46

Go for the simplest solution: millennium bug. You would think that humanity would have learned after Y2K. Nope. In another post I described how GPS has a millennium bug every 19 years or so. This is due to a design flaw, and the fix is people having to buy new GPS devices every 19 years. We are now in the first generation of devices which may survive this ...


26

I'm going to propose a different direction: the failure was intended by the original designer. While I wouldn't presume to rewrite the history of your world, this problem does invite some interesting backstory (though you may feel this rips off I,Robot a little too much). Cybernetics, Enhancements, Plugs. Whatever you call them, everyone is using them - ...


23

In todays world the main barrier to direct brain-machine interfaces is that the body rejects implants. Typically the body will grow a barrier/capsule around any foreign object placed into the brain (in order to isolate it). Presumably they have solved this problem in your world. That all changed when the I386 virus came into contact with the first human. ...


21

Change of diet: the implants need some chemicals/proteins/etc. to work, or to be able to interface with your biology. Something wiped out a kind of a crop, that forms the major part of your societys diet, that was the only source of this protein. Or the opposite, some company introduced a new soda, that became such a big hype, that almost everybody tried it. ...


15

Who cares? No-one reading your story actually cares what the reason is. What we care about is the story you tell about the consequences. The reason is a MacGuffin which doesn't have to exist in any defined way. Think of the classics. You don't need to know how Victor Frankenstein connected up the nerves and blood vessels, only that he did, and this is how ...


13

You're all going to die There's a saying that applies to GEVs/WIGs as much as it does to hovercraft. If you can see something in front of you you're going to hit it. GEVs are not suitable for traffic situations, as they require a minimum speed rather than a maximum. They're not really suitable for use over land due to the fact they corner like aircraft and ...


12

Failed to renew the domain name It's just one of the old-fashioned things again. All the implants are cloud-connected, of course. That's how they talk to each other, and smooth the communication between their human hosts. And therefore, they all have the same hostname programmed into them. It would be a real modern Babel otherwise, if your implant could ...


12

As I see it, for the effect to be quite sudden and global, there are two options 1) outer influence, new kind of radiation, aliens, gods, magic appearing out of nowhere you name it. Generally not very plausible, but there are stories set in worlds in which such a game-changing event occurred. If the setting is interesting enough, the question how it came to ...


7

The biologicals are not actually still biologicals. The entirety of human civilization was copied and continues to run as a Matrix-like simulation. The event 5 years ago was actually the first boot of the copy. Failure of the implants was intentional and meant to distract from other imperfections in the copy. The fate of the biological originals is not ...


5

The radio spectrum is full The implants are just the peripheral that links the biological part with the actual user device (smartphone, smartwatch... whatever they use in the future). That devices are where the processing power really is, the implant simply serves as a link with it, over low-frequency radio (think Bluetooth). They worked very well ...


5

How do smart animals survive on Earth? Be unthreatening - Great apes in jungles are largely left alone if they keep away from human settlements. Be a companion - Cats, dogs and myriad other species live as pets in close proximity with humans, albeit they must never show behaviour which would harm a human, or are kept in conditions which prevent it (cages, ...


4

Diplomacy. These aliens would be looking at the same stuff we do: companionship, satisfying our needs for food, shelter and sex and doing this all through technology and resources. Many of us also have ideologies like protecting wildlife or equal rights. When the aliens meet us they could wipe us out, but why would they? They would be better off supplying ...


3

Programmed obsolescence gone wrong. Cybernetic implants manufacturer programmed them to stop functioning after a given period of time, but an error made all of them to stop at the same time.


3

Why not have a group of rebels that want to bring back 'real emotions'. In Altered Carbon (The Netflix series at least) a group of societal rebels' tl;dr goal is If we consider the downsides of augmented happiness, people could do vile things without any emotional feedback or trauma if they get a dose of pleasure from their cybernetics for each vile task ...


3

It isn't going to work. Aircraft horizontal separation standards vary based on type of flying (uncontrolled, controlled, VFR, IFR, etc), but is generally measured in miles, not feet. For example, US ATC standards in a terminal area specify a minimum 3 nautical mile separation. Even at Oshkosh during the fly-in they maintain separations of 1/2 mile for ...


3

The classic one is BECAUSE THE GODS SAY SO!!!!! or, if you like, "religious injunction". For example, in "Dune" there was a prohibition against computers, which led to humans having to develop equivalent capabilities. Similarly, in "Lord Of Light" the Gods of the City (the crew of the original starship) controlled all technology and prevented the general ...


2

The bio-cyber implants can only interface with someone infected with the otherwise generally asymptomatic Handwaveosis, which makes the brain's neurons particularly sensitive to Macguffin fields. And early bio-cyber implants would only work for a few hours before the body rejected the foreign object - only implants coated with Handwaceae spores avoid forming ...


2

The government got hacked. The government forced all the manufacturers of the implants to install a backdoor, which allows them to shut down implants remotely. Just in case someone decides to augment themselves up and go on a crime spree or something. Just like the modern day NSA, they got hacked. Left the keys to the kingdom lying around on a server ...


1

Something that might be a useful reference is to consider military helicopter separation distance. Because they regularly fly together very close to the ground in dangerous environments, it could give a baseline as to safety. While military pilots like this are certainly better trained than the average driver, you could argue that automation and augmented ...


1

If all the practical issues are dealt with as you say, I see no reason 'lane widths' would then emulate existing ones, however this is a missed opportunity One of the major complexities in modern day city / traffic / urban planning is that the 2 dimensional plane, the ground plane, contains: Roads and intersections Buildings Vegetation Rivers Complex ...


1

Computer virus gone horribly wrong There was a group of people (terrorists/totalitarian country/mafia/something) that wanted to control the implants. After all, that would give them tremendous power over all other humans. The implants had a tough security system in place to prevent exactly this from happening, but in the end - we're all human and we all ...


1

The warping of reality may well be a question of degrees - if one merely changes the colour or shape of a handbag for example, then your reality warper is probably an artist, who sees the world through the lens of his or her special talent and how she would represent these things in oils, clay or even dance. "Just as pretty as a picture" would have to be a ...


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