Welcome to post two of three this week of Craft Posts. I am posting three times this week, due to not having a Weekly Wrap-up. You can find all the posts of our sub-series on Magic and Technology here. All the other posts in our ongoing Worldbuilding series can be found under the Worldbuilding link in the toolbar. So let’s dive into it.
In our last post, we talked about how the technology of our worlds, what makes it different. Unique. Today I want to take a look at how technology affects that world. What do I mean by this, look at the introduction of the desktop computer to the marketplace. When computers were first invented they took up whole rooms. During this time there were some famous predictions from top people in that field that were wrong.
I think there is a world market for maybe five computers. -Thomas Watson, president of IBM, 1943
There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home. -Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977
There is some debate over that last quote, some were saying more of a personal computer, not a household computer. These predictions were way wrong. It’s hard to find a home that doesn’t have a computer in it. Or an iPad, smartphone, etc. Computers made things easier. Running complicated mathematics equations, typing up documents, where if you made a mistake you didn’t have to start over, and there is that creation of the Internet. That could be debated if that actually helped. Anyway, life changed from doing things by hand and taking longer to much faster.
How would your world change if the main character in your story found a working computer in his journey? How would it change the world over two hundred years, that’s with the computer surviving and working after the events of the story? Would it make any changes since the people didn’t understand the science behind it? Or did it jump them ahead a hundred years, because they knew enough to be able to figure it out over time?
Let’s look at this another way. Let’s introduce laser guns into our world. Tomorrow, President Trump announces the use of a new weapon for the military, laser rifles, and pistols. These weapons will give us an edge over ever country in the world he says. Which, it would. How would our world change, or a better question how would war change? One over the next few years every country in the world would be looking new kinds of armor that could take the hit and not hurt the wearer. Mirrors would become in high demand. Why not just reflect the light. However, that may not protect the wearer if the guns were plasma and packed a punch.
Before we know it, fighter jets would have lasers or plasma weapons on them. The protective armor on them would change, what else could change? Possibly, having dual laser and projectile weapons. Use bullets to shatter the mirror and then use the lasers. Who knows. All we know is war would be changed completely. So would battery technology, since it would take a large amount of energy to power these weapons. Sensors on the soldiers to gather information from enemy troops and computers to analyze the data in real-time to tell our soldiers direction the beams are coming from how to dodge in time, etc.
Then you have everyday life when those weapons eventually make it over to the public. You think the debate on guns is a hot topic now, wait until some gun nuts start demanding they be able to have laser weapons. (Gun nuts refers to the person who take their right wear weapons in public way too far, such as wearing a rifle on their back at a mall.) Eventually they would find their way into the public’s hands, criminals, terrorists, and just overall people. That would change how society lives and reacts too.
This is why Star Fleet’s main order is not to interfere in the lives of lesser evolved lifeforms, out of fear of taking those people off their own track of discovery. One little thing can cause huge changes. Now how will technology of your world do that? If you are having problems with ideas for your story, maybe adding unique technology that only a few know about that is causing the change. How about, next technology the world knows about, but the villain of the story is using it in a way no one thought about using it.
We live in a world of cause and effect. Technology is the cause and then you need to figure out that effect it will have.
That’s all I got. Come back Friday for the last of the three posts. We maybe moving onto our penultimate sub-series. I know under the Magic and Technology page it says Technology in Fantasy, but I talked about that in my last post. I may still do it if I can come up with a new way to look at it. If not we will be moving onto a sub-series called Daily Life.