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Questions tagged [computers]

For questions specifically involving (usually non-robotic) computers in a science-fiction work. Use the AI tag for artificial intelligence-themed questions.

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6 votes
0 answers
89 views

A SF novel where a character steals an adhesive anti-slip mat from the bathroom of her host's house

This novel I read rather recently, during the early "Covid" years. But I don't remember much. One thing I am positive about is that, in this universe, one can upload the mind of people (...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 15.6k
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

In what TOS episode did Spock use a prop known as an analog flight computer, and why did he need to turn to a "handheld device" in this case?

In the recent Undecided with Matt Ferrell video Why the Future of AI & Computers Will Be Analog after about 05:44, the Original Star Trek TV show's Mr. Spock is shown holding a analog flight ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 8,638
10 votes
1 answer
352 views

Looking for Short Story in Magazine: Researcher living in his Computer simulation but his world is a simulation too

Looking for a short story that ran in a magazine, I thought Popular Science, but I can't seem to find it. Was between probably 2014 and 2020, guessing about 2017. A researcher is porting into a world ...
Charles's user avatar
  • 101
15 votes
3 answers
3k views

1980's short story about people being harmed by reading something on a computer?

I'm trying to remember the name of a story that I think was a short story in a collection. It had to be from the 1980's or maybe earlier, but computers were definitely involved. My mental image of the ...
Djembot's user avatar
  • 153
3 votes
0 answers
86 views

Book about a British boy from a futuristic world

It's a story about: a boy called "Jay" he has a sister who is apparently a hacker and can block the WiFi in specific places and a mom who works for rich people and a dad that works in a ...
BritgurL's user avatar
25 votes
1 answer
4k views

Early 1980s short story (in Asimov's, probably) - Young woman consults with "Eliza" program, and gives it anxiety

In this story, a young woman has a conversation (via typing) with a primitive psychoanalysis program (much like Eliza) which feeds her sentences back to her ("It's all been just so much lately&...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 47.9k
8 votes
1 answer
147 views

Short story describing computer-controlled society ending up with the computer's demise

I am looking for a story, probably from the early 1950's, about a society that was essentially controlled by a computer. Every person had a plastic cube that contained their history. If one wanted to ...
Ernie Lippert's user avatar
17 votes
4 answers
4k views

How could Mr. Fantastic’s computer see distant planets in real-time in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer?

In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Galactus devastated a few planets before he came to Earth. Mr. Fantastic sees the surfaces of these planets in real time. That’s not really how telescopes ...
Max's user avatar
  • 213
29 votes
1 answer
829 views

Short story about a programmer fired by mistake who can't be rehired

I am looking for the name of a short story about a man (a programmer, I think) who has worked for decades at the same job at a computer terminal and comes in after a particularly long weekend to find ...
David42's user avatar
  • 472
7 votes
0 answers
109 views

Short story about boy with computer powers (and a disk slot in his forehead)

I read this in Analog I think - it's probably from the 1980s. I think the story takes place on the moon - or some other location dominated by corridors. The man character is a man dating a woman with ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 47.9k
6 votes
1 answer
202 views

1980s/1990s short story: AI generated movies

Recent news reminds me of a story from the 1980s or 1990s (in Asimovs, I think) about people making a movie with real actors as a novelty (as opposed to a movie with computer-generated "actors&...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 47.9k
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is "Miss Clarke and the Computer" (1973) the first published song written from an intelligent machine's point of view?

I just listened again to Roy Wood's 1973 album (recorded 1969-71) Boulders which at the time reached critical acclaim for among other things its creativity, uniqueness and that: A reviewer for Stereo ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 8,638
13 votes
0 answers
253 views

Short story: Ship's computer corrupted by crew epidemic of madness

This is a short story I read in an anthology - it feels like a 1960s or '70s story. Crew on a spaceship are going crazy due to a communicable disease and being locked in the brig/medical bay, with the ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 47.9k
6 votes
1 answer
271 views

Is there a description of how computer programming works in the ST: Voyager era?

We often see characters working on various "programs". Sometimes this is as complex as the EMH, where it's often mentioned that program stability is difficult. Other times, it's a few taps ...
Michael Stachowsky's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
83 views

YA book - kids detective / mystery book where they travel into the computer / web

I’m searching for a YA book I read back in primary school in Australia in the 1990s (so I’m a bit fuzzy on details). The book itself had a metallic silver cover. I remember it being a computer mystery ...
jermainp's user avatar
22 votes
8 answers
6k views

What is the earliest portrayal of cell phones as we know them now?

When I look at modern computing devices from the perspective of the nerdy kid I used to be, writing BASIC on a Vic 20, I am utterly astonished. I spent a lot of time reading Sci Fi and imagining ...
egeorge's user avatar
  • 477
8 votes
4 answers
827 views

First story of brain augmentation using computer implant?

Polar explorers find failed alien colony This question mentions a story in which a brain implant enhances intelligence and the answer seems to be a story from 1963. I wonder when the first time this ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 15.1k
10 votes
0 answers
96 views

Analog (?) short Story early 1970s widespread computer use in near contemporary society

This question: Even in the 1960s, was the UI/.computer systems of The Enterprise being criticized? Remined me of a story I'd like to identify. I remember a science fiction story probably in Analog ...
M. A. Golding's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
3k views

In-universe, who provided the voice of Starfleet's computer interfaces?

For over 40 years (out-of-universe), actress Majel Barrett provided the default or standard computer voice aboard most Starfleet starships, including the original Enterprise, the Enterprise-D, the ...
Robert Columbia's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
151 views

How does R2-D2 hack into everything? [closed]

How is it that astromech droids like R2-D2 and Chopper can hack into computer systems so easily? They must be doing something very advanced. I know in 1977; cybersecurity was very new (non-existent) ...
Max's user avatar
  • 247
11 votes
1 answer
871 views

Novel about a computer virus that kills people by turning them to powder

This thread reminded me of a novel I saw in the grocery store checkout line in the 1990s - it was a computer virus that made the screen show a symbol that led to people who saw it turning to powder or ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 47.9k
7 votes
1 answer
279 views

'80s novella about a computer running everything, which is destroyed by a punch card

I have been trying to find even a reference to this book and haven't been able to do so. I read it in the early '80s, but it might have been published a bit earlier. It was a rather small mass market ...
Random's user avatar
  • 73
18 votes
1 answer
1k views

Which story involved computers that used humans to avoid being frozen?

I've been trying to recall which story it was that involved machines or computers that kept humans around in order to avoid being frozen. Briefly, in the story, humans and machines were at war, and as ...
Huey's user avatar
  • 1,695
3 votes
0 answers
108 views

What is this robot/computer music album, with titles involving terms such as "memory" and "fragmentation"?

It must have been 2020 or earlier when, on a (now deleted) tumblr blog, I found a link to some sort of music page (bandcamp perhaps?) with I believe a blue-ish colour scheme that had several tracks ...
ecm's user avatar
  • 132
5 votes
4 answers
182 views

First to portray computer-controlled plane or other vehicle?

I read that This Island Earth had a computer-controlled plane, and this sounds extremely sophisticated for 1955, not just because computers were huge things in those days but also because it seems to ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 15.1k
23 votes
1 answer
3k views

1950s short story where the universe is running out of space to store data

The universe is running out of room to store data. They have resorted to using "nudged electrons", IIRC. But the key to the storage of all human knowledge has been lost. Card catalog imagery/...
Yellowdog's user avatar
  • 341
12 votes
1 answer
479 views

YA(?) story involving a society of brain-modded people and an escapee who returns [duplicate]

I read this story about 30 years ago, when I was maybe 8-14 and it was in my local library. It was likely a young adult story or perhaps adult and fairly short. I do not remember the cover or the ...
bob1's user avatar
  • 5,004
28 votes
0 answers
609 views

Aliens secretly use video game to get humans to solve their problems

I recall a story probably 20-30 years ago (pretty sure it was a short story) in which a top gamer hears about a new computer game out that no one can beat. So he gets it and starts playing it. (Pretty ...
NJohnny's user avatar
  • 12.2k
6 votes
1 answer
556 views

Movie about a boy who gets turned invisible by a robot

I remember seeing this on TV in the late '80s, but it's likely older than that. The boy's father must have been a scientist, because they had a supercomputer on some kind of premises (I'm not sure if ...
Trevortni's user avatar
  • 163
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short Story about Teenagers with Computer Chips Implanted in Their Brains

Maybe I’ve just totally imagined this, but I swear I once read a book or a short story about this group of teenagers who had computer chips implanted in their brains. I keep thinking about it and ...
Ren's user avatar
  • 83
8 votes
0 answers
226 views

Short story about a programmer whose job security consists of knowing obscure failure modes of the system [closed]

It's science-y and fiction-y, but I don't know if it's science fiction-y. It is - or was - speculative fiction. In my mind it's comparable to Vernor Vinge's "True Names" but without the ...
elbillaf's user avatar
  • 181
11 votes
0 answers
195 views

Story ID: Wrongfully sentenced by a biased automated judge

I am looking for a short story with the following characteristics: Publishing date and possible matches I don't know when this story was written. I do remember that I read it in a primary school ...
Polish boye's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
295 views

Aliens contact teen girl through computer

Here is a stumper. I would have seen this movie on TV sometime between 1977 and 1980. It was on our local PBS station late night. My brother and I were allowed to stay up and watch Monty Python, and ...
ArlettaS's user avatar
  • 661
10 votes
3 answers
3k views

How many computers has James Kirk defeated?

James Kirk defeated the M5 and Vaal computers. He even defeated the zenith of all computers, V-GER. How many computers has he defeated?
RichS's user avatar
  • 38.7k
0 votes
0 answers
112 views

Picard wants Tea, Earl Grey, Hot! - How does the computer know how hot "hot" is? [duplicate]

On Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Jean-Luc Picard wants his tea "Earl Grey, Hot!" How does the computer know exactly how hot to make it? For instance, I'm drinking my tea at 50-55c ...
SurpriseDog's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
156 views

Story ID: Star-based computers, human thought, climate change, god and religion

I just had a dream and I can't figure out if it's just based on memories of what I've read or seen. Is anyone familiar with a plot similar to the following? So it goes: In a distant future, some ...
pgpb.padilla's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
288 views

Building a house with mouth cement [duplicate]

So I have a series of vague impressions and a couple of details: Pretty sure this was a book, not a short story. I probably read it in the '90s... maybe earlier. I think the basic plot was that there ...
Vaughn Ohlman's user avatar
43 votes
12 answers
8k views

First fictional programming language in sci-fi or fantasy?

I'm looking for the first written fictional programming language. This would exclude where a computer interprets human speech, and where we 'assume' a human is programming as they can be seen making ...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

Are the dot pattern printouts in "I Have No Mouth, and I must Scream" meaningful?

I just read I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison in a collection of short stories called "The Mirror of Infinity". The story is about a group of people who are tortured by a computer ...
Jetpack's user avatar
  • 1,464
24 votes
3 answers
5k views

Tony sent Pepper to get some files off his work computer. Why couldn't he do that himself?

In Iron Man 1, around 1:30:00, Tony sends Pepper into his office to download some files off his work computer. Why couldn't he do that himself? Why couldn't he connect to it remotely over some kind ...
tsilb's user avatar
  • 425
4 votes
1 answer
196 views

Young adult sci-fi novel about a teenager who electrocutes himself while working on a computer. Afterwards he has a "computer brain" [duplicate]

Along with the information in the title, I can provide a few more details. I read this in the early to mid-nineties, and the cover art had a teenage boy who had his hands on his head with a few ...
Pvt Pepperjack's user avatar
50 votes
1 answer
7k views

Old story where computer expert digitally animates The Lord of the Rings

Back in the 1960s there was a story about the head of a corporation in the late 20th or early 21st century who discovered that his computer expert was using the mainframe to digitally animate a ...
M. A. Golding's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the name of this Sci-Fi Circular Interface Seen on Computers and Holograms?

Many Sci-Fi movies and video games have this circular interface used on touch-screens and interfaces (the Iron Man movies or the class select screens from Mass Effect are two examples). What is ...
SeeDerekEngineer's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
442 views

Dystopian short story about a home computer, likely written 1970s (1970-79)

Looking for futuristic short story about a man who brings a new device home called a "computer" which soon takes an increasingly central role in its owner's life to the point of literally reaching out ...
William's user avatar
  • 151
11 votes
1 answer
719 views

Intergalactic human space ship encounters another ship, character gets shunted off beyond known universe, reality starts collapsing

This question reminded me of a very vaguely recalled short story, most likely from the early '00s or '90s (and probably in a magazine like F&SF, Asimov's or Analog), of a space ship that can ...
Jacob C.'s user avatar
  • 4,436
10 votes
2 answers
1k views

M5 and Beta 5 computers in Star Trek TOS; who designed the props and what inspired the circular computer screens?

Star Trek TOS has (at least) two computers with round screens, the M5 and the Beta 5 described below. This is an out-of-universe question on the design of the props. Both remind me of the early PDP ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 8,638
33 votes
1 answer
3k views

Robotic Spaceships have a human prisoner to maintain them

Cant remember if it was a book or a tv show (like Outer Limits/Twilight Zone) or movie. (I don't think it was a movie) At least 20 years old. Whatever format it would have been in English in the USA. ...
NJohnny's user avatar
  • 12.2k
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

Series about proxy space battles via implanted computers in kids

The premise of the story is that there are 2-3 main coalitions on Earth and they fight over resources in the edges of the solar system with spaceships that are controlled from Earth by kids with ...
amflare's user avatar
  • 32.6k
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

Trying to recall a sci-fi book about elitists uploading their mind into computer to gain immortality [duplicate]

I vaguely remember reading this book in which there was an elitist group trying to gain immortality by uploading themselves into a computer(simulation). Each created their own world. Our hero somehow ...
kalmiya's user avatar
  • 143
4 votes
1 answer
250 views

90's (?) chapter book: young boy creates a computer clone, switch places

I read this book back in Elementary School in the 90s. The young boy doesn't exactly like school so he makes himself a computer clone and they switch places and the clone goes to school and starts ...
molly's user avatar
  • 41