87

A smart gun which only fires in the hands of an authorised individual -- which may include any soldier in your army -- is a useful and practical concept. It may have issues when transferring weapons between units, if someone's fingerprints change etc. A weapon which explodes in the wrong hands is a dangerous liability. It means all a captive has to do is try ...


73

A private network When it comes to flying, the truly rich do not fly first-class. That's incredibly inconvenient for them. The truly rich fly on their own personal jet to wherever they feel like going. Thus, the way teleportation networks would cater to the rich is simple: Have a private network for them. Every major corporate headquarters would have a ...


57

One of the ultimate signs of wealth is being able to command services from other humans at your whim. The ultra wealthy have maids, pilots, cooks, drivers, guards, etc. and even if these jobs could be automated, there's still a feeling of power that one can derive from commanding others who are like you, and it's a sign of power to others. So, some ...


48

I think there are several different ways this can be solved: Send professionals and risk it Honestly, just send teams of 6 trained astronauts and hope for the best. This is probably what's going to happen. I highly doubt NASA would admit that their professional astronauts would break protocol (even though I agree, there would be a decent chance of failure ...


46

Your crew members all have Down's syndrome. Downs syndrome is an inborn chromosomal abnormality that comes with characteristic developmental and cognitive differences. One Downs syndrome stereotype is that individuals with this condition are passive, mellow and easygoing. All persons with Downs are intellectually disabled to one degree or another but 20% ...


40

There are cases where you want someone to handle the gun without firing it. Just to name a few: the legitimate holder has lost the gun and someone returns it to them the legitimate holder is dead but a comrade can still use the weapon the gun has to be serviced/inspected the gun has to be handed over in custody Moreover, having the explosive gun would give ...


35

SEX TRADE: (and assorted criminal activities) I hate to point out the obvious (ok, that's a lie; I LOVE to point it out) but most of the slavery in the US not linked to sweatshops is in the sex trade. Even with AI and fancy machines, there's something about a real person you can't quite get right, and the harder they try, the weirder it seems. The same rule ...


33

Yes Simple answer is yes. People have an image of themselves. This image changes over time and the idea of being human fits into this. But there are plenty of irregular personal views that go along with it. Some are harmless, some are just strange and some turn the world upside down. There is a person who is convinced she's a cat and tries to become one as ...


31

"There are enough cabins for everybody" This is a frame challenge. If you have a civilization that can waste that many resources to ensure everyone can teleport anywhere they want whenever they want planet-wide, then what you're really saying is that everyone has at least two teleporter cabins in their homes, apartments, offices, stores, etc. What ...


30

Farmers Farmers commonly use flame throwers for clearing fields and brush. they kill weeds and their seeds as well as pests. tractor mounted flamethrowers even exist. Forestry service Forestry services often use flamethrowers for setting back fires, and clearing brush.


25

Natural Fossilization is not that slow of a process Okay, so I did a bit of research and as it turns out natural fossils can actually be formed much faster than I previously stated, meaning that quite authentic fossils could be created by a funeral home in a reasonable amount of time. Basically you just need to put the body in a coffin full of finely ground ...


24

The system under the Constitution in the USA makes that kind of fracturing pretty hard. What makes it harder now is that a steady increase in power of the federal government has reduced the amount of power that each state has. If you look at the Civil War in the 1860's, the wedge issue was slavery. The precipitation events, though, wasn't slavery itself, ...


24

Lots of people think we're currently on the verge of Civil War 2.0 Or that we're already in a "cold civil war". Haven't you heard the Claire Wolfe quote? “America is at that awkward stage; it's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.” Civil War 2.0 already has a nickname: the "boogaloo". No few observers expected it to ...


23

Happily for you, this service already exists! Fossilisation simply means the replacement of soft body tissues with some kind of mineral, a non-biological substance. Usually the process takes squillions of years and, as you indicate, there's no guarantee it'll happen to you naturally. So let me introduce you to the concept of body plastination: Yep, that's ...


23

I've always been a bit sceptical about the idea that boredom might pose a serious threat to long-term space missions, because, across the world, there are millions of people who live lives that seem to me to be equivalently boring to a ten-year space voyage. A lot of people have jobs that offer them no significant time off, no significant variation, and no ...


19

Travel time Teleportation is instant. You buy a ticket, get into the cabin, stamp your ticket, press a button and wake up in another, identical cabin several hundreds or thousands of miles away. Teleportation is only instant from the point of view of the traveler. You don't remember the traveling, as you were unconscious during all that time (and to be ...


18

One luxury I could think of is closely related to the technology driving the teleporters. Let's assume your teleporter analyses your body on a molecular level and sends those petabytes of information to the receiver, that then reconstructs your body. This process is often referred to as beaming in popular science fiction culture. In that case, the teleporter ...


17

John Milton wrote a poem called Paradise Lost. There is a passage where Lucifer says: Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven. I come from a place where people are willing to have a lower salary if it means others will receive even less. The most important thing is to have a greater salary in comparison to others. Take it to the extreme: people would ...


16

To steal from the book Unwind-- abortion is a big one. One side believes that the other is literally murdering babies, so they're primed to fight. The other see sit as a form of slavery for women due to the choices of others, so they're also primed to fight. Boom-- civil war. I think that income inequality might finally boil over into a civil war at some ...


16

Shielding is a solution when you need to prevent the embedded chip from communicating with some external system. Using Faraday cage or just going outside the range of network is the least invasive method, but is usable only when the chip is meant for sending data out or receiving something. This includes the passive RFID-type tags that send respose to ...


16

Bees and wasps and dangerous insects. Flamethrowers are legal in many states in the United States specifically to allow people to defend themselves against Africanized honey bees and swarms of murder hornets. Having similar creatures that regularly attack people and can kill before proper authorities can arrive to protect you, then a wrist-mounted ...


16

could it be that this is high SF, and social commentary? (Picture from here.) What possible use could a person have for a golden pistol that shoots bullets the size of a woman's thumb? There is no use, except the awesomeness. And they are sold out so awesomeness must be enough. Plenty of people collect guns and are passionate about them. These guns are ...


15

You have already invented your disease. If you try to make it a real thing it will just crimp your style. What you have is fine and leaving big unknowns will move your story along. Name it after a place where it showed up and you have got your disease. I would suggest a viral disease or some spin on prion because bacterial are less sneaky. People ...


15

I once read somewhere that you should not bring a smart gun to a gun fight. In a world where weapons are commonplace and cheap, you are already at a terrible disadvantage if your weapon glitches, or requires time to boot and become ready. Supposing you are suicidal enough to turn your piece into that kind of explosive, you have two extra problems: Since ...


15

Yes. As long as the question is "Can a person be brainwashed sufficiently to switch their own identity" then the answer is yes. It won't work reliably in 100% of cases, or may require a long time to work, but at least some fraction of subjects will be successfully convinced that they are, in fact, robots. However, this will work only if this ...


14

OK, I'm going to take a slightly different approach to frame challenging this, because other answers have covered why making it explode when someone other than the owner picks it up is a bad idea. There are two big issues here: Smart guns are actually not as amazing of an idea as people make them out to be. Conceptually, it's awesome, only you can use the ...


13

Bloodletting and transfusion Hopefully, it won't even get to that. It's what the liver is for, after all. In general, any foreign contaminant to your blood is removed by either the kidneys or the liver, though mostly it's the liver. Any kind of poison inserted into someone's blood will eventually be processed by the liver. If the subject isn't in immediate ...


12

It's cheaper to lie The other answers explain why it's a bad idea to make all of your firearms explode when touched by the repair guy. I just finished the book Active Measures, which has me thinking about military intelligence and counterintelligence. There's a long history of armies inflating the capabilities of their forces (it's described in The Art of ...


12

The Argument for One Person Although he described his solitary confinement as "the most torturous experience a human being can be put through in prison. It’s punishment without ending," Albert Woodfox is the longest-serving prisoner kept in isolation (a tiny cell, by himself, massively limited social interaction) in U.S. history. 43 years. (Source) ...


11

A lot depends on how far robots, AI, and androids have replaced humans. The more they replace us, the more reasons you can find to own a slave. Show of power: few things make you look more powerful than owning someone else. Slaves being illegal only means it's harder and more expensive to get one, and with robots becoming more common and accessible, slaves ...


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