Monday, October 24, 2016

Manic Monday Bonus--Kirk Didn't Invent Kirking Computers!!

We've talked before about the pop sci-fi practice of "Kirking" computers--using illogic or emotion or impossible questions to cause them to physically explode, ending the threat.

Hey, it's a nice conceit if you're afraid of being replaced by machines--there are simple, even childish things that our brains can handle, that computers simply can't! See, we are superior!!

Of course, the practice began well before James Tiberius Kirk was outfoxing Microsoft's best...hell, it's probably been going on as long as computers have existed in fiction.

Here's one example from 1951. Captain Reynolds of the space dreadnought Starling--because of course future Earth names their most deadly & powerful warships after tiny birds--is certain the Venusians are smuggling something to Polaris (whom we beat in the last galactic war). But what?

Yes, Earth won the war, so only Earth gets to have computers!! That will teach you to lose a war to us, inferior cultures!

But Reynolds is onto something, as the Polarans have been smuggling in the build their own thought machines!!

Wow. They invented Siri. Big deal...

Unfortunately, the thinking machine is kinda indestructible...and kind of contemptuous of Captain Reynolds!

Great laugh.

So, in the great tradition of "computers are so smart that they're actually stupid," Reynolds decide to Kirk the thought machine, more than a decade and a half before Star Trek:

Too bad the Polarans didn't have tech support on speed dial...

Yes, Because that's how computers work.

All hail the triumph of man over machine!!

From Strange Adventures #12 (1951), as reprinted in From Beyond The Unknown #2 (1969)


Warren JB said...

That 'HA HA HA' cracks me up. Even cold, emotionless, massive space computers (that probably run on punch cards or tapes or something) can enjoy a bit if gloating. And I hear it as the dalek about 1:40, here:

Dr. Theda said...

Cool ending...
Hope that you and yours had a great Halloween...