Holy Sci-Fi! pp 95-107 | Cite as

Computers as Gods

  • Paul J. Nahin
Part of the Science and Fiction book series (SCIFICT)


For ‘older’ readers of this book, the idea of a computer possessing sufficient intelligence to be at least the equal of a human was probably planted in their brains with their first viewing of HAL 9000 (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) in the 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. HAL goes into a relentless killing mode when it learns the spaceship crew intends to turn it off. For younger readers the movie inspiration for an equally malevolent view of computers was, perhaps, the vast artificial intelligence of Skynet, the Armageddon computer in the Terminator films. And for even younger readers, an evil interpretation of god-like computers has been reinforced with their realization in numerous video games, such as the initially friendly GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System) in the Portal games, which slowly reveals its dark side to the player.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul J. Nahin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Electrical & Computer EngineeringUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA

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