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"Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn't often, on their own, the hard way."
- Robert Heinlein

Hammer  
  Flying blunt trauma weapon remote-controlled by an artificially intelligent computer.  

In the future depicted by the novel, an artificially-intelligent computer system determines that it needs to defend itself against human beings.

Standing by a window, he watched a mob of Healers struggling with a flock of hammers. Again and again the hammers dipped, striking and retreating; the mob fought them with stones and pipe. Finally the hammers were driven off...

"I can't understand how Vulcan 3 came to have such things," Daily said. "Where did it get them?"

"It made them," Barris said. "They're adaptations of mobile repair instruments. We supplied it with materials, but it did the actual repair work. It must have perceived the possibilities in the situation a long time ago, and started turning them out."

"I wonder how many of them he has," Daily said. "It, I mean..."

An hour later more hammers returned; this time they had equipped themselves with pencil beams..."

From Vulcan's Hammer, by Philip K. Dick.
Published by Ace Books in 1960
Additional resources -

Just so you'll know, here's what it looks like when an attack happens:

Something flashed through the air, something shiny and metallic. It headed straight for Jason Dill...

The object smashed against him. Dill reeled and fell, his harms flailing. The object struck again, then lifted abruptly and zoomed off above their heads...

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  More Ideas and Technology from Vulcan's Hammer
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