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"We're about 20 minutes away from the point where Clarke's law kicks in and technology becomes indistinguishable from magic."
- Peter Watts

Cutoff Switch  
  A means of instantaneously switching off an artificial intelligence.  

Switching the Hal 9000 computer back on is not without peril.

"What is it?" asked Curnow with mild distaste, hefting the little mechanism in his hand. "A guillotine for mice?"

"Not a bad description - but I'm after bigger game." Floyd pointed to a flashing arrow on the display screen, which was now showing a complicated circuit diagram.

"You see this line?"

"Yes - the main power supply. So?"

"This is the point where it enters Hal's central processing unit. I'd like you to install this gadget here. Inside the cable trunking, where it can't be found without a deliberate search."

"I see. A remote control, so you can pull the plug on Hal whenever you want to. Very neat - and a nonconducting blade, too, so there won't be any embarrassing shorts when it's triggered. Who makes toys like this? The CIA?"

"Never mind. The control's in my room - that little red calculator I always keep on my desk. Put in nine nines, take the square root, and press INT. That's all..."

From 2010, by Arthur C. Clarke.
Published by Not known in 1982
Additional resources -

Here is the quote showing the name used in the novel:

As he floated behind Dr. Chandra in the zero-gravity environment of Discovery's flight deck, Floyd's mind was seldom far from the cutoff switch, installed and tested only a few hours earlier...

Compare to the electromagnetic shotgun from Neuromancer (1984), by William Gibson.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from 2010
  More Ideas and Technology by Arthur C. Clarke
  Tech news articles related to 2010
  Tech news articles related to works by Arthur C. Clarke

Cutoff Switch-related news articles:
  - Google Working On A 'Cutoff Switch' For AI

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