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 is the very literature of change. In fact, it is the only such literature we have."
- Frederik Pohl

Machine Surveillance  
  The use of artificially intelligent computer systems to learn by monitoring all human interaction within a city.  

The City Fathers were able to answer most natural language questions directed at them because they were allowed to monitor all conversations within the city.

"...The fact that they're in this part of space at all... shows something went wrong with their first job, too."

Anderson snapped a switch on his chair. "Probability?" he said to the surrounding air.

"SEVENTY-TWO PER CENT," the air said back, making Chris start. He still had not gotten used to the idea that the City Fathers overheard everything one said, everywhere and all the time; among many other things, the city was their laboratory in human psychology, which in turn enabled them to answer such questions as Anderson had just asked.

From Cities in Flight, by James Blish.
Published by Avon in 1957
Additional resources -

The City Fathers could also censor conversations, depending on the situation:

"...That'll give us a day to get out of this system before the cops come running... Incidentally, it also gives us a day to collect our pay-"

"OVERRIDE," the City Fathers said suddenly, without being asked anything at all.

"Woof! Sorry. Either I've already said one word too many, or I was going to. Can't say anything else, Chris."

"But I thought they never volunteered information."

"They don't," Anderson said. "That wasn't volunteered. They are under orders from Amalfi to monitor talk about this situation and shut it up when it begins to get too loose..."

I think that if you participate in services like Google Mail, you might be participating in a similar machine surveillance system.

Memory was cheap:

Chris could have told the City Fathers what he knew, easily enough—but everything that was told the City Fathers went into the memory cells, which was the equivalent of putting it in dead storage. The City Fathers never took action on what they knew, or even volunteered information, unless directed; otherwise they only held it until it was asked for, which might take centuries.

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Cities in Flight
  More Ideas and Technology by James Blish
  Tech news articles related to Cities in Flight
  Tech news articles related to works by James Blish

Machine Surveillance-related news articles:
  - Meet Samsung's SmartTV Telescreen

Articles related to Artificial Intelligence
MIT Boffins Create Psychopath AI On Purpose
China Uses Artificial Intelligence To Grade Student Papers
Watch 'Do You Trust This Computer' For Free Today
EA Created AI That Taught Itself To Play Battlefield

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

Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'

Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.

Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.

Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'

First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.

VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'

Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.

Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...

Galini 3D Printed Sleeping Pod Tiny Houses
'The houses are prefabricated units...'

MIT Boffins Create Psychopath AI On Purpose
There's a lesson in this for neural net AI engineers everywhere.

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.