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Arun Chinnachamy

I am a chemical Engineer from BITS-Pilani. Right now, I work as Technology Lead at MySmartPrice. This is just a place where I write about the things I work and think.

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Recently I came across a short story, The Last Question by Isaac Asimov. It is the favorite short story of Isaac Asimov himself. It was worth a read. So here is Isaac Asimov The Last Question Analysis.

The story is interesting and enters the black hole of Physics and Religion simultaneously. It is about “How mankind will evolve, pioneer in space travel and set foot in all the distant Galaxies with the help of Analog Computers (AC) like Multivac, Microvac, Galactic AC, Universal AC, Cosmic AC and AC” but still be daunted by the Question”.

In addition, the courage to publish this story (along with his other works) in the era in which it was written, is astounding. It is totally blasphemous, and perfect in every regard.

The E-Book of Isaac Asimov’s The Last Question can be downloaded by clicking here. Do not continue reading as it will take away all the fun. Complete the story first and comment your view. If you want to read more short stories by Isaac Asimov, check Isaac Asimov: The Complete Stories.

If you like this short story, You might want to check out other posts based on Isaac Asimov.

To know the recommended reading order of Isaac Asimov’s Robot, Galactic and Empire series, Visit Asimov Recommended reading order. To know more about the Robot Series Novels, Go to Robot Series Review page. To know about the reading order and review about Galactic Series novels, click here.

The Last Question Analysis

The Last question in the story was

Can entropy ever be reversed?

And the answer from the AC to the questioned person always was,

THERE IS INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER.

The story also shows us that how mankind will evolve. From trapping the energy of stars with 100% efficiency, Hyper-stellar travel, emigration to other Galaxies, Body-Mind separation and fusing the mind with computer in the end. The evolution of the AC is also mentioned as more complex next generation AC built by current AC and no Human know how they work. A Self correcting and Self Adjusting machine capable of learning and building its own predecessor seems to be as a Dooms day situation.

As the story is by Isaac Asimov, we can safely assume the AC is built with Three laws of Robotics at its core so it is incapable of causing harm to Humans.

The most interesting part of the story to me is the last section when all the minds are fused with AC to create Oneness. Here I would like to think of the AC as GOD for following reasons.

  • AC was in Hyperspace made of neither Matter nor Energy.
  • No Human Mind can conceive the idea of AC. They just follow it without questioning the reasoning.
  • Like any religion says, all the minds fused with AC and AC prevailed when none did including the whole universe.

Here to quote the Third verse of The Book of Genesis,

1:3 – And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Once AC gathered all the sufficient data, It unveiled the secrets of the Universe. He created the universe again. Here is the Paradigm Who came first? Man created AC and AC recreated the Universe. But who created the Universe in the first place?

If you also find the story interesting, Provide your Analysis of The Last Question in the comment section. If this short Story interests you, You may find the novels of Isaac Asimov fascinating.