Man testifies before senate committee. He has invented super powerful gun that is easily made. Can vaporize tanks and planes. Makes governments obsolete. Turns out he released plans already, committee will be obsolete.


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Frank Herbert's short story "Committee Of The Whole". To quote the TV Tropes entry for Can't Stop the Signal:

A man uses the broadcast of a U.S. Senate hearing to describe a cheap, easily-built laser that could cut the Earth in half like a ripe tomato. He then spends several pages trying to justify distributing information that could allow any madman to destroy the planet. He later admits he had distributed the information far and wide earlier.

As pointed out by DavidW, The April 1965 issue of Galaxy Magazine, containing this story, is available at the Internet Archive.

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    The April 1965 issue of Galaxy Magazine is available at the Internet Archive (link to first page of story).
    – DavidW
    Jun 14, 2021 at 14:36
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    Back when laser were new, exciting, misunderstood and thus ripe for fiction. Kinda like nanotechnology was 10-15 years ago, and networking was 20-25 years ago.
    – RonJohn
    Jun 15, 2021 at 10:16
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    @RonJohn I'd argue that neither of your latter two examples are great examples. The implausible part of War Games was the AI, not the networking; and grey goo – while not that scary if you flamethrower it all early – could still be dangerous within the bounds of real physics. They're both unlike, say, slow pew-pew space lasers that explode planets.
    – wizzwizz4
    Jun 15, 2021 at 11:07
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    @wizzwizz4 War Games? No... more like cyberpunk. And not grey goo either. More like Star Gate replicators.
    – RonJohn
    Jun 15, 2021 at 11:16
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    @wizzwizz4 The problem with grey goo is that "early" can become "too late" really quickly.
    – Shadur
    Jun 15, 2021 at 18:11

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