The Last Question

multivac

The Last Question‘ is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It first appeared in the November 1956 issue of Science Fiction Quarterly. It was Asimov’s favorite short story of his own authorship, and is one of a loosely connected series of stories concerning a fictional computer called Multivac. In conceiving Multivac, Asimov was extrapolating the trend towards centralization that characterised computation technology planning in the 1950s to an ultimate centrally managed global computer.

The story deals with the development of computers called Multivacs and their relationships with humanity through the courses of seven historic settings, beginning in 2061. In each of the first six scenes a different character presents the computer with the same question; namely, how the threat to human existence posed by the heat death of the universe can be averted.

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