A brilliant book written by Michael Frayn which concerns the happy programmers of the William Morris Institute of Automation Research. They write programs to write newspapers, for example:

"Goldwasser had had a survey conducted, in fact, in which 457 people were shown the headlines

ROW HOPE MOVE FLOP
LEAK DASH SHOCK
HATE BAN BID PROBE

Asked if they thought they understood the headlines, 86.4 per cent said yes but of these 97.3 per cent were unable to offer any explanation of what it was they had understood. With UHL {Unit Headline Language}, in other words, a computer could turn out a paper whose language was both soothingly familiar and yet calmingly incomprehensible"

The Samaritan robots which try to solve ethical descisions while floating on a raft (see: The Two Men Who Were Enemies) and Hugh Rowe with his eternally unwritten novel are other highlights. It still seems surprisingly modern (O.K. it was only written a few decades ago, but the computer industry moves FAST). This is probably because AI and computer science research is still trying to achieve the same old pointless goals. Its also amusing to see that some people have actually tried to accomplish what Frayn imagines as an absurdity. Such as computer-generated romance novels...

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