new surveillance tech that it's impossible to hide from. You have it, your ...
4
votes
8answers
372 views

How to communicate with an A.I. that doesn't believe it needs a language

A thought experiment occurred to me today that, say we have a synthetic superintelligence that does not wish to talk to people, not out of malice, but from an agonizing indifference toward humanity. ...
10
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5answers
533 views

Economic system to support Kessler Remediators, with maximum drama

After reading this question by Nick M (now closed) and exchanging some comments with him, I have some ideas related to the scenario. I realized that the comprehensive design covers several distinct ...
-3
votes
1answer
68 views

Undercover agency hideout [closed]

In my world half the population is dead, the rest enslaved after the uprising of a nefarious rebel faction. Most of the world's armies have succumbed to defeat. However, a group of former intelligence ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

What land animal a large pack of trained war dogs can't kill? [closed]

With late XXI century tech, wildlife replication is becoming commonplace. Dodos? Small dinosaurs are piece of cake. Dinosaurs? Large birds are big to deal with, but doable. So long you get a viable ...
12
votes
8answers
1k views

Could humans survive on an alien generation ship?

In the near future (next few decades) a giant spaceship is detected as it decelerates on its way into the solar system. It heads for Earth orbit, but a few weeks before reaching Earth, it veers away ...
8
votes
3answers
600 views

Can Genetic Engineering Overcome Inbreeding (homozygosity) Among a Ruling Family Indefinitely?

Premise In the near future, a cult-like ruling family worships symmetry and condemns asymmetry. By association, they are condemning much of nature as there are many instances of asymmetry in nature (...
3
votes
6answers
277 views

Reliability of Planetary Quarantine

Setting: In the future universe, with technologies based on real science that we know that theoretically can be implemented (though not feasible with today's technologies) and sub-light travel, a high ...
0
votes
1answer
736 views

Could the West coast of the United States ever have a greater population than the East coast? [closed]

The population estimate from 2016 of the US Census Bureau for the West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) is approximately 39+4+7 = 50 million. The population estimate from 2016 for the East Coast ...
3
votes
4answers
191 views

Keeping balance in an equal world

I'm working with the idea of a futuristic society spread out across the galaxy. This society is rather warlike, and doing well in battle earns prestige and money. Thus, anyone can rise up to the ...
24
votes
11answers
5k views

Alternate universe: Possibility of a small country as the world's third super power

Background: A near future world very similar to our own, with two large power blocs (like USA vs USSR back then) in cold war situation, with many proxy wars and small conflicts. The third power is a ...
-3
votes
1answer
170 views

Private Contractors or Mercenaries an alternative to Army or Soldiers? [closed]

Do you think in the near future countries should start investing on Private Contractors or Mercenaries rather than investing and wasting money on the army? What do you think are the pro's for hiring ...
3
votes
5answers
818 views

Would the US as a nation cease to exist if a nuclear terrorist attack struck it in 2018?

Alright, so since the earlier question turned out to be too broad, I am going to ask a different one now. Here is the scenario from the earlier question: "So, a little thing that propped into my ...
-4
votes
1answer
161 views

Venus Transit during huge solar flare

If for instance in 2117 when we have the next Venus transit (Venus between the Sun and Earth). There was a huge solar flare or storm right on the line from Venus to Earth. Could this give enough ...
8
votes
2answers
433 views

Can a sonic screwdriver open doors?

I'm asking this question about an already-built world, in accordance with Are questions based on movies okay?. One of the most famous props on the television show Doctor Who is the sonic screwdriver, ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

We're in the mountains. Where do we hide? [closed]

My name is Tavish Wallace. It's April 10, 2027. The end of the world. Governments are trying to hold as much power as they possibly can until their imminent demise. Military forces are stronger than ...
1
vote
6answers
318 views

Would calibers be kept for reverse engineered weapons in a post apocalyptic setting?

For a setting that I design I deal with REBUILT post apocalyptic weapons. Sooner or later someone (possibly more than one side) would try to manufacture some weapons. Actually, not just repair ...
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votes
4answers
221 views

How hackable are Robots (drones)

or, can we make the Terminator a gardener. Our hero from the somewhat near future is a farmer. His world has the same amount of magic as ours. He is part of a modern high-tech farm and some older ...
7
votes
10answers
2k views

Spaceship defenses against rail guns in scope of existing physics

Within a near-future setting, where ships can move between planets using existing or currently experimental technologies (e.g. fusion), it seems that rail-guns are an extremely effective weapon. Are ...
20
votes
24answers
10k views

Are bullets slower than sound feasible in a high tech scenario?

Is it possible to have futuristic bullets that travel slower than sound? I'm afraid they would not carry as much kinetic energy as the supersonic variants. I know we have subsonic ammunition as of ...
4
votes
7answers
1k views

What would be the implications of a new “hacking” branch of military? [closed]

Assume the following: This is set in the near future (perhaps ~100 years?) of our Earth, or at least, something very closely resembling our Earth. In this future setting, computers and wireless ...
2
votes
5answers
348 views

Racism in a world with customizable body appearance [closed]

Imagine Earth in the future. Technology is super advanced and people can change their genetics [and in particular their outward physical appearance] on demand, easily, for free, as many times as they ...
0
votes
1answer
121 views

Child custody in world where 3 partners required for reproduction [closed]

Imagine a world with intelligent beings [intelligence equal to human beings]. In general things are like here on Earth, except there are 3 partners required for reproduction [e.g. one sex with the ...
1
vote
2answers
239 views

How slow could a self driving car be?

The question sounds somewhat paradoxical so I'll explain. In case of ships: recent trends of overcapacity and cut throat competition (and a few years ago: expensive fuel) lead to slow steaming: So I ...
10
votes
3answers
443 views

Is it possible to surf a solar flare?

I was rereading The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, the sequel to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and I came across an interesting passage: Flare riding is one of the most exotic and ...
20
votes
5answers
3k views

Marriage and divorce in the future [closed]

In the future, if medical technology is significantly advanced and humans live indefinitely, or at least for human lifespans have increased by tens or hundreds of years, how will marriage/divorce/...
5
votes
2answers
145 views

Help me design a future supervirus plague / pandemic

In my story, a Big Bad engineers a virus which is given to a certain segment of the population (between 10 and 20 million people) under the guise of a universal flu vaccine. Instead of preventing the ...
12
votes
20answers
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 ...
8
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13answers
1k views

How realistic is a future aristocracy?

Let us make a few assumptions about how advanced countries develop over the next 50-100 years. These assumptions are endlessly debatable and controversial, but are static for the purposes of this ...
5
votes
5answers
3k views

How would it be possible for an island to sink into the sea?

In the novel I'm writing, there is an island that sinks below sea level and rises up again at a later date. How is it possible to do this, while both keeping the surface of the island dry when it ...
9
votes
2answers
543 views

How can a teen-age mad scientist create polonium?

Start with present day “maker” culture. People, including youngsters, play with microcontrollers and machine parts, with synergistic technology like 3D printing, shoebox-sized robotic milling ...
13
votes
12answers
917 views

Why would Mars rovers talk to each other?

In my near future of manned Mars exploration, NASA/ESA/etc have a dozen or so rovers spread out around Mars. For scientific purposes, the rovers 'talk' to each other via low and high gain antennae ...
39
votes
4answers
5k views

Will social networking sites create fake people using AI?

After further development in AI, will social networking sites create fake accounts like humans using AI and make this AI's to talk/chat to real people? They might do this to get money through ads and ...
9
votes
6answers
445 views

The impacts of the Moon's limited gravity on the design of a Moon city's transportation network

In the near future mankind could well permanently settle on the Moon. Whether for research or mining or just good old fashioned novelty is irrelevant. The colony includes: Large domed structures ...
78
votes
5answers
2k 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. ...
33
votes
22answers
4k views

Would cultured meat (artificial) render animal slaughter illegal? [closed]

Cultured meat, also called synthetic meat, cell-cultured meat, clean meat, etc. is a reality. It seems that the only limitation so far is the mass production of it. This might be accomplished in the ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

How would primitive fembots change society? [closed]

Based on this question's answers, for "fembots" not causing a Singularity, they need to be "primitive". Physically, they are weak, sluggish and not that dexterous. They can carry around objects, but ...
15
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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 ...
25
votes
14answers
6k views

What will a photo look like in next 30 years?

At past, we have black and white photos only, then we have color film to take a photo. Stepping into 21 century, digital photos are becoming popular and the number of pixels are increasing alone. 30 ...
9
votes
7answers
257 views

Can I make autonomous killdrones less of a problem for my psychic agents?

My story is set in the 2100s. Everyone on Earth has a computer implanted in their brain that they use to interface with the technology of the era. A side effect of this is that most violent ...