New answers tagged

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Mutual Agreement Lots of answers here, but one I haven't seen mentioned yet is the notion of two (or more) groups deciding to mutually avoid technological and cultural exchange. This doesn't have to be some externally enforced directive. It is perfectly reasonable that two societies, especially if they have massively different cultures, might want to limit ...


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Natural EMP Most modern technology - transportation, communication, computers, factories, etc. - is based on electricity. Electric components, unless well shielded, are subject to destruction by an EMP - electromagnetic pulse. While EMPs are known to be caused by solar storms and nuclear explosions, there is some sort of anomaly in your planet which ...


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Most artificial barriers to progress are overcome sooner or later. State secrets leak, trade secrets are sold, new technologies are interesting. The primary channel of exchange between nations has always been trade. This is how Marco Polo went to China. That is how Arab nations knew of northern European tribes in the 10th century. What stops trade are ...


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Lack of conflict For whatever reason, the advanced 2040 group doesn't feel the need to take anything from the 17-1800s groups. Not their land, not their resources, not their people. The more primitive groups don't feel the need to catch up (readily available resources make it unnecessary, no conflict means no need for better weapons/defenses). Why? ...


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Choice The world advanced to the point that some people/countries decided for themselves to live in the 'better times' where that is whatever they defined. Want to live in technological wonder? Tomorrowland. Back in the 1800's? Frontierland. That gives you more possibilities for stories, up to and including when the people who don't know (their own history) ...


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It is natural for the world to have continents with different levels of technology, for continents to have countries with different levels of technology, and for countries to have regions with different levels of technology, and for regions to have sub regions with different levels of technology. the world has been that way for thousands of years. At the ...


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The world today (and 200 years ago, and 2000 years ago) had extremely un-equal progress between various nations/tribes and continents. The excellent book "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies" by Diamond is basically an exploration of how inequality developed due to the worldbuilding setting of the real Planet Earth. To hyper-summarize, ...


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Imbalance in Technical Education High technology can only be maintained if the people maintaining it have an adequate education level in STEM. The less-technical parts of The Empire can barely cope with making crude knockoffs of the tech made in the high-tech centers. The people in the low-tech areas who have enough money can buy technical items from the ...


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Non-interference in local affairs allows member states of the Empire to pursue poor economic policies that lead to stagnation. You wrote: Diggoran itself has unequalized technological progress meaning that some countries are in the 2040s while others are in the 1980s and even 1800's to 1700s. "Technological progress gaps" spanning 60 years are not that ...


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As I noted in a comment, I fear you may have one good idea too many and need to drop one to have a successful story. That said... Let’s posit that the technological differential — imposed by the originally strong Empire — is what caused the break up. In particular, the technological specialization imposed by the Empire created/strengthened the nations, ...


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The Prime Directive Perhaps The Empire has something akin to Star Trek's Prime Directive, and prohibits one nation from interfering with the development of others. Something like this would almost have to be enforced, because otherwise those high tech nations would be spreading out in search of resources, trade opportunities, or simply out of curiosity, ...


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A couple ideas. When powerful nations join unions like that they do so for their own benefit and will generally include clauses that are meant to keep their advantages. So perhaps the the price of joining this union for the less advanced nations was that they would not progress enough to challenge the advanced nations. Not quite sure what setting this ...


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I'm going to throw out two wild ideas. They may not fit your world. Localized tech boom. One or more of your nations could have come in contact with something that allowed their technology to advance rapidly. This could be an alien civilization, ancient technological writings from a previous civilization, etc. This allowed rapid advancement some nations....


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Sufficiently Advanced The Technological society spent a very long time being insular before striding onto the world scene. They've had industrial revolutions, digital revolutions and are now well into the nano-tech scale technologies we have today and more! They are simply so far ahead that other societies have no chance whatsoever of catching up. If you ...


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Commerce In fact, a nation sitting in commerce routes are know to have unequaled level of civilization development. With great commerce then is possible do private (and public) mecenas to finance artistic and technological innovations. To make the nation somewhat isolated, natural barriers or small territories "nation city" will do. In your case, a ...


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Trade secrets. The advanced nation has laws against sharing advanced technology, and its inhabitants are generally convinced that all the other nations are inhabited by lazy, stupid people who couldn't possibly build steam engines. If the advanced nation has some kind of feudal guild system, having the guilds keep trade secrets is a fairly natural scenario. ...


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Some people don't get it. Your backwards folks are put off by electronics - things with working parts too small to see, things where you cannot poke your head in and see what is happening. It just does not sit well with them. These folks are considered slow minded by the technologically advanced people and maybe they are. Maybe they call themselves ...


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There's some sort of magic at work. This isn't tagged science-based or anything like it, so blaming unequal tech development on magic is within the scope of the question. As for how it does so, there's a number of possibilities. Perhaps some of the societies might utilize magic to replace or augment technology, like the Iron Kingdoms of the tabletop ...


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Environment The environment in the developed nations have historically been hostile, while the less developed nations have had preferable climate and land. The hostile environment have pushed for technological advances in order to mitigate the dangers of the environment, as well as being needed for comfortable living. If there have been little fertile land ...


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A modern example of very unequal technological development is the Amish people in North America. They belong to the religious order similar to Mennonites and disdain modern technology, choosing to live without electricity or engines. This culture, which numbers about 342,000 people distributed across the US and Canada, with the largest group of almost 80,000 ...


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Religion would factor in heavily, Take the Amish for example their technological development came to a complete stop due to them choosing not to progress because of their faith. And look at how technology was stunted in times/areas where religion became more important then science. But even without religion culture can have a heavy influence on the ...


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You don't need to explain it, because that's already happened in Europe not too long ago. While the european nations were running toward WW2, building the Stukas, the V2 and all similar feats, in the south of the continent there were regions still living in conditions similar to stone age: a single room carved in the rock, where parents and 10 kids lived ...


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Get rid of the rubber trees. Unless they are ludicrously simple, electrical components need insulating materials. Historically, this was rubber, as other materials available (e.g. glass) would be rigid, rather than flexible. I'm struggling to think of a natural material that could replace it.


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Why would anyone ever leave the comforts of home? After all, Columbus was a Dope who should have never risked his crew's lives. Don't look forward, look backwards. Why would people settle less-civilized areas like 40,000 BCE Iran, 10,000 BCE Alaska, 10,000 BCE Ireland, 1650 Virginia, 1850 Australia/Wisconsin, etc.? Escape overcrowding -- better life for ...


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Basically, for devices identifiable as electronics to be possible in a similar manner as the technology's progression on Earth, you need the following to be common on the planet: A ferromagnetic metal (preferably iron, nickel or cobalt if you must) At least one Group 11 transition metal (copper, silver, gold) At least one post-transition metal (tin, zinc, ...


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Ever heard of the Flintstones? If you haven't, ask your parents. The show's humans largely used animals as replacement for technology. Image source: http://www.saturdaymorningsforever.com/2014/11/the-history-of-flintstones.html In that cartoon animals were fully sentient and willingly sold their services to humans. Sure, they were poorly paid, and the ...


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You might consider not only changing the planet they develop on, but the actual universe. If you don't want your humans to be able to develop electronics, consider removing the electromagnetic force. It will definitely affect a lot more than just whether or not your people can use electronics, although I'm not sure what the side effects would be. The other ...


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There are places on earth where metals and even rocks are hard to reach The plot of The Gods Must Be Crazy (great flick, IMHO) was based on the claim that in the Kalahari desert, the soil is so soft and free of rocks that a glass Coke bottle was the hardest object that a certain bushman had ever seen. I don't know if that's really true of that particular ...


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No metal ores, neither common metals nor rare metals. Without metals whole civilization progress would be much slower, and some technologies would almost certainly didn't exist, electronics would be main candidate to this.


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Electromagnetic pulses would be the first to come to mind, those can be caused by heavy lightning, objects passing through the plants atmosphere or solar flares. If they are powerful/frequent enough they could disrupt the development process so much that the alternatives become more attractive with this becoming an obsolete industry. Those would not be ...


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This is a little bit of an XY problem. The immediate physical environment matters a lot, but there are in my opinion too many other things at play to be able to focus just on the layout of the island :o) The biggest drivers for development of science, per se, were: Terrain, as mentioned in several other answers and comments, certainly appears to have been ...


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Creating shortages is the key. People with good hunting grounds don't switch to agriculture. People with steady rainfall don't invent irrigation. People with lots of tin and copper don't invent and improve iron. People with battalions of slaves don't invent the steam engine. People with tons of trees don't invent adobe. People with massive peasant armies don'...


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Besides the excellent points about diversity and challenges in other answers, let's not forget about a very important challenge: have a geogoraphy and/or location which guarantees that there is a lot of variation between fertile and infertile time periods. To be able to accumulate, preserve, store, and protect food to last during the less fertile period, ...


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Put an Old Faithful type geyser or thermal vent that will erupt at consistent intervals forever. This will give them the notion of repetitive, mechanical action, as well as a preexisting steam engine to clone


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must make conditions on that island such that a human population will achieve a fully industrial society, similar to Victorian Britain, in as little time as possible. Let's say within 8640 years. The initial stock is a clan of a thousand hunter-gatherers of sufficient genetic diversity, and they cannot ever travel between islands. In the course of actual ...


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Russian Sci-Fi strikes again! There is a short story from 1990 about two guys from an advanced civilisation that want Micronesia to be able to fend off European expansion during the Age of Exploration. They artificially divide the nation in two, waging a perpetual (but somewhat ethical and controlled) war against each other – no killings of children, no ...


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Parrots, thousands of them, parroting preloaded knowledge. No writing system needed. They'll be gone in a century or so, but being available for even a decade will be enough to jump-start things.


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They need a good motive. The industrial revolution was a disaster for most people in terms of longevity, quality of life and workers rights. If you already have enough food and shelter, you need a very strong motivation— eg a caste of greedy capitalists - to force the people to give up their rural idyll. Most cultures did not go down this route, even after ...


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I thought I would share my own hypothetical situation, to expand on the Andes idea a bit more - if only to bring to attention how unusual their technological development has been. The Andes You see, South America is the closest real-life analogue for this hypothetical student project with an 8 millennium deadline. It was settled at between 15 and 11 ...


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It has been suggested that one thing that held back Rome from having an industrial revolution was the presence of large scale slavery. The ancient Greeks had the basics of the steam engine, and the Romans eventually figured out the value of standardization for their military supply lines, in the latter parts of the imperial era. Despite reductions in the ...


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Diversity and change is the key For the development of civilization, there are a few key requirements: Challenges to be solved; Conditions for population growth; Multiple cultural centers to foment different ideas. We can create some conditions that ideally suit a civilization at a certain level of development. But once it reaches that level, it would ...


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I personally think an Ukraine amount of land is too little because of the reasons discussed in the comments (gimme at least a continent!). That said, here's my best try: If the question allows it, I would break up the single island into 5 Ireland-sized islands with a few smaller island chains between, and have them on a north-south axis so that they don't ...


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Ultimately the industrialization in our world occurred because of trust, collaboration, economic freedoms, and resource availability Although it may be theoretically possible for societies without one or more of these traits to get to a place of industrialization, it is so extremely difficult and unlikely that I wouldn't count on it. What we see with ...


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thumbs up to a4android's answer. the key issue is whether you want them to ape behaviour (doesnt seem like your objective) or develop instinctively and intrinsically but faster. aped / trained behaviour takes one childhood and not just with humans, bomb sniffing dogs are trained not born despite it being a valued skill for 50+ years. There would not be ...


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Based on the initial conditions identified in your question - but also in the comments - the 50 figure is the most realistic. Your population will not be able to resume the practice of agriculture or animal husbandry, if they are limited to "the contents of their pockets". This leaves behind the entire basis for agriculture. Without seeds, they have no ...


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It's a toss-up. Many well-supported and well-funded European colonies of this sort or era in the Americas failed in a matter of years due to diseases, malnutrition, in-fighting etc. Without the optopn to go home, this lot might do better. But if crops fail and divisions open so they fail to help each other through bad times, their numbers may well fall off ...


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This is an old thread, but one that still comes up when you search for steampunk. So, for anyone reading this in 2020 or beyond... I think the only two realistic explanations for a 21st century in which steampunk level tech exists are: A huge global disaster that drastically reduces the earth's population (along with much of the research and/or ...


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This is an old thread, but one that still comes up when you search for steampunk. So, for anyone reading this in 2020 or beyond... I think the only two realistic explanations for a world in which steampunk level tech might exist have nothing to do with inventions themselves: A huge global disaster that drastically reduces the earth's population (along ...


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At the very least, you need CHNOPS -- Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorus, and Sulfur in order to have organic life as we know it. While Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen are found in nearly every area of organic chemistry, Phosphorus and Sulfur are far more highly concentrated in living creatures than in the environment. It is hypothesized ...


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With Hydrogen, Carbon, Nitrogen, and Oxygen? You are missing the metals, which are at the core of any technological advancement that we have had as a species. Specifically Iron and Copper have been instrumental in the progress we have made. Similarly, you are also missing elements such as silicon, which forms the major component of landmass as we know it. ...


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