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"I can remember when the first pulsars were discovered. I was able to go and sit down and listen to graduate students talking about what their theories, to explain what pulsars really were."
- Vernor Vinge

Mark IV Door Keeping Robot  
  A robotic device for responding (and scanning) people who come to your door.  

He pressed the button set in one of posts of the wrought iron gate. There was a faint whirring sound that told him he was being scanned. From a hidden speaker came a metallic voice.

"Who are you? What do you want?"

"I am John Clavering. I wish to speak with your master, with Mr. Konradis."

"What is your business?"

"I will tell that to Mr. Konradis."

"I repeat: What is your business?"

"Damn nosy robot...my business is private."

From The Man Who Could Not Stop, by A. Bertram Chandler.
Published by Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1959
Additional resources -

Chandler makes clear that this is a robot with very limited capabilities:

...He remembered the night that he had got Fredericks, the Farrar-Blenkinsop roboticist, drunk.

"Thing to 'member," Fredericks said, "is this. All our robots have brains. But not human brains. Not Anyting like. Take Mark IV. Same IQ as domestic fowel...Funny thing-bunch of us talking 'bout it, 'membered 'bout hypnotizin' chickens. Fantastic. Works on Mark IV too..."

Compare this idea to the automated sentry from Greg Bear's 2003 novel Darwin's Children.

Thanks to an anonymous reader for the quotes and full citation. (Note: if you'd leave me your email address on my contact page, I'd be glad to respond to your questions.)

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Man Who Could Not Stop
  More Ideas and Technology by A. Bertram Chandler
  Tech news articles related to The Man Who Could Not Stop
  Tech news articles related to works by A. Bertram Chandler

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