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"What television does is rent us friends and relatives who are quite satisfactory. This is quite something, to rent artificial friends and relatives right inside the house."
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Preserved Brains  
  Preserving a brain, and then communicating with it.  

And he knew, too, that such preserved, living brains could be made to think and remember; that they could be communicated with by microphonic and loud-speaker electrical connections to their hearing and speech centers...
From Murder in the Void, by Edmond Hamilton.
Published by Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1938
Additional resources -

Hamilton has used this idea in his fiction before; see the article on brain placed in a metal body from his 1928 novella The Comet Doom. Also, compare to the laminated mouse brain computer from Cordwainer Smith's 1962 story Think Blue, Count Two.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Murder in the Void
  More Ideas and Technology by Edmond Hamilton
  Tech news articles related to Murder in the Void
  Tech news articles related to works by Edmond Hamilton

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