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"Science fiction operates a little bit like science itself, in principle. You've got thousands of people exploring ideas, putting forth their own hypotheses. Most of them are dead wrong; a few stand the test of time; everything looks kind of quaint in hind"
- Peter Watts

Control Screen  
  An alien display device.  

Earthman Jan Rodricks had stowed away on one of the Overlord's space ships, hoping to see their world. Sent back to Earth, he watched as the aliens piloted the great spacecraft.

He stood behind the three pilots (why, he wondered, did they need so many?) watching the patterns come and go on the great screen that dominated the control room. The colors and shapes it showed were meaningless to him: he assumed that they were conveying information which in a vessel designed for men would have been displayed on banks of meters. But sometimes the screen showed the surrounding star fields, and soon, he hoped, it would be showing Earth.
From Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke.
Published by Not Known in 1953
Additional resources -

Later in the novel, Rodricks is dictating his description of an event to Karellen the Overlord:

"Is this how it talks to you, Karellen, in colors and shapes like these? I remember the control screens on your ship and the patterns that went across them, speaking to you in some visual language which your eyes could read..."

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Childhood's End
  More Ideas and Technology by Arthur C. Clarke
  Tech news articles related to Childhood's End
  Tech news articles related to works by Arthur C. Clarke

Control Screen-related news articles:
  - Multi-Touch Interaction Overlord Control Screen

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