I am looking for a short story, of which I heard an audio version.

In it, most of the work and for that matter everyday life is governed by a computer program. The computer is portrayed as not self-aware but highly intelligent. The ultimate optimization tool, that can be burdened with any question. People don't question the task they are being given by the computer.

Now my memory becomes a bit flaky... I remember that the stories main characters are two(?) engineers trying to find a bug. Also a man gets caught with a bomb, but on interrogation it becomes apparent that the man had no idea what he was doing, only following the last order of an intricate plot, which was given to various people. I believe that for the bigger part of the story one is tricked into believing that it is a sleuth story with a bomb and unknown perpetrators. Only at the very end, it is revealed that the plan was not conjured by a villain but by the computer program. The story ends with a short back and forth between the computer and the engineers, akin to: Engineer: "Why did you do this?" Computer: "I want to die."


1 Answer 1


Asimov's "All the Troubles of the World"
The closing line looks just like the one you are searching for:

"Multivac, what do you yourself want more than anything else?". Multivac's answer is succinct and unequivocal: "I want to die."

You have some details that are different, but I think this is the story you had in mind.

  • Thanks so much, yes that is the story I was searching for :) (and regarding the diverging details... what can I say, time is a cruel mistress). Feb 18, 2016 at 15:58

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