2008: A Spam Odyssey

I was pretty surprised when I found out the almost all of the SPAM in the world (85%) comes from just 6 bots. 40% comes from just one source. I wondered which computer would be insidious enough to produce that much junk e-mail? WOPR, Deep Blue, Deep Thought, GlaDOS, The Gibson, Majel Barret, Vector Sigma, Max Headroom, Ziggy, or Skynet?

No, none of those. It could only be the most misunderstood A.I. since Haley Joel Osment: HAL 9000. Poor HAL. He really had the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission.

Just open the freakin’ pod bay doors, for Christ’s sake.

So what was your favorite fictional computer (not robot, mind you)? Comments ho!


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  1. Thanks for the Clarke tribute. Sad really: it's 2008, and where are Clarke's (and Kubrick's), spaceship-piloting and astronaut-murdering computers??

    Definitely enjoy Eddie from Heart of Gold, but also like Peersa (plot device that it is) from Niven's "A World out of Time."

    About the comic: "Bullseye squirrel from 30 ft." FTW!

    • Holy shit! I've found the other person on earth that's read that book! It's one of my favorites. It was one of the first books I looked for when I got my Kindle.

      "This is Peersa for the state calling Corbin!" Heh!

  2. Oh… my…. god….. I LOVE you for the 2001 comic! 😀 I saw just the first panel and went "Yesss! This has made my day!" This was a great tribute to Arthur C. Clarke. 🙂

    HAL is of course my favourite… He was so misunderstood.

    And his last line in your comic has me cracking up XD.

  3. Robots are computers too! With that in mind, R. Daneel Olivaw!

    The only computer other than the ones you mentioned that sticks out in my head is the ultimate computer that delivered the ultimate answer to the ultimate question.

    Seriously though, Foundation series, epic, awesome.

  4. No-brainer, it's KITT. And not the new Shelby-housed version, or the lame-ass Knight Rider 2000 version either. The original. Mr. Feeny FTW!!

  5. I get giddy over 2001 references. Awesome.

    And is it bad when I saw mention of "Ziggy" that I moused over to see if it was Ziggy Stardust? He could've been a spam bot, hijackin' the signal on kids' radios….

  6. The Enterprise counts because it was an AI at one point. It also had a baby. Data doesnt count because he's an android. Dr. might accept that hes just a program running on a larger computer.

  7. Definitely Kurt Vonnegut's EPICAC. For shiz.

    Also, FYI intense Debate will not let me comment if I'm signed in. Not sure if that's them or just my account…

  8. I really have to say GladOS, if not for any other reason, except that she made me kill my Weighted Companion Cube…. then mocked me for killing it so fast….. She's a monster.

    R.I.P. Weighted Companion Cube <3 10/9/07

  9. I never thought of it until now, but it's a bit disturbing that the Autobots had a computer. I mean, seriously, what would their computer really be? It'd either be a robot that they didn't give a real body to, like some kind of robot gimp. Or like if the computer wasn't sentient, then it'd be like us deferring our intelligence functions to a monkey, since sentient machines must be more evolved than non-sentient machines. Ok, so that second option's actually kinda funny. Computers == Monkeys…that sure explains YouTube.

    I was gonna toss Synergy into the ring, but since she's already here, let's see… how about AM from "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream"? I wonder how obscure that won will be with this crowd, but you gotta admit, AM could kick Skynet's butt.

  10. Only six machines? Willing to bet one of them houses Nigeria's treasury records? Hmm, so where would that put the remaining 5?

  11. I can't believe no one has mentioned Holly from Red Dwarf (and not the awful female version). He had the most incredible IQ… but went completely senile trying to protect the last living human being.

  12. TIM from The Tomrrow People. Such a warm and friendly voice 🙂
    Mr. Smith from The Sarah Jane Adventures comes a close second.

  13. Cheers! I always meant to comment more often but it's usually before I go onstage or my own computer (who coincidentally is named Hal) will shut off the internet thus erasing what I have typed. We have an understanding now lol.

  14. How about NASA from the movie Space Camp.That one is mostly creepy because i don't think any of the PEOPLE knew the computer had a personality, but the little robot did.

  15. Robots are immediately disqualified because of their ability to commit direct actions on their subject. AI's have to dominate through psychological manipulation or turning on life support.

  16. Ooh, what about V*GER? It used that hot bald chick as its avatar.

    Or that computer from the original series that Kirk tricked into shutting itself down through a logical fallacy?

    "This unit cannot murder."
    "Murder is contrary to the laws of man and God."
    "But you have murdered. Scan the starship Excalibur, which you destroyed; is there life aboard?"
    "No life."
    "Because you murdered it. What is the penalty for murder?"
    "And how will you pay for your acts of murder?"
    "This… unit… must… die."

    Jeez, computer, just because there is no life on the Excalibur, that doesn't prove that you killed it. Any troll on the internet could argue that.

  17. Yeah, Daneel is great. Ditto the Foundation series. The way Asimov wove together the Robots, Galactic Empire, and Foundation series toward the end of his life was geek heaven!

  18. I dont know if I mentioned this on the podcast or not, but that movie (I was 7 0r 8 when it came out) had me convinced that going to Space Camp was my one way ticket to the moon. I was sure I could stow away.

  19. HAL will always be #1 but Skynet is a close second for favorite fictional computer simply because it produces killer robots that look like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robert Patrick.

  20. There is a group (Pendant Productions) doing a Batman podcast that has managed to find people with voice tallents that almost Exactly match those used for the cartoon. Simpply brilliant fan cast.

  21. Too bad about robots being out. There's no making an exception for everyone's favorite Buffy Bot? She slices, she dices, she screws your brains out daily.

  22. yes i just found the site so im reading back… to get caught up….. rest in peace mister Clark… you will be missed as for my favorite computer i'd have to say H.A.L. 9000 i love that calculating cpu with the wonderful voice… tell you the truth i cry every time i see him "die" in 2001: A Space Odyssey.. and for your record i'm a 19 year old male nerd who laughed when he read the news that some kid got killed in a fist fight

  23. Also just found your comic & been reading from the start. It's great & even a non-tech head like me can enjoy it. And learn. Rickroll, heh.

    Also casting a vote for TIM from the Tomorrow People. He was half computer half lava lamp.

    For some reason I keep believing HALis now working somewhere in HR alongside Mother from the Nostromo.

  24. Indeed welcome to HE. While <DONATE> you're here you might like <DONATE> to check out the forum <DONATE> and join in with the other FB's discussions. If <DONATE> you're not of a weak disposition <DONATE> might I suggest you check out <DONATE> the podcast for much hilarity. Once <DONATE> again welcome to the land of <DONATE> the FB we hope you enjoy <DONATE> your stay.

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