asimov by David A Johnson

Multivac is the name of a fictional supercomputer in many stories by Isaac Asimov. Like most of the technologies Asimov describes in his fiction, Multivac’s exact specifications vary among appearances. In all cases, it is a government-run computer that answers questions, usually buried deep underground for security purposes. However, Asimov never settles on a particular size for the computer except for mentioning it is very large.

Unlike the artificial intelligences portrayed in his ‘Robot’ Series, Multivac’s interface is mechanized and impersonal, consisting of complex command consoles few humans can operate. Though the technology depended on bulky vacuum tubes, the concept – that all information could be contained on computer(s) and accessed from a domestic terminal – constitutes an early reference to the possibility of the Internet.

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