Questions tagged [technology]

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

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41
votes
28answers
10k views

Why buy tech from the future?

The Demonstration You're a rich, successful CEO/capitalist working in the electronics business. Your R&D division is exceptional and routinely fabs state of the art processors at bleeding edge ...
40
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18answers
10k views

Why would super-advanced aliens go undercover as humans?

A common sight in science fiction is that aliens pretend to be human (For example in Third Rock from the Sun). Obviously if the aliens are advanced enough to disguise themselves as another ...
40
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10answers
8k views

What effects would a change in the nature of human sexuality have on society and infrastructure

Consider a group of humans at a bronze-age to early iron-age technological level colonizing a new earthlike planet. There is just one difference - there exists on the planet something which changes ...
39
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30answers
15k views

A way of getting the water to the top of the tall building without electricity?

First, let me explain the situation. Post-apocalypse setting, a group of humans (let's say around a hundred of them) have to find safe places to live at, protected from animals, bandits, and other ...
39
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16answers
13k views

What difficulty would the Roman Empire have besieging a fantasy kingdom's 49 m wall?

I'm trying to work out the logistics of a little fantasy-historical piece I'm working on. Rome at the height of its power (c. 117 CE) has decided to invade a fantasy kingdom up north. It has a ...
39
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15answers
7k views

Is it plausible that a country developed steam engines before gunpowder?

Man, I really have to find a way to stop getting into logic dead-ends. So, in the story I’m writing, there’s this country that developed big bad war machines that run on steam engines. The way they ...
39
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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 ...
38
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5answers
23k views

Why would PMCs be in politically-unstable places, as opposed to waiting in comfort to be called?

I'm writing a story, based vaguely off of the Stars Without Number system. There are lots of things bugging me, but by far the biggest issue is this: the military contractors and bounty hunters and ...
38
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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 ...
38
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13answers
7k views

Keeping supplies for 1000 years

My main protagonist is going to fast-forward himself in time by 1000 years. He will simply reappear in the same place (marked by a small beacon), the process being instant for him (no hibernation etc)....
38
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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 ...
38
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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 ...
37
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12answers
10k views

Can we build a world in 1,000 years?

We have a fleet of sub-light speed generation ships and associated engineering devices/ships. Their original world can no longer support their species, and they must move to survive. The fleet of ...
37
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17answers
10k views

In an underwater society, would the wheel ever be invented?

In a different question, someone mentioned "technology dichotomy", where they said "you can't invent time travel without first inventing the wheel". Then I read the question In a society of flying ...
37
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21answers
5k views

What would stop a company able to sell lifespan expansions from ruling the world?

Let's assume few things: There is a difficult technology that allows making someone's body an arbitrary number of years younger, or reset it to, for example, the state of "young adult" - a point when ...
36
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15answers
11k views

What methods might an ancient civilization use to desalinate sea water?

Following on from my previous question here concerning the ancient civilization I have called the Androy and their struggle to survive terrible drought conditions on their planet. After years of ...
36
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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 ...
36
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19answers
6k views

How can I keep the computers on my spaceship from temperature related death after a hull breach?

Spaceships are a peculiar thing. We've got them in all forms, sizes & colours. They have vast computers needed to do all the real-time calculations required for astrogation. Assuming our ...
36
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9answers
6k views

What would limit the size of a sail-powered sea cargo ship using modern (or near future) technologies, and how big could we go?

Fossil-fuel-powered shipping is obviously much better than old-school sail-powered ships for moving cargo around. But if winds were predictable, fossil fuels rare and solar/nuclear power not an option ...
36
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6answers
5k views

Would a suit that acts as extra-cardiovascular system allow you to run indefinitely?

Generally, when you run a long distance or do something particularly strenuous, you start breathing heavily because of a decrease of oxygen in your blood. Your gasping and weezing is in an effort to ...
35
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20answers
11k views

Why would the Federation ban escape pods that come with manual override?

The year is 2216 C.E., humanity develops an economic solution to travel to the Alpha Centauri A, our closest star system, in a matter of decades. Despite mankind's technological prowess our species is ...
35
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19answers
11k views

Would bigger space war ships be actually better or not?

Space battles, with huge/gigantic space ships shooting lasers, missiles and projectiles at each other, there's a lot of material regarding space battles (Movies, books, games), but there's something ...
35
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12answers
7k views

How can a human cause the Yellowstone to erupt?

The story is in contemporary earth and with same technology. How can a single human make the Yellowstone explode with the tools available to us now (or with slightly advanced ones, but nothing too sci ...
34
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17answers
12k views

How to tell a clone apart?

In the year 2116 C.E. scientist can easily make multiple clones of a human, I was thinking maybe the doctor can make some markings on the clone body however what happens if the doctor forget to tag. ...
34
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36answers
12k views

How can I make guns available, but not swords?

I'm writing a world where iron is incredibly rare and the technology to make more complex metals like steel was never developed. However, both lead and niter are incredibly common, so firearms were ...
34
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24answers
11k 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 ...
34
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12answers
7k views

Why would astronauts go to space to mine asteroids?

Realistically, if we are ever going to mine asteroids, it would be drones and robots that do it, not humans, because of safety and cost reasons. What reason could justify the participation of human ...
34
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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 ...
34
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5answers
6k views

Would England of the 14th Century be capable of producing revolver bullets

A cowboy of the 19th Century got dragged back into the past (just in case, stable time loop does not apply here since it also has an alternative timeline/universe), after some feats of battle, the ...
34
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7answers
6k views

Could you float a boat on a gas giant?

A futuristic entrepreneur wants to start a cruise line company and needs to build a cruise ship that will not only float on a gas giant, but be habitable throughout a 7 day trip (for the uber-rich of ...
33
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18answers
5k views

How would a ship defend against a sea creature, and possibly win?

I have a Viking-inspired race living on a harsh ocean based planet with very rough and cold seas. In these seas there are giant creatures, not unlike kraken who frequently attack ships. I was thinking ...
33
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8answers
7k views

Does my Fast-as-Light travel method run afoul of causality or relativity?

I am writing a hard science fiction story and I want to avoid violating known physics, while still enabling some of the classic mainstays of science fiction under the auspice of sufficiently advanced ...
33
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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 ...
33
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9answers
5k views

Could a technological society develop without agriculture?

Before the advent of agriculture, humans fed themselves by hunting and gathering. Hunter-gatherer societies tend to function quite differently from agricultural societies. Arguably, historically, ...
32
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22answers
6k views

How can an advanced civilization forget how to manufacture its technology?

My alien civilization is highly advanced. Their ancestors created wondrous things from medical devices that can cure nearly anything to warships that can defeat nearly any enemy. The problem is they ...
32
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21answers
8k views

Is it possible to make spaceship very difficult to reverse engineer if you can't oversee its usage?

I have a situation where planet A (democracy with a rule of law) has an alliance of convenience with planet B (dictatorship with disregard for a law). In order for B to effectively fight a common ...
32
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16answers
7k views

Is there a precedent for inventing a new technology many years before anyone else?

History shows that most inventors of groundbreaking new technologies, for example, the light bulb or the telephone were not actually the first to invent this technology and that there were actually ...
32
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11answers
5k views

Von Neumann probes: feasible or not, now?

Recently, a robot called Philae soft-landed quite safely onto the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, then shot some photos and got some other interesting information that was sent back to Earth. This ...
32
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11answers
4k views

Long-lasting self-sustainable presence indicator beacon

This morning when I woke up, I found nobody. Literally... All houses and cars where abandoned, as if everybody was gone in a hurry leaving everything. I took a car and drove around: nothing... My ...
31
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12answers
10k views

In the late 1940’s to early 1950’s what technology was available that could melt a LOT of ice?

In my story I’ve devised lore where Greenland becomes a US territory, and they begin populating the region. It initially just served as the hub for numerous military bases and airbases, but eventually ...
31
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14answers
7k views

How would an army defend itself against mass robo-snake attacks?

This is set in a near-future war where advanced remote technology exists, drones and other automated weapons fight alongside human fighting units. These battles mainly take place in temperate ...
31
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13answers
9k views

How “advanced” can a stone age society get?

I'm working on a world where, with very few exceptions, metalwork is not possible/unwanted, and I'm trying to figure out what major differences one might see in daily life, and what would be necessary ...
31
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16answers
4k views

Why would precursors create devices that can survive and still work after hundreds of years? [closed]

In many stories, there are precursor artifacts that often have miraculous powers. Often, those artifacts are hundreds, if not thousands of years old. But, looking at our own technology, most of our ...
31
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9answers
9k views

What would modern IT look like if Silicon Valley had been completely destroyed in 1985?

In the 1985 movie A View to a Kill, James Bond discovers--and then foils--a plot by to destroy Silicon Valley, in a manner that makes it look like a natural disaster. The plot for doing so is a bit ...
31
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10answers
7k views

Would using thick glass wall be better than electric fence for my dino theme park?

My company has perfected its gene modifying technique.We can create life-sized hybrids of dinosaurs, with the exact appetite and behaviour as the original species (at least according to our advice ...
30
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17answers
7k views

How could indestructible materials be used in power generation?

Background: In this scenario assume technology is initially equal to our own, but a method is discovered to render material indestructible. The affected material is treated as requiring infinite or ...
30
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12answers
9k views

What would be a credible way to design a watertight membrane that still allows large organisms to pass through?

I am currently building a world where the majority of the population is some kind of amphibian species. My question is : Is it possible to design a kind of membrane that is completely waterproof but ...
30
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14answers
4k views

Can two civilizations on nearby stars develop independently but be at a similar technological level?

One thing that a few science fiction films seem to get wrong: it is extremely unlikely for two civilizations to evolve completely independently and yet be within a few hundred years of each other ...
30
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11answers
4k views

Long-abandoned, yet still working ancient technology

A staple of both fantasy and science fiction literature is the long-vanished Ancients, who left nothing but their buildings (or devices) behind. Somehow, these (usually) decrepit structures still ...
29
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12answers
7k views

Enforcing a speed limit in medieval times

The Emperor has decreed that the speed limit for horses and horse-drawn vehicles within city limits is to be 5 leagues per hour. As usual he has left the implementation details to his Scientific ...