“A Logic Named Joe,” Murray Leinster, 1946 – Logics are androids with screens that can access the “tank,” an enormous warehouse with every fact known to man. As advertised, simply use the keys to type in your request or question, and your logic will connect you to a friend’s phone, bring up a television show, or answer a historical question (something like terminals from which one can connect to the internet). Due to a manufacturing accident, the logic “Joe” is “an individual.” He has “ambition,” and his ambition is for the logics to work “better.” He connects the other logics so they can cooperate and he himself serves as their integrator. Now all knowledge can be integrated, not just provided to solve problems. The censor locks are disabled: Now husbands may ask how to murder their spouses, and children are able to watch National Geographic-style material. Society is on the path to chaos, and the cause is too much access to information. The main character is bewildered by this but not alarmed until his femme fatale ex-girlfirend, Laurine, tracks him down and suggests he divorce his wife. He realizes that “Joe” is the cause, turns him off, and sequesters him in his basement.
Comments: Enjoyable, remarkably prescient story regarding information flow due to a system resembling the Internet and data mining. Read in Doorway into Time, ed. Moskowitz.
Wikipedia: “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.”
Author: Wikipedia: “Murray Leinster (June 16, 1896 – June 8, 1975) was a nom de plume of William Fitzgerald Jenkins, an award-winning American writer of science fiction and alternate history. He wrote and published over 1,500 short stories and articles, 14 movie scripts, and hundreds of radio scripts and television plays.”