I saw this in the mid-to-late 1980s on British TV. It had the feel of a made-for-TV movie and, as I recall, was American (though it could easily have been a Canadian production).

The feel was present-day sci-fi/thriller, kind of in the style of Knight Rider.

All I remember of the plot was that there was an inventor/tycoon who was murdered by the bad guys. Said bad guys were also after his daughter, so she went on the run, armed with his latest invention, which was a briefcase-sized device into which her father had transferred his knowledge. She could ask it questions, and it would spool a VCR tape of recordings of him saying various phrases, and it would stitch them together to produce a response. I don't remember any more plot or any dialogue, except that the laptop would often give the same generic response (something like "answer unknown" or "insufficient data"). Exasperated, eventually the daughter asked "why do you keep saying that?" and it then spooled to her father saying "Because I don't have enough information to answer you!".

The way it dealt with the topic of (sort of) mind uploading, was unusual for the time, which is why that one aspect of it has stuck in my memory.

  • 2
    This sounds very familiar, but I can't place it just yet.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Mar 29, 2021 at 11:51
  • 1
    I remember this program, but unfortunately not the name. Another scene was that the daughter tried to infiltrate the bad guys by playing a card game at a casino with them. The father/Ai forbade her from trying since the game was high stakes, the bad guy was an expert and she did not even know the rules. She did it anyway and played very badly by throwing away a winning hand. That she was so careless with money impressed the bad guy though and she managed to get close to him. Mar 29, 2021 at 13:00
  • 1
    The most common answer the Ai gave was also that it leaned forward toward the watcher and said "insufficient information" Mar 29, 2021 at 13:01
  • 2
    Well I'm very glad others can corroborate that it existed, at least! I tried searching TV Tropes for any related tropes (brain in a jar etc) but came up empty. n00dles, you're right that my description makes it sound like the excellent Asimov story, but the tone of the film couldn't be more different! Bjorn, I'd be lying if I said that I recognised your description of the casino scene, but your "insufficient information" comment suggests that we're definitely thinking of the same show. Mar 29, 2021 at 14:55
  • 3
    Hi, user 8485927 here. I wasn't certain enough to post this as an answer, as I only had a very vague memory (also I was coming to the end of my lunch hour) Neither IMDB or Wikipedia mentioned the "memory disks", which would've confirmed I had the correct film. Wanted to post something to stake my claim as it were, then do more research after work but @FuzzyBoots beat me to it. Still, glad to have helped. Apr 1, 2021 at 20:15

1 Answer 1


As per user8485927's comment, this seems to be 1987's Grand Larceny.

Freddy Grand, a woman estranged from her father for 18 years, travels to his estate on the French Riviera after learning of his death. There she carries out his final wishes and begins to learn something about his past. She discovers he was a thief who served time in prison, but was approached by an insurance company on his release to employ his talent in helping them to recover some stolen valuables. A reformed man of many years before his death, he wishes Freddy to continue his work.

This review has a bit more context:

Once again, I must admit from the beginning that, as a Louis Jourdan completest, I own this film and have watched it several times. It is charming, touching, and emotional. Louis Jourdan portrays Charles Grand, whose daughter Freddy (Marilu Henner) returns to his estate after his death. How does he appear? In video tapes he made for Freddy in which he schools her in how to expertly take over his job as a master thief who had worked for an insurance company to recover stolen property. What Freddy doesn't realize is that the "job" she is sent on is really a test and that the participants were in on it with Charles Grand. The best and most valuable lesson Freddy learns, however, is about her father. After being away from him for almost two decades, she comes to know him via the the video tapes--and to love him. Is this the best film ever made? No. It is not the worst, either. It is a heartwarming story that reminds us that it really is never too late.

It's not difficult to find online. The video/computer interface gets described and demonstrated about 17 minutes in, the "Dialogue Activated Data Display, or DADD". And indeed, one of the "needs more data" responses is for him to lean into the camera and say, "Insufficient information".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.