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Thread: The Last Question, Isaac Asimov

  1. #1 The Last Question, Isaac Asimov 
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    One of my favorite short stories.

    http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html

    I even went out of my way to purchase the magazine that first published it.


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  3. #2  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    I remember this one. Great story!


    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
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  4. #3  
    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    Absolutely love it! Thanks for posting it.
    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." ~ Douglas Adams
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  5. #4  
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    Wow!

    I just read the short story and all I can say is wow!
    There are different kinds of genius, but to able to set in so few words something as profound as a "last question" and convey that idea in such a simple way is truly genius!

    Mr Asimov - Your're da man!
    Yes, we have to divide up our time like that, between our politics and our equations. But to me our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern. A mathematical equation stands forever.

    - Albert Einstein

    Earth Science undergrad at your service
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  6. #5 Re: The Last Question, Isaac Asimov 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dunce
    One of my favorite short stories.

    http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html

    I even went out of my way to purchase the magazine that first published it.
    And also the author's personal favorite piece of his work.
    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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  7. #6 Answer from Multivac 
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    Throughout the story, the answer given by Multivac changes, albeit slightly, yet refined after each iteration. The first answer was simply 5 words, "INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR MEANINGFUL ANSWER".

    When Jerrodd, Jerrodine, and Jerrodette 1 and 2 asked in the second section, the answer refined to "INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER.", increasing to 6 words.

    VJ-23X and MQ-17J contemplating the similar, Multivac stated: "THERE IS INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER", totaling to 8 words.

    With Zee Prime and Dee Sub Wun asking the same, the response was "THERE IS AS YET INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER.", expanding to 10 words.

    Humans asked as separate beings, and again as an entire consciousness, and were given the same response of "THERE IS AS YET INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER." The last time it was asked, it was the last question it needed to answer, and thus, Multivac spent its remainder of time solving the question.
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