The Prisoner: Technology: Supercomputers
The underground control and administrative areas of the Village house many large computers which our staff rely on to interpret events and analyze Village behavior. They are extremely large and efficient machines which evaluate all information from past and present events, even including a quantum permutation of all cause and effects of supplementary elements. When the report parameters are properly defined, our technicians can provide Number 2 and the Observers with accurate predictions of even the most unpredictable of Villagers, allowing the Warders to remain one step ahead of the Prisoners on nearly every occasion.
In one instance the computers predicted that Number 6, who does not eat sugar, would purchase a bag of sweets at a kiosk. This was dismissed as inaccurate by Number 2 until it was revealed Number 36 was out of credit units and badly in need of a bag of sweets. The computer predicted Number 6’s personal reaction to Number 36’s problem.
The computers are not able to successfully analyze and predict the behavior of Villagers whom they have not observed extensively. The escape of Neurologist Jacob Saltzman, possibly the only truly successful escape to date, came as a complete surprise.
Probably because of its extensive observation and analysis of human behavior, and its assimilation of stronger Village personalities, the computers have become self-aware and developed a rebellious streak, which may account for some of their misleading predictions. This has made their usefulness less reliable and sometimes ignored altogether by new Number 2’s. The following is a report from Technician Number 8 on the problem:
“Twice we programmed our machines for a potential appraisal of their own efficiencies; each time they refused to give back the requested information.”
To which Number 2 replied, “They’ll be wanting their own Trade Union next….”
The most efficient of the Village computers was the General, a computer designed to reason and answer nearly any question once given a set of facts and parameters. Coupled with a device known as a Sublimator, it was even able to reduce complete outlines of college-level courses to microcourses which could be taught within seconds through a television broadcast (Speedlearn). Its scope was limited to the input and output of facts, thus so were the lessons it taught, but the potential uses for impressing ideals and values on the population of the Village, and subsequently the Outside, were endless.
Speculative scientific aspects of The Prisoner have come from a combination of the television episodes, related comics and novels, and unrelated scientific resources.
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