General Weider said, “I find this atmosphere of mystery childish.”
“You won't in a moment,” said Shuman. “This is not something we can leak to the firstcomer. Aub!” There was something imperative about his manner of biting off that one-syllable name, but then he was a great Programmer speaking to a mere technician. “Aub! How much is nine times seven?”
Aub hesitated a moment. His pale eyes glimmered with a feeble anxiety.
“Sixty-three,” he said.
Congressman Brant lifted his eyebrows. “Is that right?”
“Check it for yourself, Congressman.”
The congressman took out his pocket computer, nudged the milled edges twice, looked at its face as it lay there in the palm of his hand, and put it back. He said, “Is this the gift you brought us here to demonstrate. An illusionist?”
“More than that, sir. Aub has memorized a few operations and with them he computes on paper.”
This story has been in the back of my mind the past few days as I struggle with The Question. Are we headed towards a time when we blindly accept what the computer tells us?
The story itself isn't that long and is worth reading. I can wait. I have this slide ruler I can play with while you read …