Questions tagged [technology]

For questions about the creation, use, and application of all types of technology.

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38
votes
7answers
8k views

Hard Sci-fi energy shields

I'm making a fairly hard Sci-Fi story, and I was wondering what the most scientifically plausible 'energy shield' (for ships and stations) would be. My world tries to remain true to basic physics, but ...
44
votes
8answers
13k views

Could underwater living organism create technology?

Could underwater creatures with the intelligence of human cave men or possibly the intelligence of apes create technology (that is, more complex technology comparable to what we have now rather than ...
76
votes
33answers
28k views

If magic is real, can it be true that rational scientific thought should exclude it?

"Magic and science coexist." A tired phrase by now, because it's found in so much fiction. But can it make sense? Assume a world broadly parallel to our own. It has experienced its Age of ...
71
votes
14answers
7k views

Must magic be tied to medieval tech?

Most settings with a magical component, whether this means wizards, magical races, or something similar, seem to be parked at a medieval level of development in terms of technology and society. Is ...
47
votes
11answers
11k views

Could medieval people produce automatic firearms if they had access to the schematics?

Assume you traveled back in time to the middle ages, and you brought with you the schematics of a fully automatic firearm. Could a group of experienced smiths and jewelers reproduce it? What would the ...
74
votes
27answers
11k views

Concealing my earth-changing invention

Imagine it. I've invented the single greatest thing since Fire. A machine that can turn matter into energy and energy into matter with almost absolute efficiency. Sure, it violates a couple of the ...
74
votes
19answers
14k views

How would an aquatic race develop computers?

Following on from this question and assuming the race in question had developed the ability to create tools how would they approach the need for mass calculation. Our early computers were used to ...
19
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8answers
4k views

How would an aquatic civilisation forge tools?

One of the first steps in technological is the ability of a civilisation to forge tools* humans achieved this by using fire and creating forges. There are obviously underwater heat sources but I don'...
60
votes
7answers
12k views

Anatomically Correct Santa

With advanced technology would it be possible to make something like the Santa in the story as well as the reindeer? If so could a realistic Santa be a human or would him and his reindeer have to be ...
15
votes
7answers
10k views

What if an Earth-like planet had no axial tilt? (climate and technology) [closed]

Hey guys, thanks for the suggestions and answers - here's a more streamlined question - presently focused on implications on climate and technology. I've also added a little more explanation in the ...
33
votes
19answers
7k views

Why would a magic world be stuck in medieval times?

This is related to Must magic be tied to medieval tech?, but not the same. So the setup: There are two worlds, one is Earth, as it is now, with all its history. The other is a magic world, with an ...
17
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16answers
2k views

Science, Religion, Magic: Can they be maintained in equal and parallel opposition?

This has been a burning question of mine for many years: If magic is real, can it be true that rational scientific thought should exclude it? In the course of discussing it, I've realized I need to ...
26
votes
11answers
4k views

How to make the development and use of Steam Engines preferred over that of Combustion Engines?

Intro: I have gone some way to make airships more preferable over land-based transport in my beautiful conworld. E.g. making tunneling harder & making flying easier. Though there's plenty left to ...
15
votes
5answers
13k views

How long can a power plant continue to generate electricity without maintenance by people?

The situation is as follows: there is a city with different districts, each provided with electric power from a different power plant: Thermal power plant nuclear power plant Hydroelectric power ...
55
votes
12answers
8k views

Hacking the universe

Imagine the whole universe is a simulation. This should include also the people living in the universe (so more Simulacron than Matrix). And now imagine there's a group of hackers who knows (or ...
49
votes
21answers
7k views

A small group recreating modern technology

Suppose a group of people get transported back in time (say 2500 years). Then, in a manner reminiscent of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, they try to re-design modern technology. Assume ...
61
votes
31answers
23k views

How to solve the old 'gun on a spaceship' problem?

The problem: If somebody fires a (kinetic) gun on a spaceship, the bullet is likely to penetrate the hull and cause a host of problems. I want to incorporate spaceships and fighting on them and in ...
22
votes
5answers
2k views

How might you detect a “life sign”?

It's a common trope in science-fiction: "scanning for life signs". A few taps on the screen, and you get an instant population count, often with the ability to distinguish species, and even personal ...
21
votes
7answers
3k views

How might it be possible to move a star?

I'm imagining a super-powerful spacefaring race which has the capability to build or modify a star system or even galaxy by moving stars around, but I wonder if it's really feasible. Is it ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Realism of Solid light?

In the game Portal, there are glowing light platforms. These platforms are (supposedly) made of solid, compressed light. How can these realistically be made?
8
votes
10answers
933 views

How much technological regression is plausible?

I'm working on a post-apocalyptic world for a game and the more I think about it the more unsure I get about the technological development of the setting being believable. So I'm asking how likely a ...
6
votes
2answers
970 views

How big can we make a telescope?

I've mentioned in earlier posts that it will be much cheaper to build immense space-based observatory instruments than to even come close to launching an interstellar expedition. There are several ...
36
votes
18answers
10k views

How do you solve the copied consciousness conundrum without killing anyone?

What do digital immortality, teleportation, the show Doctor Who, and a horror game released in 2015 have in common? The idea of copied consciousness. Each of these examples relies on copying the ...
49
votes
19answers
28k views

How can I build a Nuclear Reactor in my backyard?

In my world, having a nuclear reactor at your own house is legal, in fact government donates money in the form of subsidies ( So no constraints of funds). This might have been practical because of ...
20
votes
15answers
5k views

How to bootstrap technological development from one man in the forest, to building a spaceship? [closed]

The last human alive is on the Antarctic continent and needs to find a way to leave the planet before Earth becomes unsustainable for life. (He would look for a planet orbiting a younger star. That ...
39
votes
19answers
4k views

With current technology, what would be the best way to store energy for future generations?

Let's say that the world has successfully converted and only depends on renewable resources for our home energy needs. In fact, we have a massive surplus - currently in the form of raw electricity ...
64
votes
14answers
9k views

How can I hide my island?

I'm a supervillain. I have no name, but you can rest assured my intentions are dubious and always result in general harm. My biggest problem these days are these pesky superheroes keep finding my ...
52
votes
21answers
7k views

How would humans adapt if low-wage labor was done by robots?

Background: Nearly all low-wage labor is done by humanoid robots (retail, factories, transport, sanitation, construction, mining, and similar fields). These robots have all the physical capabilities ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

How to get rid of all the heat in my spaceship?

Spaceships are a peculiar thing. We've got them in all forms, sizes & colours. They run on nuclear fusion, creating loads of power driving all sorts of shenanigans... but they still generate lots ...
25
votes
18answers
5k views

How could ghosts be explained without an afterlife?

I've always loved well-done ghosts. However, I've always hated the afterlife-speculation that they engender if used in a story. So I need a way to get ghosts without the fluffy spiritualistic bits. ...
18
votes
13answers
8k views

How close can we get to heated blades?

In many sci-fi scenarii, most often when mechs are involved, it is not uncommon to see such a technology, usually called heated blade. Supposedly, it would make the blade even more efficient at ...
27
votes
12answers
5k views

Is there any way to truly hide a spaceship?

Space is two things: empty and (mostly) dark. This makes it really, really hard to hide in it, because to do anything in it, chances are, you'll be shining a big bright light through it. Even if you'...
11
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3answers
2k views

How fast could a civilization advance if given access to information from future?

Suppose a civilization from the past was suddenly given access to a huge database of information from modern times. How fast might such a civilization develop, compared to how they otherwise would ...
13
votes
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: ...
7
votes
3answers
285 views

End-user experience and prominent use cases of robust interplanetary internet

Having recently learned about the Interplanetary Internet in development by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and inspired by Kim Stanley Robinson's novel 2312, I began to wonder about the actual ...
11
votes
8answers
2k views

How can my ancient Roman civilization develop effective steam power for use in ships?

Following on from this question which specifically asks about the consequences of aeolipile development, how can my ancient Roman civilization develop effective steam power for use in their ships? I ...
2
votes
4answers
377 views

Feasibility of a Synthetic Buoyancy Bladder, Used in the Air

Many fish have specialized organs called buoyancy bladders which allow them to control their buoyancy - effectively rising or sinking in the water. What if humans adapted this to use in the air? I'm ...
1
vote
2answers
432 views

Could a photonic engine actually work?

I have a very specific aesthetic in mind for my science-fantasy setting, technology is largely pneumatipunk supplemented with weired phonotic devices;for "reason" there are few electrical devices in ...
93
votes
26answers
15k views

Would relatively primitive people really confuse technology with magic?

It's common for people to say that if a time traveler or an alien displayed advanced technology to ancient or medieval people, that they'd assume it was magic, and either worship him as a god or burn ...
58
votes
16answers
14k views

Could a human engineer comprehend alien electronics?

Let's say a human engineer comes across an alien electronics lab. It occurs to me that electrons are electrons, if the aliens are at a similar state of development to us then at least the simplest (...
120
votes
14answers
18k views

How can I ensure my Evil Tower is always stormy?

It's been a good year for me as an Evil Overlord. Lots of princess kidnapping turned into sizable ransoms, several of my Doomsday Devices were sold for high prices at auction, and my Minions have been ...
38
votes
22answers
7k views

Realistic Future Jobs for Men and Women

I'm trying to figure out realistic futuristic jobs for my characters. We're in a verge-of-singularity world, 15-25 years in the future. Convoluted neural networks and their even more awesome near-AGI ...
50
votes
5answers
10k views

Pew Pew Lasers! What would directed energy weapons actually sound like?

Anybody who has consumed a space opera movie, tv show, or video games knows that energy weapons go pew-pew. I however want to do something more creative for my setting, and with truth being stranger ...
24
votes
14answers
4k views

What are the social implications of discovering a formula for immortality?

Here is a hypothetical, but not entirely plausible, scenario: An organization or company (likely pharmaceutical) discovers the formula to develop a drug that stops aging (the human body's cells are ...
50
votes
13answers
8k views

In a society of flying beings, would the wheel ever be invented?

The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. -- Douglas Adams. Humans can't fly. Not themselves. Sure, we can climb aboard a plane, a hot air balloon, or a rocket ...
13
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6answers
5k views

If all our technology disappeared, how long would it take to make a smart phone?

Suppose all of technology in existence disappeared overnight, except for the clothes everyone is wearing. No houses, man-made structures of any kind, just the land as it was say 60,000 years ago. All ...
25
votes
14answers
4k views

“Shields at 10% one more hit and…” What?

How do force field work in many sci fi fictional universes? I remembered the last time I checked the strength of the electromagnetic field a.k.a force field is proportional to the power output from ...
38
votes
10answers
6k views

Could a technological society develop without wood?

Imagine a world things evolved slightly different: plants never evolved into trees. There are bushes, herbs, mosses, etc, but no trees. Thus no wood to make planks, nor for building. Given abundant ...
34
votes
13answers
2k views

Is a world with no technological improvement possible?

A society grows with time, but does the technology needs to grow with them? Is it possible for a planet to have a very large population and much society but no more improvement in the ways of the ...
21
votes
6answers
3k views

Exploration of a 50 mile high mountain

My friends and I are building a world with a 50 mile high volcano on it. The mountain is the result of some bored god deciding to play a joke on everyone. Or, some other god got angry and decided to ...