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"To get anywhere, or even live a long time, a man has to guess, and guess right, over and over again, without enough data for a logical answer."
- Robert Heinlein

Government Machine  
  The automata that constitute the entire government, all in one building.  

"That square massive building just below us is the one we were in? And you say that is the center, the brain, the key of the whole World Government?"
"That is the Government," Quentin replied. "Just as your brain is you. These other countless acres of buildings are merely its arms and lingers and eyes and ears. Without this building they could not function, and the world would be chaos."
Jack stared down fascinatedly.
"And yet," he breathed in amazement, "I ran through miles of corridors, passed hundreds of rooms full of apparatus and instruments, and not a soul did I see,*'
Quentin nodded in confirmation.
"For an hour I ran, and by the end of it I was caring less about being caught than about finding some people about in these buildings. Is there no one?"
"No one," Quentin replied.
"And yet you say it's the Government!" The boy seemed dumfounded.
"After all my explaining," Quentin said, "haven't you realized that the Government is merely a huge machine, made of metal and rubber and glass and run by electricity and light and heat?"
"But—but how can machinery govern the world?"
"Better than human beings can. Even your business men in Democratia use machines to help them run their businesses; their offices are full of automatic machines for managing a business, time-clocks, adding-machines, bookkeeping machines, cash-registers, dictaphones—no end of them. The Government Machine is not essentially different. Merely a little more automatic and a little more complex."
"And are all the people willing to be governed by a machine?" It was all amazingly strange to Jack.
"They cannot conceive of anything else," Quentin explained. "For three hundred years they have grown up in it. They are intensely loyal to it, because it not merely governs them as you understand the wrord govern ; it takes care of them as a mother takes care of children."
"They seem to be happy," Jack observed. Quentin nodded down toward the beautiful countryside over which they were flying at a swift rate. The green fields were intersected by broad roads and huge power lines, and the blue bulk of a city loomed on the horizon.
"The world is more prosperous than it has ever been before," he replied. "Life is thoroughly comfortable, absolutely safe and certain. But you would call it monotonous. Everybody does everything by rule and schedule, all alike, the world over. Standardize. You wouldn't like it."
"I couldn't stand it!" Jack exclaimed.
From Mechanocracy, by Miles J. Breuer.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1932
Additional resources -

Compare to the games Machine from AE van Vogt's World of Null-A. Compare to other computers large enough to run whole planets or societies: see the City Fathers from James Blish's Cities in Flight, Watchdog from Jack Haldeman's story of the same name, and Deep Thought from Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the Vulcan 3 from Vulcan's Hammer (1960) by Philip K. Dick.

See also the way computers design computers in Isaac Asimov's 1958 short story The Feeling of Power.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Mechanocracy
  More Ideas and Technology by Miles J. Breuer
  Tech news articles related to Mechanocracy
  Tech news articles related to works by Miles J. Breuer

Government Machine-related news articles:
  - Rule Of Humans By Software Not Transparent

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