A Logic Named Joe

How to Create a Mind

A Logic Named Joe‘ is a science fiction short story by Murray Leinster that was first published in a 1946 issue of ‘Astounding Science Fiction.’ The story actually appeared under Leinster’s real name, Will F. Jenkins, since the issue also included a story under the Leinster pseudonym ‘Adapter.’

The story is particularly noteworthy as a prediction of massively networked personal computers and their drawbacks, written at a time when computing was in its infancy. The story’s narrator is a ‘logic’ (much like a personal computer) repairman nicknamed Ducky. In the story, a logic whom he names ‘Joe’ develops some degree of sapience and ambition.

Joe proceeds to switch around a few relays in ‘the tank’ (one of a distributed set of central information repositories analogous to servers on the World Wide Web), and cross-correlate all information ever assembled (massive data-mining) – yielding highly unexpected results. It then proceeds to freely disseminate all of those results to everyone on demand (and simultaneously disabling all of the content-filtering protocols).

Logics begin offering up unexpected assistance to everyone which includes designing custom chemicals that alleviate inebriation, giving sex advice to small children, and plotting the perfect murder. Information runs rampant as every logic worldwide crunches away at problems too vast in scope for human minds to have attempted. Societal chaos is in the offing.

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