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"The best fuzzy rules, the best knowledge, deal with the turning points of the system. If a race-car driver teaches you how to drive, you don't need him to show you how to drive on the straightaway. It's how he handles the curves that matters."
- Bart Kosko

Communicator  
  A small device that works to communicate over large distances.  

As far as I know, the first use of this expression in science fiction:

The flying vessel had gone through the zone of feeble radiations which comprised the outer detector screen of the Fenachrone. But, though tenuous, that screen was highly efficient, and at its touch there burst into frenzied activity the communicator built by the captive to be actuated by that very impulse.
Technovelgy from Skylark of Valeron, by E.E. 'Doc' Smith.
Published by Astounding in 1934
Additional resources -

It may have dials! from One Against the Legion (1939) by Jack Williamson:

Km! Krrr! Km!

The tiny sound, peculiarly penetrating and insistent, was humming from the communicator hung by its thin chain about his neck. The Commander’s lean deliberate hands, drawing the little black disk from under his clothing, trembled slightly.

“It’s Legion Intelligence,” he told Giles Habibula. “An emergency call.”

Giles Habibula watched apprehensively as he touched the dial, whispered a code response, and lifted the little disk to his ear. The straining ears of the old Legionnaire failed to hear anything. And the face of Jay Kalam didn’t lose its grave, contained reserve. But his failure to breathe, and his frozen stiffness, betrayed enough.

“You’ve had bad news, Jay,” whispered Giles Habibula, when at last the Commander lowered the disk and broke communication. “Aye, mortal bad!”

...The Commander of the Legion found the small black disk of his communicator. His thin, trembling fingers turned the tiny dials, and tapped out a code signal. His thin lips whispered into it. Hal Samdu sat watching, his face rigid as a statue’s.

At last Jay Kalam lowered the instrument.

Compare to the Dirac transmitter from Cities in Flight (1957) by James Blish, the comlink from Star Wars (1976) by George Lucas, the communications disk from Exiles of the Moon (1931) by Schachner & Zagat, the Ullran enunciator from Uller Uprising (1952) by H. Beam Piper, the sleeve communicator from First Contact (1945) by Murray Leinster.

See also the audio relay (Robert Heinlein, 1951), the distrans (Frank Herbert, 1965) and the communications implant (Niven and Pournelle, 1981).

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Skylark of Valeron
  More Ideas and Technology by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
  Tech news articles related to Skylark of Valeron
  Tech news articles related to works by E.E. 'Doc' Smith

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