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"I prefer working by artificial light."
- Isaac Asimov

Synthetic Intellect  
  A device for providing a robot with intelligence.  

After an encounter with the weird Crystal Folk of Callisto, the ordinarily reliable robot assistant had become unreliable. Even insane! The robot (also called an "automat") deliberately downed the rocket ship on Saturn, and distributed the odd crystalline life forms on its surface.

Robot madness! The trouble was not with the ship, but with Scarecrow’s intricate mechanical brain. Bar had heard of such mishaps before.

('Mad Robot' by Raymond Z. Gallun)

Once, in a New York apartment, an old-style automat had gone crazy. It had hammered its way down through five floors before it had broken itself.

HE HAD TO repair the robot some way, so that it would again be useful. He lifted its massive headpiece, and unscrewed the platinum cranium that contained Scarecrow’s marvelous synthetic intellect. There must be some obstruction that had caused the trouble.

He saw it at once... he began to think about things of which he could have no real understanding — of alien sciences, different from the experimental blunderings of man in his eternal urge to master matter, and of a queer, amorphous shell in the caves of Callisto...

Had the Crystal Folk known what Saturn was like, and that it was a suit- able environment for them? There were little, frosty crystals incrusting the minutely packed wires that formed the cortex of Scarecrow’s brain. They glittered and pulsated with a living fire of changing colors, suggesting intelligence. Had they influenced the automat’s actions, by a means other than that of a simple obstruction?

Carefully he scraped the crystals from Scarecrow’s brain, afterward applying oil, which he knew from Professor Dunridge’s experiments would prevent a regrowth. The black, pitchy substance in which the wires of the automat’s thought machine were packed contained a Norsonium salt, and had been slightly pitted; but no serious damage had been done. Afterward Bar recharged the energy cells of the robot.

“Starting back to Callisto, Scarecrow,” he said presently. “Go to your post.”

“Yes, sir !” the robot replied. He was his faithful self once more.

From Mad Robot, by Raymond Z. Gallun.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1936
Additional resources -

Compare to the Iridium-Sponge Brain from Adam Link's Vengeance (1940) by Eando Binder, the positronic brain from Reason (1941) by Isaac Asimov, the neuristor from My Name is Legion (1976), by Roger Zelazny and the artificial brain from Edmond Hamilton's 1926 classic The Metal Giants.

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  More Ideas and Technology from Mad Robot
  More Ideas and Technology by Raymond Z. Gallun
  Tech news articles related to Mad Robot
  Tech news articles related to works by Raymond Z. Gallun

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