12

This almost certainly an Analog story from the Nineties - the author wrote at least two or three stories examining the effect of the 'ultra volant' computer on society - it was a tiny device about the size of a modern iPod with a lanyard that looped around your neck - this was also an antenna that allowed the computer to access your brain. At least one model of this device is the 'aardvark cerebi', a pun on the Cerebus The Aardvark series.

The particular story I'm looking for involves a group of educators that are discussing student use of these machines, with much the same arguements that were used against student use of calculators once they'd dropped in price to the point they were virtually free. Our protagonist suggests that they all wear the devices for a week to see how things go.

As the wearer interacts with the world, the computer 'adds' things - if you look at a math problem, you will almost instantly solve it.

At one point he talks to a woman who was illiterate until she put on the computer. Suddenly, she can read as the computer instantly translates for her. She is so delighted, she exclaims 'I can read!'

Later on, he goes home and notices that the Chinese language plaque on the wall does, in fact, say 'welcome friends' but there are also many more meanings to the phrase that he now instantly understands.

Then at the climax the protag and his friends decide to listen to some music since our hero is a big music aficionado and has a huge collection. Turning on a bit of classic music, for the first time he truly understands how all the notes and themes relate to one another and he appreciates music on a vastly deeper level than he used to. He's crying and re-iterates the woman's words from earlier 'I can read!'

  • Welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy! Take a look at this guide to help jog your memory and edit any more details. Specifically things like when you read it, or where? Also, take a look at our tour to get a better understanding of our site and earn your first badge! – Edlothiad Mar 2 '17 at 20:40
  • Can't help you identify the story... but if someone does, I'd like to read it! – Jeff Zeitlin Mar 2 '17 at 20:50
  • 1
    Analog Science Fiction/science Fact, Volume 106 1986 "If the pocket brain was accepted, students would be buying — probably already were buying — Pomegranates and Aardvark Cerebi. They looked at each other. "It's a stunt," said Carol Stinnet. "I don't care what you say, John," said Professor..." Found on Google Books Advanced search – Frock Mar 3 '17 at 0:46
9

This could be the Pocket Brain series by Rob Chilson.

  • Brain in a Pocket (1986)

    If the pocket brain was accepted, students would be buying — probably already were buying — Pomegranates and Aardvark Cerebi. They looked at each other. "It's a stunt," said Carol Stinnet. "I don't care what you say, John," said Professor...

  • The Bureaucratic Brain (1987)

  • Brain Jag (1987)

  • Excellent!! Thank you!! – Wayne Ligon Mar 3 '17 at 21:43
  • You're very welcome. I'm glad to have helped. – Frock Mar 19 '17 at 10:09

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