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A Logic Named Joe - The Internet Foretold?

A Logic Named Joe - The Internet Foretold? - RF Cafe

RF Cafe University"Factoids," "Kirt's Cogitations," and "Tech Topics Smorgasbord" are all manifestations of my ranting on various subjects relevant (usually) to the overall RF Cafe theme. All may be accessed on these pages:

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Somebody get Al Gore on the phone - preferably using Skype. It appears that maybe he did not invent the Internet after all. Sci-fi writer William F. Jenkins, who went by the pen name "Murray Leinster," wrote a short story entitled A Logic Named Joe, that appeared in March 1946 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. In the story, an amazingly prescient description of the modern Internet is laid out. The works is copyrighted so I will not replicate the entire thing here, but these are a few excerpts that sound a lot like Mr. Leinster was in cahoots with DARPA during the development*. My comments look like this, and the supporting text looks like this.

A Logic Named Joe

by Murray Leinster

An introduction to Joe (a PC?) ; he is omnipotent - like the Internet:

"It was on the third day of August that Joe come off the assembly line, and on the fifth Laurine come into town, an' that afternoon I saved civilization. That's what I figure, anyhow. Laurine is a blonde that I was crazy about once—and crazy is the word—and Joe is a logic that I have stored away down in the cellar right now. I had to pay for him because I said I busted him, and sometimes I think about turning him on and sometimes I think about taking an ax to him. Sooner or later I'm gonna do one or the other. I kinda hope it's the ax. I could use a coupla million dollars—sure!—an' Joe'd tell me how to get or make 'em. He can do plenty! But so far I've been scared to take a chance. After all, I figure I really saved civilization by turnin' him off. "

The ubiquitous presence of the Internet:

"I'm a maintenance man for the Logics Company. My job is servicing logics, and I admit modestly that I am pretty good. I was servicing televisions before that guy Carson invented his trick circuit that will select any of 'steenteen million other circuits—in theory there ain't no limit — and before the Logics Company hooked it into the tank-and-integrator set-up they were usin' 'em as business-machine service. They added a vision screen for speed—an' they found out they'd made logics. They were surprised an' pleased. They're still findin' out what logics will do, but everybody's got 'em."

Get any information you need on your computer - it's connected into the Internet (aka, "tank"):

"You got a logic in your house. It looks like a vision receiver used to, only it's got keys instead of dials and you punch the keys for what you wanna get. It's hooked in to the tank, which has the Carson Circuit all fixed up with relays. Say you punch "Station SNAFU" on your logic. Relays in the tank take over an' whatever vision-program SNAFU is telecastin' comes on your logic's screen...

But besides that, if you punch for the weather forecast or who won today's race at Hialeah or who was mistress of the White House durin' Garfield's administration or what is PDQ and R sellin' for today, that comes on the screen too. The relays in the tank do it. The tank is a big buildin' full of all the facts in creation an' all the recorded telecasts that ever was made—an' it's hooked in with all the other tanks all over the country — an' everything you wanna know or see or hear, you punch for it an' you get it. Very convenient. Also it does math for you, an' keeps books, an' acts as consultin' chemist, physicist, astronomer, an' tea-leaf reader "

The Internet has changed the way we conduct our lives:

"Logics are all right, though. They changed civilization, the highbrows tell us."

Internet censoring, anyone?

"'Whadda you know?' he says when he comes back. He tells us about the flash. 'We shoulda been warned about that. There's gonna be a lotta complaints. Suppose a fella asks how to get ridda his wife an' the censor circuits block the question?'"

The Internet has plenty of get-rich-quick schemes:

"You can't kick on stuff like that. But a ambitious young fourteen-year-old wanted to buy some kid stuff and his pop wouldn't fork over. He called up a friend to tell his troubles. And his logic says: 'If you want to do something and don't know how to do it—ask your logic!' So this kid punches: 'How can I make a lotta money, fast?'"

Lots of practical science info on the Internet:

"One bright fella demands, 'How can I make a perpetual motion machine?' And his logic sputters a while an' then comes up with a set-up usin' the Brownian movement to turn little wheels. If the wheels ain't bigger'n a eighth of an inch they'll turn, all right, an' practically it's perpetual motion. Another one asks for the secret of transmuting metals."

You can't hide from the Internet - early Facebook?:

"'Logics special service will work upon your question. Please punch your logic designation and leave it turned on. You will be called back.'... The screen says, 'Service question: What is your name?' She is kinda puzzled, but she punches it. The screen sputters an' then says: "Secretarial Service Demonstration! You —'It reels off her name, address, age, sex, coloring, the amounts of all her charge accounts in all the stores, my name as her husband, how much I get a week, the fact that I've been pinched three times—twice was traffic stuff, and once for a argument I got in with a guy—and the interestin' item that once when she was mad with me she left me for three weeks an' had her address changed to her folks' home. Then it says, brisk: 'Logics Service will hereafter keep your personal accounts, take messages, and locate persons you may wish to get in touch with. This demonstration is to introduce the service.' ... And you know that Blossom woman who lives next door! She's been married three times and she's forty-two years old and she says she's only thirty! And Mrs. Hudson's had her husband arrested four times for nonsupport and once for beating her up. And—' Hey!' I says. 'You mean the logic told you this?' 'Yes!' she wails. 'It will tell anybody anything!'"

Well, you get the point. It's a quick read, just 6,732 words. Look for the similarities to today's Internet as you go; you'll be amazed.


Al Gore Claiming to Have Invented the Internet in a 1999 CNN Interview w/Wolfman Blitzer

* Note to Gore - when you were inventing it, the name was still DARPANET, not Internet. Next thing you know he'll be telling us the earth has a fever, and that "2 km or so down" the temperature of the earth is "extremely hot, several millions of degrees..." What an ignorant buffoon!



Posted June 8, 2020
(updated from original post on 8/2/2011)

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