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"The idea I want to push next is that the United States should make Siberia a Protectorate. Pay the Russians off – a hundred, two hundred billion dollars – and simply run Siberia in an ecologically responsible way."
- Gregory Benford

Electric Monk  
  Robotic device provides belief services.  

The Electric Monk was a labour-saving device, like a dishwasher or a video recorder. Dishwashers washed tedious dishes for you, thus saving you the bother of washing them yourself, video recorders watched tedious television for you, thus saving you the bother of looking at it yourself; Electric Monks believed things for you, thus saving you what was becoming an increasingly onerous task, that of believing all the things the world expected you to believe.
From Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, by Douglas Adams.
Published by Simon Schuster in 1987
Additional resources -

A few additional details are provided on the physical appearance of the Electric Monk.

So the Monks were built with an eye for originality of design and also for practical horse-riding ability. This was important. People, and indeed things, looked more sincere on a horse. So two legs were held to be both more suitable and cheaper than the more normal primes of seventeen, nineteen or twenty-three; the skin the Monks were given was pinkish-looking instead of purple, smooth and soft instead of crenellated. They were also restricted to just the one mouth and nose, but were given instead an additional eye, making for a grand total of two. A strange-looking creature indeed. But truly excellent at believing the most preposterous things.
Thanks to chelymorpha for contributing this item.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
  More Ideas and Technology by Douglas Adams
  Tech news articles related to Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
  Tech news articles related to works by Douglas Adams

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