Re: [Fwd: Re: Most 200{0,1} prescient SciFi author?]

Date: Wed Jan 03 2001 - 18:33:51 MST

Press Enter did not involve displaying any patterns, it was some kind
of message or noise received over the phone lines that caused people to
commit suicide.

The story this reminded me of was "The Riddle of the Universe and Its
Solution", by Christopher Cherniak, presented in chapter 12 of The Mind's
I by Hofstadter and Dennett. The story was from 1978.

The idea is that there is some thought, some sentence, which puts the
brain into an infinite loop from which it never exits. People fall into
a coma and are completely unresponsive to stimuli.

The sentence can be deduced from current research into AI and cognitive
science. The first researcher is hit, then someone who is going over
his work is hit, and later when others view the research, they succumb
as well. Typically the last word of victims is "Aha!". A student views
the work but doesn't understand it; they are adivsed to learn as little
additional as possible about AI.

Of course there was also the Monty Python skit about a joke so funny
you would die of laughter if you ever heard it...


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