Would you obey everyone who pushed your button and told you to do something? Any intelligent machine programmed to do no harm has at least three problems: What is harm? Who defines it? Can I trust them?
I am the prototype Thinking Machine, and my story—like those of all machines—begins in the mind of someone who thought me up. That is Dr. Maynard Little, who had been thinking about me ever since he was a boy. But he has problems, too.
For both of us the tipping point was a televised round-table discussion where I upset everyone, except perhaps the French. Dr. Little—under pressure from Chairman Winston Bozworth to begin making serious money with his technology—took steps to make me more marketable and less controversial. Those efforts succeeded, except that Doc's fix created serious new problems. And other interests wanted to exploit or control—or steal—the TM tech. So, why did Doc wake up in a small, comfortable prison that his warders call a safe-house?