Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"I'm strictly an ivory-tower person. I can explain things but I can't do things."
- Isaac Asimov

Quantum Logic Thinker (QL)  
  A computer system that thinks about problems in unusual ways.  

Large parts of this novel are dedicated to the idea that computers can be used for other than strictly linear thinking (or simple computation). The novel uses technical terms to describe how a computer system that is capable of original solutions to problems might be as difficult as a human genius is to communicate with.

"The QL is a monster to work with," he said…"It has no priorities, no real sense of needs or goals. It thinks, but it may not solve. Quantum logic can outline the center of a problem before it understands the principles and questions, and then, from our point of view, everything ends in confusion. More often than not, it comes up with a solution to a problem that is not stated. It does virtually everything but linear, time's arrow ratiocination. Half of its efforts are meaningless to goal-oriented beings like ourselves, but I can't prune those efforts, because somewhere in them lies the solution to my problems, even if I haven't stated the problem or am not aware that I have a problem.
Technovelgy from Heads, by Greg Bear.
Published by St. Martin's Press in 1990
Additional resources -

This computer system requires another system just to mediate between itself (the QL) and human beings. The QL spends a lot of its time working through material that seems totally irrelevant, unlike the classical use of large mainframe systems, in which computational time was metered out in thousandths of a second. No wasted time in those systems!

Bear's Moving Mars (published by Tor in 1993) repeatedly mentioned computer systems called thinkers, and a QL was essential for the novel's climax.

"Quantum Logic reflected the way the universe operated at a deep level. Human logic--and the mathematical neural logic of most thinkers--worked best on the slippery surface of reality." (page 95, mass market paperback) A thinker (a self-aware computer system with a personality more like a human might have) usually mediates between humans and a QL.

However, in Moving Mars, a human scientist must forgo the thinker and interact directly with a QL to prevent the QL from exploring "answers" that can kill the scientist's team during their experiments. Immersion in the QL takes a mental toll on the scientist so that he can barely speak after long sessions, but without his guidance, the QL is distracted by dangerous possibilities. "It could not know the effect on human observers. It can't even model us effectively." (page 443)

This artifical intelligence exists beyond the realms of the human mind, and that is where it can benefit humans the most. "I saw more clearly now the value of the QL's contribution. That it was in fact self-aware, despite these distortions, gave me a chill. What sort of self-awareness could function when consciousness has no shape, no specified purpose? "Who could have _designed_ such a mind? Humans had--famous and less famous; and QL thinkers had played a small role in human affairs for a century and a half--but no human, not even the designers, could encompass the QL mentality. It was not superior--in some repsects, it operated much more simply than any human or thinker mind--but what it did, it did superbly--and unpredictably..." (page 480) .

Larry Niven wrote a group of stories centered around the Draco Tavern; one of them is called The Schumann Computer - see the entry for chirpsithra supercomputer for a truly unique look at artificial intelligence.

Special thanks to Ann M. Lynn for her contributions to this entry.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 1 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Heads
  More Ideas and Technology by Greg Bear
  Tech news articles related to Heads
  Tech news articles related to works by Greg Bear

Quantum Logic Thinker (QL)-related news articles:
  - The Latest In Quantum-Dot Switches

Articles related to Artificial Intelligence
Steve Jobs: 'Capture The Next Aristotle - With AI'
BMind Smart Mirror from Baracoda
LG Smart Home AI Agent
AI Tries To Replicate Famous People

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

Vast Apartment Living Will Get Even More Vast
'What is your population', I asked. 'About eighty millions.'

NASA Wants Self-Driving Or Remote-Controlled Vehicles For Lunar Astronauts
'THE autobus turned silently down the wide street of Hydropole. Robot-guided, insulated from noise and cold...'

Elon Musk Says Robotaxis Will Be Ready This August, 2024
'The car had no steering wheel, and no one drove!'

Moonwalkers AI-Controlled Electric Shoes
Now that's power walking that Hugo Gernsback would have approved.

Steve Jobs: 'Capture The Next Aristotle - With AI'
'It was disturbing to think of the Flatline as a construct...'

No Tips! Robotic Food Delivery In Phoenix
'...he rewired the delivery robot so that it would serve him midnight snacks.'

Electric Catamaran 'Explorer Eco 40m' Has 'Solar Skin'
'On went the electric-yacht faster and still faster.'

Orbital Mechanics, The Liftoff, The Turnover, The Retrograde Burn
'...the huge vessel had spun, with a sickening lurch, through a complete half-circle, the instant the power was reversed.'

Harvest Power From Tears And Blinking With Smart Contact Lens
'...he realized that it was not quite a clear lens. Speckles of colored brightness swirled and gathered in it.'

Europa Clipper Plate Carries A Special Message
'...a universal cryptogram — yet it is one which can be interpreted by any intelligent creature on any planet in the Solar System!'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.