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fictional computing in the 20th century

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The Pathetic Fallacy


Mutual Broadcasting System, Quiet, Please. Aired 1948-02-02 by Wyllis Cooper

Topics: super computer, hardware
Themes: man vs machine, love
Motifs: computer in love

super computer
You see, after all, it's merely a differential integrator. Everybody knows what a differential integrator is, of course. But this one is the most complicated and versatile one that's ever been built.

hardware
What you see here is only the outer shell of the thing. You see, all the walls of this room are covered with banks of jacks and relays and these electronic glow tubes. And up there are sequence analyzers with multiple [dimewave?] selectors. These are the precepts all along here and the master control is at the desk there in the center. Ah, but that's not all. Ah, not by a long shot. The actual machine is behind those walls. Three rooms full of tubes and motors and stroboscopes and several thousand miles of wiring and, uh, some devices that are not public property yet.
The machine took six years to build. And a total of eighty-one expert technicians were employed continuously during that time. So, you can understand that any one man knows very little of the actual construction of this, er, giant mechanical brain.

man vs machine
Oh, that's just what it is. A mechanical electronic brain capable of performing mathematical tasks far beyond the comprehension of the human brain.

computer in love
ALICE KING: Hold it, Quinn. Look, Machine, you are in love with Quinn, aren't you? Answer me!
SOUND: (The machine HUMS.)
MACHINE: (quiet, reluctant) Pi - R squared.
ALICE KING: I knew it! I KNEW IT!


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