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

Predictograph  
  Capable combining and projecting hundreds of complex curves into the future.  

It takes a complex curve and breaks it up into a lot of simple harmonic curves, which, combined together, will make the original curve which was fed into it."

"Yet it is a robot that works on the reverse of the principles of Jerningham's predictograph," he answered. "You realize, of course, that when it is possible to make a machine that will analyze or break into its component parts a complex curve, it should be, and in fact is, easy to construct a machine that will reverse the process and take a number of simple curves and combine them into one complex curve.


(Predictograph from 'Futility' by Captain S.P. Meek)

...we had constructed a machine that would handle a hundred separate variables at one time, performing any operations with any curve that we wished. One great improvement that we made was that we eliminated the need for an operator for each curve. One man could do the whole job. In addition to adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing, the robot would extract any desired root or raise to any desired power or would apply any natural or transcendental function to them.

Technovelgy from Futility, by S.P. Meek.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1929
Additional resources -

This story having been written in 1929, I'll give you, the reader, one guess as to what area this machine was employed in making predictions. Yes, you're right!

"I can easily understand how you could calculate the price which your stock ought to sell at from your data, but I don't see how you managed to take account of the actions of the buyers and sellers. In other words, it seems to me that you have left human nature out of your calculations." "We didn't leave it out. It was one of the eightythree variables that we considered. While at that time we were unable to predict with any probability of accuracy the actions of any given individual, we had found that it was easy to predict with absolute certainty, the actions of ninety-nine per cent of humanity and that was enough to work on. The remaining one per cent didn't affect the market enough to vitiate our curve.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Futility
  More Ideas and Technology by S.P. Meek
  Tech news articles related to Futility
  Tech news articles related to works by S.P. Meek

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