The Last Question is perhaps Isaac Asimov‘s most famous short story. First published in 1956, it concerns the evolution through time of Multivac, a super computer which begins as a sort of giant problem solving internet and, over billions of years, evolves into a godlike intelligence permeating the entire universe.
The early Multivacs predict Google as a repository for all the world’s knowledge which can be easily consulted for any answer, quaintly, however, this fantastic machine give its answer on a tickertape type printout.
The story develops over the course of several short vignettes set ever further into the future. They are tied together by different sets of humans asking the great computer how they can avoid the ultimate ‘winding down’ of the universe by reversing entropy.
Multivac has been very influential in science fiction and many similar computers have been imagined by authors since, not least Douglas Adams’ Deep Thought which famouslly gave 42 as the answer to life, the universe, and everything.
Enjoy the excellently read audiobook below…
Isaac Asimov – The Last Question