Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"By the time I can take people out to where Hubble is looking, they won't be human anymore, by a long way."
- Larry Niven

Chirpsithra Supercomputer  
  An alien race thoughtfully provides mankind with blueprints for the most intelligent computer ever made.  

This terrific short story by Larry Niven gives a somewhat less rosy view of the logical future of computing than you'll read in the typical PC magazine.

The chirpsithra are an alien race who have been around, well, practically forever from a human standpoint. They are regulars at the Draco Tavern, a watering hole (pub) built for humans and aliens right here on Earth. They're not easy to talk to, though, and you're never quite sure what they mean.

One slow afternoon I asked a pair of chirpsithra about intelligent computers.

"Oh yes, we built them," one said. "Long ago."

"You gave up? Why?"

One of the salmon-colored aliens made a chittering sound. The other said, "Reason enough. Machines should be proper servants. They should not talk back. Especially they should not presume to instruct their masters. Still, we did not throw away the knowledge we gained from the machines."

From Niven's Laws, by Larry Niven.
Published by Owlswick Press in 1984
Additional resources -

Gifts, like the blueprints for this computer, are especially suspect. This short quote is from a short story worth reading - it is a 1979 short story called The Schumann Computer, found in the collection cited below. The collection features a number of stories set in the Draco Tavern.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 1 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Niven's Laws
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven
  Tech news articles related to Niven's Laws
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven

Chirpsithra Supercomputer-related news articles:
  - Make Money With Artificial Intelligence

Articles related to Artificial Intelligence
Are Craiyon Images Puddinged, ala Philip K. Dick?
Midjourney AI Creates 'Théâtre D'opéra Spatial', Wins Art Fair First Prize
AI Robots Excel At Trash Sorting And Recycling
Dall-E 2 Creates Art To Order

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

New Train Station Offers Minority Report-Style Signs
A whole new world awaits you, John Anderton!

The Far Side Of The Moon, By NASA (2015) And By PAUL (1932)
"We had leisure to make a thorough observation of the hidden side of earth's satellite."

LoadRunner Robot Works Alone, Or In A Group
'They marched in unison, seven of them...'

Sierra Space Inflatable LIFE Habitat Burst Pressure Test
'It was like being inside a balloon...'

Longest Immersed Tunnel Will Connect Denmark and Germany
'... iron tubes... the ends of the tubes were joined to each other...to preserve it from the action of the seawater.'

Alcohol-Sensing Cars - NTSB Catches Up With Philip K. Dick (1963)
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive....'

Solar-Powered Remote-Control Cockroaches!
'A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain.'

SolarBotanic Tree For Solar Energy - Would You Need A Forest, Or Just One?
'The slender stalks of a sunshade-photocell collector...'

Metaverse Hardware - Run And Flail Like A Maniac, Or Lie Quietly?
'Holodeck 4 was waiting to be programmed...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.