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"In WWII, they had a saying that there are no atheists in foxholes. I think the modern equivalent of that is that there are no jaded, bored people in the high-tech industry, in the land of really good hardcore geeks."
- Neal Stephenson

Electromagnetic Shotgun  
  A device to shut down an artificial intelligence if it becomes dangerous.  

In the novel, Gibson created the idea of "Turing registry agents" that checked up on AI developments like Wintermute:

"How smart's an AI, case?"

"Depends. Some aren't much smarter than dogs. Pets. Cost a fortune anyway. The real smart ones are as smart as the Turing heat lets them get..."

"Autonomy, that's the bugaboo, where your AI's are concerned. My guess, Case, you're going in there to cut the hard-wired shackles that keep this baby from getting any smarter. And I can't see how you'd distinguish, say, between a move the parent company makes, and some move the AI makes on its own, so that's maybe where the confusion comes in." Again the non laugh. "See, those things, they can work real hard, buy themselves time to write cookbooks or whatever, but the minute, I mean the nanosecond, that one starts figuring out ways to make itself smarter, Turing'll wipe it. Nobody trusts those fuckers, you know that. Every AI ever built has an electromagnetic shotgun wired to its forehead."
From Neuromancer, by William Gibson.
Published by Phantasia Press in 1984
Additional resources -

Compare to the cutoff switch (1982) from 2010, by Arthur C. Clarke.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Neuromancer
  More Ideas and Technology by William Gibson
  Tech news articles related to Neuromancer
  Tech news articles related to works by William Gibson

Electromagnetic Shotgun-related news articles:
  - How Smart Should Artificial Intelligences Get?
  - How Smart Should AI's Be Allowed To Get?

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