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Old 2017-12-11, 13:49   #13
Mini-Geek
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"Tim Sorbera"
Aug 2006
San Antonio, TX USA

426710 Posts
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I think billions would die off in the first weeks and months, as people live either in inhospitable places, or otherwise-decent places that just can't support the large populations without shipping food in. (even assuming people aren't terribly ignorant about how to survive off the land...which they probably are)

Guessing would be the quickest way to resolve the situation. If people could make educated guesses, it may only take a few hundred thousand people. If not, it could easily be 50 million guesses to get it right. Given the lack of good communication and general mathematical ignorance of the population, people will likely not make great guesses, on the whole. But if people who are going to die anyway guess for the good of everyone else, our society could easily be restored within a short time (the mass dieoffs could work in our collective favor, if people put aside their aversion to torture).

A trip to the moon could not be faked/guessed at in the same way the prime number could, so it would definitely take some time. But I think that if we go the slow route of rebuilding society, the moon trip would be easier than the prime number. After all, in real life, we made a moon trip decades before discovering a prime of that size (with large amounts of money/effort driving both the Apollo missions and the progress of computing power), and I have a feeling that the knowledge we've gained there is significantly more transferable than the knowledge about our nano-scale computing power.

Last fiddled with by Mini-Geek on 2017-12-11 at 13:54
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