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

"Science fiction represents the modern heresy and the cutting edge of speculative imagination as it grapples with Mysterious Time---linear or non-linear time."
- Frank Herbert

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
Robot Teaches Itself To Walk
AI Musicians Reach For The Top Of The Charts
Neural Net Discovers Antibiotic
CIMON Companion Robot For Space Station Astronauts

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 Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Another Soil Bacterium Eats Plastic
'...the plastic was dissolved before his eyes.'

reLive Memorial Come Back As A Tree
'It was time - time to go again. She touched the leaf. She was wanted.'

Engineered Living Building Materials
'... it was the cheapest building material known.'

Draw Circuits With Conductive Ink
'It's rewiring things... squeezing silver toothpaste in a ribbon along the printed circuitry.'

Arkangel: Automatic Visual Censoring
It's whatever the Party says it is, Winston.

NASA Competition To Design A Bucket Drum For Moon Mining
'There was a heap of discarded ore where Grantline had carted and dumped it...'

No Autonomous Trucks? Wait, What?
'...it resembled conventional human-operated transportation vehicles, but with one exception -- there was no driver's cabin.'

As Big As A Biltong - World's Largest 3D Printer
'Huge and old, it squatted in the center of the settlement park... On the concrete platform... lay a heap of originals to be duplicated.'

Drones Used To Smuggle Contraband Into Prison
'And some mega chip inside so it never runs into anything and no cop ever sees it.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.