The question of the week (a day late) is:
Discussion after the jump.
After last week's triumph of hypertech, I wanted to get more specific. So if I were given the power to make one comic book technology a reality, what would I choose?
- Powered Armor, Iron-Man style: The last thing we need is better weapons of mass destruction. Pass.
- Teleportation chambers This would be pretty amazing and transformative. Imagine no planes in the air, no need for trains crossing the country, no need for oil tankers crossing fragile seas. Plus the possibility of cloning yourself during a trip gone awry or accidental alternate-dimension-hopping: try THAT in a Volvo!
- Star-Trek style replicators: As I understand it, these things work by taking any sort of matter and transforming it into food. You'd end world hunger, the competition for food resources, the whole nine yards. Very compelling technology.
- Dimensional portals: This takes more work than some of the others, but has real possibilities. An infinite frontier, the possibility of acquiring new and different technology, the chance to travel to a dimension where you're King of the World, are all pretty interesting.
- FTL travel: Similar to Dimensional Portals, but you still have to get out into space and find someplace interesting to go to. But it does get us out of that whole "One big asteroid and we're screwed" scenario.
- Commonplace super-human mutations: We could have the Marvel Universe right here!!
- Self-aware computers/AIs : On the one hand, Terminator. On the other hand, Number Five is Alive!! Of course I am pretty sure Number Five would get scragged in a heartbeat by a ruthless Arnold, so I'll pass.
Given all that, I'd probably choose replicators. It's safe, universally applicable, and could really change the entire basis of competition and conflict between societies. Which would you go for?
I chose the Iron Man armor personally because I imagine it being only me having it and I just can’t pass up the chance to be Iron Man.
Screw that softie utilitarian “end world hunger” blah blah blah crap. Strap on that Iron Man armor so’s I can launch some air-to-air missles from my back. Boo-yah!
Power armor – fun but more dangerous than it’s worth. Some of the spin-off technology could be good.
My son loves the idea of telepotation, but the accidents from that just seem too dangerous to me. Then there is the ethical/theological debates it raises. Pass.
Replicators are the way to go. Much of the shipping could be eliminated if you could replicate items from one side of the world to the other.
Dimensional Portals? Waaaay too many issues here.
FTL travel strikes me as interesting but lacking in utility. We could get places quickly, but only scientists and tourists would have much use for it. Finding new worlds to settle would be very unlikely and still require hugh amounts of time.
Super-humans? Again, high on the excitement factor AND the danger.
AI – What is the point of this? It strikes me as something that sounds cool but with little real use. That is part of why that fad died out in computer science.
As doughty as is sounds, I would rather have safe, useful replicators over any of the others.
Are the AI systems going to be the traditional instant-aware, ‘one-bolt-of-lightning-and-villianous-cackle’ type? If so, I’ll pass, but…
If they’re going to be the kind from a short story I read once, where the dev team for an AI project was trying to raise them, like children, then it might be worth looking at.
I’d say pass on the dimensional travel as well; imagine how many diseases would just love a chance to pop over into our dimensional coords.
Any limiting factors on that replication setup? I recall one Star Trek novel where a picnic-blanket-like replicator was used to create a much larger one, which was then used to create numerous weapons. I’d rather not have to deal with that unless I’m the only one who has it – and I’m not sure I’d trust myself to react fairly if I were.
Exactly what kind of FTL are we talking about here? Weber-Honorverse grav waves, Star Trek Warp, etc? It does make a difference.
I think I’ll pass on teleportation, as well. I have no desire to be instantly cross-bred with an insect.
I think, with the right limiting factors, I’d go with AI or Replicators – without them, I’ll pass.
I went with replicators so we could eliminate malnutrition and famine.
No, guys, this is World-Wide technology we’re talking about, so, no, you wouldn’t be the only ones to have the powered armor!
Read Harry Harison’s “One Step from Earth” for some of the side problems with Teleportation…
How easy is it for a criminal to cross state lines to evade capture, when international (maybe even interstellar) boundaaries are only one step away?
And, let’s say you have a big fire…
How many gawkers are you going to get showing up, if *everybody* can get there in a matter of seconds?
Oh, and Jeff?
Next Gen Replicator technology was the ability to insert *energy*, and get *anything* (except living matter) out of it…
Food, tools, weapons, surgical instruments…
The limitation would be on what software (recipies, patents, et cetera) you could afford!
Oh, and you forgot two popular ones from last time…
How about Immortality Serums/Regeneration treatments, and Autodocs?
I am honestly surprised so many people choose superhuman mutations. That’s the worst one of the bunch, since it’s random and utterly lacks quality control. Thuggish bastards and idiots who try their hand at heroism could well rule the day. With most others, there will be quality control – battle suits and replicators could never be accessible to everyone because even with scientifically impossible technology becoming available, the components would still be sure to cost far much more than a mere commoner could afford. Thusly, battlesuits were only an option for the armies and possibly the wealthier engineer. replicators too could and would be kept out of the hands of the common man for safety reasons. Teleportation chambers would also be used only for public, military and corporate transport.