The Ultimate Computer stood at the end of the Ultimate Computer Company’s production line. At which point the guided tour eventually arrived. The Ultimate Computer Company’s top salesman stepped forward to give his prepared demonstration of the Ultimate Computer’s abilities.
“This”, he said, “is the Ultimate Computer. It will give an intelligent answer to any question you may care to ask it”.
Skeptical about the Ultimate Computer’s abilities, one man from the tour named Smartass Sam stepped forward and spoke into the Ultimate Computer’s microphone.
“Where is my father?” he asked.
There was a whirring of wheels and flashing of lights (that the manufacturers always use to impress lay people), and then a *ding* as a little card popped out.
On it were printed the words: “Fishing off Florida”.
Smartass Sam smirked and then laughed in smug satisfaction.
“Actually,”, said Sam, “my father is dead. Your Ultimate Computer is a flop!”
It had been a trick question!!
The salesman, carefully chosen for his ability to think fast on his feet, immediately replied that he was sorry the answer was unsatisfactory, but as computers were precise, perhaps he might care to rephrase his question and try again?
Smartass Sam thought once more, went up to the Ultimate Computer and this time said into the microphone: “Where is my mother’s husband?”
Again there was a whirring of wheels and a flashing of lights.
And again there was a *ding* as the little card popped out. Printed on it were the words: “Dead. But your father is still fishing off Florida”.