Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"I think we could solve our problems more easily through strength of character; but that's always been a commodity in extremely short supply."
- Gregory Benford

Universal Technical Consultative Service  
  Interstellar travel plans calculated, reserved and confirmed.  

Well before the internet or the power of personal computers, when computers were controlled by skilled operators, and everything was hardcopy, Jack Vance proposed an enterprise that could have produced a Gatesian gazillionaire if things had turned out differently.

"He went to an office of the Universal Technical Consultative Service, and gained the attention of an operator. 'Set up this problem,' said Gersen. 'Two ships leave the planet New Hope. One proceeds directly here, to Avente. The other goes to a red dwarf star, spends half a day, then comes to Avente, arriving ten days later. I want a list of the red dwarf stars which this second ship might have visited.'
The operator considered. 'There is oviously an ellipsoid shell here, the foci being New Hope and Alphanor. We must take into account the accelerations and decelerations, the probable coast periods and landing times. There will necessarily be a locus of most probability, and areas of diminishing probability.'
'Set up the problem so that the machine lists these stars in order of probability.'
'To what limits?'
'Oh - one in fifty. Include also the constants of these stars as given in the directory.' 'Very well, sir. The fee will be 25 SVU.' Gersen brought forth the money; the operator translated the problem into precise language, spoke into a microphone. Thirty seconds later a sheet of paper dropped from a slot. The operator glanced at it, signed his name, handed it without a word to Gersen."
From The Star King, by Jack Vance.
Published by Berkeley in 1964
Additional resources -

Submitted by an anonymous reader.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 1 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Star King
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Vance
  Tech news articles related to The Star King
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Vance

Articles related to Computer
Tetraplegics Dominate Avatar Races
IBM's Grain Of Sand Computer
Can An Entire Brain Be Simulated In A Computer?
Illustris: The Next Generation Of Universe Simulation

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.'

Inspired By Japan, Nap Pods For Hajj
It's always a good time for a nap.

Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.'

How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.'

PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...'

Foldimate Folds Your Clothes Perfectly
Look ma, my room is clean! I can hear you now.

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks.'

Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
Just a prototype, but still amazing.

IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
'But Nanny is different...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.