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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8 votes
1 answer
208 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 ...
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  • 83
17 votes
1 answer
867 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 ...
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  • 1,655
4 votes
0 answers
91 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 ...
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  • 142
6 votes
4 answers
167 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 ...
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21 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/...
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  • 321
13 votes
1 answer
450 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 ...
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  • 2,095
23 votes
0 answers
345 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 ...
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  • 8,809
6 votes
1 answer
406 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 ...
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  • 163
8 votes
1 answer
415 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 ...
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  • 83
8 votes
0 answers
200 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 ...
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  • 181
10 votes
0 answers
167 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 ...
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9 votes
1 answer
220 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 ...
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  • 501
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?
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  • 37.9k
0 votes
0 answers
100 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 ...
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5 votes
1 answer
133 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 ...
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6 votes
2 answers
259 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 ...
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43 votes
12 answers
7k 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 ...
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  • 80.4k
10 votes
1 answer
656 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 ...
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  • 1,308
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 ...
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  • 425
4 votes
1 answer
139 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 ...
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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 ...
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5 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
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15 votes
1 answer
315 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 ...
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  • 151
11 votes
1 answer
571 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 ...
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  • 4,118
10 votes
2 answers
864 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 ...
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  • 7,985
32 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. ...
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  • 8,809
7 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
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  • 32.2k
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 ...
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  • 143
4 votes
1 answer
172 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 ...
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  • 41
2 votes
1 answer
4k views

What do the images of the system in the Jurassic Park book actually mean?

In Michael Crichton's novel Jurassic Park, a system was created by Dennis Nedry to operate the park almost autonomously with minimum staff. Images of its interface are provided in the book. Do the ...
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9 votes
5 answers
681 views

Old anime people trapped in a computer

I need help identifying one old anime that was about people getting trapped inside a computer. I don't remember much about it but I remember that there was a mad scientist that put himself on ...
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  • 151
8 votes
1 answer
216 views

Movie Id Where Hacker Has No Monitor

I remember seeing a movie when in the late 90s on basic television that was about some sort of AI or computer virus that was taking over. It may have been hurting/killing people via their monitors ...
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1 vote
0 answers
116 views

Why does computer data get destroyed when it gets downloaded? [duplicate]

Whenever an enemy ship downloads something from the board computer or whenever a hologram gets transferred, the data gets removed from the board computer. It's almost as if the data was a physical ...
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16 votes
2 answers
2k views

Two computers buried under the earth

As a teenager - like 40 years ago- I read a science fiction book about earth were two supercomputers were buried deep down under the surface. One in the north, one in the south. Their goal as I ...
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  • 161
6 votes
0 answers
103 views

Comic from late 80s with self-aware mainframe

I remember back in the late 80s there was comic strip in an IT publication that featured a mainframe computer that shared its thoughts on the jobs it was running. One of my favorites was when the ...
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  • 61
6 votes
1 answer
345 views

Story identification: A novella about a computer that becomes sentient and can control everything in the universe except the human mind [duplicate]

There is a computer that is being built with the ability to manipulate space using (wormholes)? Right as the computer is becoming sentient, it's creator realizes what is happening and puts in a rule ...
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  • 63
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Which programming languages are used in the Star Trek universe?

In the Star Trek franchise, a number of characters "reprogram a computer" or "write a holodeck program" or do similar sorts of programming. Has is ever been identified what sort of languages are in ...
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  • 50.4k
13 votes
1 answer
725 views

Short story about a man who pretends to be a supercomputer

I read a short story in a collection of sci-fi stories a few years ago. It was about a supercomputer on which humanity relied upon to answer difficult questions (much like Isaac Asimov's Multivac). ...
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6 votes
2 answers
341 views

How does the on-board computer answer multiple nearby people without overlap?

Onboard Starfleet computers, personnel can ask the computer questions vocally and get an audio response. Presumably on a ship of that size, the computer is doing this in parallel all the time — e.g. ...
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6 votes
1 answer
507 views

Name and Author of book where man creates computer called Satan

I read (but never finished) a book in the 1980's where a man has dreams to build a computer. He draws all the schematics and builds it. On powering it up he asks the question - Who Are You? (Or ...
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5 votes
2 answers
2k views

How was Neo ever in the Train-station? Brain wi-fi? Why did nobody know about Brain-fi?

I'd be interested to hear if anybody can squash this one for me. Some questions explain 'what the Train-Station is' and 'how he got there' (he touched the source and ooh that caused him to be ...
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  • 153
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

Science fiction story that ends with "Let there be light"

NB: This is not "The Last Question" by Asimov. Very many years ago (I think around the late 1950s) I read a very short story (about 4 pages) about computers at a time when they were in ...
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  • 79
10 votes
1 answer
518 views

Can anyone remember a film where a damaged ship can't count down sequentially during a self destruct?

When I was a child, I'm sure I remember part of a film or maybe TV movie where a boy or maybe a teenager is in a spaceship. The ship has an intelligent computer. Somehow the computer becomes damaged ...
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  • 103
10 votes
2 answers
411 views

70's/80's Short story man uses PC to compensate for progressive memory loss then they die in suicide pact

I've been looking for years for a short story I read in late 1970's or early 80's. I think I remember it was in a collection of award winners, book may have come from Scholastic or similar program. A ...
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7 votes
4 answers
256 views

Trying to find story: "Knapsack" encryption with prisms and computers

I'm trying to find a story I read in a printed book in the UK around 1990. It was aimed at kids, probably about computers, and had some line drawings. The only bit I can really remember is a couple ...
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  • 227
5 votes
1 answer
178 views

Trying to find a book about AI embedded in human brain

There was a book I read when I was younger, probably around 2000 at a guess. Its main character was a woman who I seem to remember had a photographic memory but I can't remember how that tied into the ...
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  • 153
13 votes
1 answer
431 views

What is the first example of "sandboxing" an adversarial sentient program?

Reading this BBC News item reminded me of the TNG episode Ship in a Bottle (episode 6x12, first aired: 25 January 1993) where the holodeck character Moriarty is tricked into moving into an off-line ...
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  • 7,985
8 votes
1 answer
298 views

Identifying an '80s TV episode or movie with a boy whose consciousness was programmed into a computer

I remember watching a TV show in the eighties - either a standalone movie or an episode of a series, I can't be sure which. The plot was about a young boy (teenager or late preteen) who was a genius ...
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  • 423
1 vote
0 answers
132 views

Are there software developers in Starfleet? [duplicate]

Starfleet personell obviously uses a lot of software (e. g. LCARS) on their vessels, stations, handheld and wearable devices. Thus, it would seem to me that there must be a lot of software engineers ...
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  • 217
6 votes
1 answer
234 views

Late 70s - Early 80s Story about an evolving computer virus [duplicate]

Around 1980/81, a car-pool buddy told me of a story that he had read about a computer virus that constantly evolving. I vaguely remember that it's human programmer had created several early variants ...
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