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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)

3
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4answers
191 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
369 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
votes
5answers
528 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
1k 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
546 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
273 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
652 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
189 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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
150 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
766 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
149 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
405 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, ...
15
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
315 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 ...
-1
votes
4answers
219 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 ...
6
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
332 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
117 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
233 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
431 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
136 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
votes
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
511 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
895 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
432 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
5k 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
254 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
170 views

Will we turn into a micropayment society? [closed]

Not that long ago contactless payment was introduced in my country; it's fast, and still safe as larger amounts still require a PIN. However, a few days ago, I was kind of shocked. I wanted to go to ...
3
votes
4answers
153 views

Does the growth of ecommerce diminish our ability to wage total war?

One of my characters has been a hero for his side in a war between nations, when suddenly he has a change of heart and realizes that neither side is right. He is in possession of some valuable assets ...
7
votes
7answers
631 views

How can the army government ensure Mars mission success?

The world as we know it crumbled down yesterday. All stock exchanges were turned off. Capitalism as we know it failed. Answers to how and why this happened are outside of this question. It just ...
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 ...
3
votes
3answers
286 views

Is there any way we could “see” smells?

I was thinking about making up a visor like Batman has in the Arkham series, where he "analyzes" a sample and then he can set a filter on his visor for particles of that compound. Something like ...
6
votes
5answers
188 views

How could scaled armourish costume hold together

I'm writing a somewhat cyberpunk story and I want to know how things work in that world, even if it is not explained in the story. It was designed as a bit futuristic settings, though some of things ...
27
votes
17answers
8k views

How does a self-cleaning kitchen put away the dishes?

The year: Sometime between 2025 and 2045. The place: A new high-end subdivision (or custom home showroom) near you. The sales pitch: This home is great for entertaining. It has a complete ...
4
votes
2answers
198 views

Would a civilisation be better without nationalities? [closed]

I have often wondered if civilisation would be better off as a single state or country. As an example, instead of being British I would be Earthish, and so would every body else. I don't know how ...
21
votes
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 ...
25
votes
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 ...