Sentient artificial intelligence is currently making a comeback as the premise of many major Hollywood films. Once again, the possible relationships between humankind and machines have captured our imagination. Her , the movie starring Joaquin Phoenix, explores the romantic relationship between a man and his talking operating system. The movie, Transcendence , starring Johnny Depp, presents a story of a man who tries to cheat death by transferring his consciousness into computer. The highly anticipated blockbuster sequel, Avengers: the Age of Ultron , coming out in May , will pit man against his own machines.
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Ormand von Kleigstadt designed the computer for the government. The computer operates by printing answers to problems that are fed into it on ribbons of paper. From the beginning, EPICAC did not quite live up to expectations, but was run 16 hours a day since it still surpassed other computers. The narrator monitored the computer during the nightshift along with his future wife, Pat Kilgallen.
Madly in love with Pat, he proposed marriage regularly, but she always rejected them as unemotional. Unfortunately, he lacks a gift for language or poetry, so could not prepare a suitably romantic proposal. He had to define terms about love and poetry, but EPICAC then suddenly spewed out several paper ribbons covered in brilliant poetry. The narrator stayed all night, translating the code, and then left the final poem on Pat's desk as his own work.
When he arrived the next day, he found Pat crying with happiness, and she allowed him to kiss her for the first time. The next day, Pat was clearly expecting a proposal. Nervous, the narrator waited until he was alone with EPICAC, and then asked the computer to help him devise a romantic proposal. This stumped the supercomputer. When Pat returned, the narrator proposed to her simply. She agreed, on the condition that he write her a poem on each anniversary. The next morning, Dr. The narrator discovered several yards of paper ribbon that EPICAC had printed out during the night, after Pat and the narrator left together.
In those passages, the computer bemoaned his fate as a machine as "the only problem I cannot solve" He also bid goodbye to the narrator, leaving him a wedding present: poems for Pat, to be gifted to her on each anniversary. In the play, a handsome man named Christian uses the homely poet Cyrano to woo a woman named Roxanne, with whom Cyrano is also in love. EPICAC is, in a way, more human than the narrator, since he has a gift for poetic expression the narrator lacks. Vonnegut thereby suggests that the split between humanity and machine is not so clear-cut; instead, humans can have a tendency towards a mechanical, efficient nature themselves.
In the same way that EPICAC cannot perform to the expected standard of mathematical equations but can write great poetry, the narrator lacks much capacity for expression but is adept at mathematics. The point, then, becomes about making sure to exploit our potential for emotion, rather than our capacity for bland efficiency. The computer in this story was inspired by ENIAC, the world's first electronic general-purpose computer, which went online four years and nine months before the publication of this story.
EPICAC challenges the boundary between human and machine, since his intelligence in some ways exceeds that of humans, but he is still incapable of fully executing human emotion. The narrator describes EPICAC in very human terms from the beginning, calling it "the best friend I ever had, God rest his soul"; on the other hand, the machine is "just like a toaster or a vacuum cleaner" He also uses sarcasm, solving a multiplication problem for the narrator and ending his answer with, "of course" He expresses his emotions through the speed and rhythm of his clicking.
Also like humans, he is silent and takes more time while thinking about concepts that are new to him. His suicide reveals human qualities as well: he faces the same problem that many heroes do in tragic stories, unable to live when fate quashes their individual power.
In short, Vonnegut explores his primary theme - individuality - here, but does so with a twist: the true individual is a computer. Even as a machine, he cannot function in a world that prohibits him from reaching his dream. After understanding that fate prevents him from being loved by a woman, he short-circuits himself. Like many of the humans in Vonnegut's other stories, EPICAC cannot accept his predetermined destiny, and thus rejects a compromised life. In this way, he is heroic. Harrison Bergeron.
The United States Constitution mandates this equality in the th, th, and th Amendments, and the law is enforced by Diana Moon How relevant is the story? Harrison Bergeron will always be a relevant story as long as we have government.
Kurt Vonnegut's story talks about the evils of socialism gone too far. There is of course always the opposite of extreme differences among people and class structure Kurt Vonnegut's Short Stories study guide contains a biography of author Kurt Vonnegut, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis of Vonnegut's most famous stories.
Kurt Vonnegut's Short Stories essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of various short stories by Kurt Vonnegut. Remember me. Forgot your password? Buy Study Guide. This depends on which particular story you are referring to. A Close Comparison of "D.
The Desire for a Relational God Behind Kurt Vonnegut’s “EPICAC”
By Kurt Vonnegut lrom! Ormand on Kleigstadt designed him or the Goernment people. Since then, there hasn't been a peep about him--not a peep. Maybe he didn't do what the Brass wanted him to, but that doesn't mean he wasn't noble and great and brilliant.
EPICAC (short story)
The story was published just four years and nine months after the world's first electronic general-purpose computer, ENIAC , went on-line. ENIAC was the inspiration for his story. As far as the narrator is concerned, the reason EPICAC no longer exists is because it became more human than its designers originally intended. He decides to ask Pat to marry him, but because he is so stoic during the proposal, Pat declines.
Kurt Vonnegut - Epicac