Hot answers tagged

65

Belgium was neutral before both WWI and WWII Not that it helped them much. Unfortunately Belgium is the perfect place for Europe to fight its wars and as such Europe has fought its wars in the region now known as Belgium for hundreds of years. Switzerland isn't such a good place to fight a battle, it's a really hard place from which to remove an entrenched ...


34

Currently, robots do not last as long as humans. Even old, restored cars tend not to last as long as humans, and still be functional. And human bodies do not tend to become obsolete the way modern technology does. A new body every two or three years? Think of the costs, if an iPhone is around $1,000. And, of course, there is always the security, the ...


31

It is tough to be pregnant. Get it over with! It is not easy to be pregnant. It is physically taxing and draining. Sentient females given the option may choose not to become pregnant at all. There is some thought that some phenotypic human traits (e.g. concealed ovulation) evolved to make it harder for women to predict when they would be fertile, which ...


28

As an author, you can choose any level of mayhem and destruction, you only need to make it believable. I think you do that by explaining the steps humanity took to forestall the famine, and how they worked and how they failed. From our own current experience with coronavirus, we can see that the initial response is sort of disbelief and denial, followed by ...


22

The term here isn't robots, it's cyborgs. This is also the premise of Ghost in the Shell. The maintenance and security problems will be an expensive problem in contrast to an organic body that is semi-self repairing and sort of secure. Organic brains or memories can be manipulated(see con artists, infrasonic as a source of ghost sightings, or the work of ...


22

It all depends on the size of the population, and the diversity of people's sexual partners. "Accidental inbreeding" (specifically excluding purposeful incest like what the Habsburgs did) happens to mankind only when there's a handful of people in a secluded situation: commonly a mountain village, but it can happen to sufficiently xenophobic social, ...


22

Religion. Some fraction of Yttri society has been infected by one or more memes that boil down to "every child should live" -- and intentionally delaying birth and allowing the fetuses to eat each other amounts to murder. Not all "first world" Ytrri will think this way, of course -- but it might well be that the reduced reasoning ability of those who were ...


22

Frequent natural disasters, aggressive neighboring countries, plagues, short lifespan Frequent natural disasters: If there's a lot of people lost to each disaster, maybe because of severity, there's always need for mediocre people to clean up and rebuild. Few smart people to lead but many to do the job. Aggressive neighbouring countries: Training soldiers ...


19

Caste - only some Yttri are allowed to produce the healthier, more intelligent offspring By long-established tradition, members of the ruling caste are expected to produce only the most superior of children, while other castes are required to produce lesser, or even primitive children. Sure, there's no biological reason compelling the lowest castes to ...


18

I don't think you are reaching far at all. As a real-world example, humanity will run out of minable phosphorus deposits in about 30 years. You might be familiar with phosphorus, as it's the vital ingredient of fertilizers. So, in 30 years we will have dispersed all known deposits into tiny amounts throughout the globe, and we'll have to revert to what our ...


16

This statement always ends up being taken as controversial but I will state it nevertheless: If we for a minute put morality and social norms aside, the negative effects of inbreeding are severely exaggerated among general population. yes, the possibility of recessive genes ending up paired increases, but there's nothing intrinsically bad about recessive ...


15

Words have Power For much of European History during the Middle Ages, churches were seen as sanctuaries with varying degrees of effective protection. That is to say, the willingness of someone to come into a church and either drag out or kill someone hiding in there was directly related to the sense of peity that the dragger felt and the relative political ...


15

Entrepreneur/industrialist driven race. May work in a part of the universe easily accessible to expansion. Multiple births over time: the leaders first - to be educated the workers in the next ones. Can be tuned in sync with the degree of intelligence required by running the business (the very late ones may even produce better specialized leaders, with ...


15

Voting: Rather mercenary, but if it's one being one vote, then having more kids and indoctrinating them into "your side" (whatever that might mean) would be a winning strategy. "Vote breeder" could even be a job. (And if this gets to be too unpopular, it could be banned, which means it becomes a black market job that is allowed and encouraged by those who ...


14

Pheromones (possibly) There have been studies (this is one) where blind tests have been used to determine how attractive a person will find the odour of their near relatives compared to strangers. The data suggests that in general a person will find the odour of a near relative less attractive, thus reducing the chance of accidental incest. Note that this ...


12

1 billion in 5 years, so, in average are 200 million/year. I wanted a graph showing the total of deaths, crude, but only source I found was World Bank to Death rate (1 to 1000). Crossing this data with total of population you will reach in 52 to 56 million deaths/year, 28% to your goal. Now let's take a new fact - not related to my own sci fi, and no idea ...


11

Because that's where their heirs are. The Library is a well-respected place of learning, with an attached university/conservatory. All of the local rulers have sent their heirs there to study, and to establish diplomatic relations with each other. Attacking the Library then leads to retaliation from all the other Kingdoms and Empires. Even withdrawing ...


10

OK. So. Here's the assumptions I'm making with this answer: Humanity has figured out how to transfer their minds into robot minds These (base) robot bodies are on par with human bodies, in terms of dexterity, strength, etc. Parts can be replaced and repaired. All of them. If we can upload to one brain, we can transfer that brain to another brain, etc. The ...


10

You listed the reasons. have Human-level intelligence have a gestation period of two years have worse endurance They are larger than humans, but have equal intelligence. Larger creatures generally require more food, so your giants are essentially less efficient than humans in terms of planning/watt. They are worse at reproduction. Not only do they ...


9

Obvious answer: humans have hands. Imagine trying to get a cow to muck out the stables, or make you tea. (Or, if you want to go darker, wield a sword in an army). They just can't do it. But a human corpse that's been reanimated? That said, you're looking at this wrong. They won't breed cattle to use their souls to reanimate corpses rather than just using ...


9

The Great Famine of 1315-17 killed approximately that proportion of the population: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Famine_of_1315%E2%80%931317 Historians debate the toll, but it is estimated that 10–25% of the population of many cities and towns died. Though the Black Death (1347–1351) would kill more people, it often swept through an area in a ...


9

Probably not. You can always rename each role, but a Ship will always have that role represented by someone on board. Its not too different to countries. A Country still has a Captain (often called Supreme Overlord, or more mundanely Prime Minister, President, etc...). Beneath the captain are a range of officers (ministers, advisors, branches of ...


9

With a nod to Cordwainer Smith and the concept of a go-captain, one could have different officers for different phases of a voyage. One captain would be in charge of maneuverings close to land and in ports. A different captain would lead during ocean crossings. There might be a separate storm captain, who would take charge depending on weather conditions. ...


9

Collectivism. You don't form nuclear families if you spout a thousand young. These folks have an instinct to breed, and a strong solidarity towards society, but they don't specifically have a drive to nurture their own brood. You breed, you spawn, and they're not your kids, they're society's kids, perhaps living together in something a K-style species ...


7

@Separatrix's answer is correct: if the library is in the way during a conquest, it'll just be collateral damage, no avoiding it. However, their solution is to move the library into the mountains or deep into the desert. However, there is a way of keeping the Library in Alexandria but "out of the way", though at the cost of geographic precision. For that, ...


6

The entire city burned to the ground, all of it...except the Great Library. It stood in pristine condition, the only uncharreted building in miles. It was a miracle, and it was obvious the the library and its vast knowledge were touched by the Gods. The legend spread fast, and soon in every town and city the legend is heard "The gods protect Alexandria", and ...


6

80 million + died in World War 2, so a billion is realistic. Anything on that scale would soon become global conflict. There would be no worldwide attempt beyond lipservice to resolve the problem for all humanity. Politicians would have to find pretexts for war just to safeguard themselves. We put up with a lot from governments (more some places than others)...


6

Breeding up with the Joneses Imagine you could pick the most attractive features for your baby. Or rather, that you can produce babies until one pops out with the right combo of attractive features, then mate that one with another attractive one and make them produce a K-brood for you. This results in a strong, smart, attractive baby that you can easily ...


5

Establishing the working, non-specialist class: Funding cuts in public schools reduce the quality of free, public education. Gang activity compounds the problem. Pretty soon there are more school resource officers than teachers. Children being children, pretty soon anyone at a public school has an arrest record in addition to poor academic credentials. In ...


5

Multiplicity If you can upload yourself into one robot body, why not 1000? Travel the world...simultaneously! Of course, you need to buy all the bodies, but if each one can earn money on its own, then what's to stop your personal collective from growing without bound, until you can populate an entire new planet...all by yourself? Humanity At first, ...


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