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Q: What's the short story/mini-movie? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: What's the short story/mini-movie?
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Movies and Film
Asked by: crzyltlman-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 02 Jan 2003 23:16 PST
Expires: 01 Feb 2003 23:16 PST
Question ID: 136880
When I was in middle school, which would be around 1992-1993, my class
watched a short movie or perhaps a TV show episode (probably 30
minutes long) that I think was adapted from a short story.  It may
have been something by Ray Bradbury or something on the Twilight Zone,
however, that's just speculation based on the plot.

The plot dealt with cause and effect, I believe, and went something
like this.  There was a large supercomputer that tested and analyzed
everyone's personalities.  It could determine when someone would
commit and crime, so that the person could be arrested before the
crime was committed (sounds a little like Minority Report to me).  The
computer predicted a man would commit a crime--a murder I think--and
so the police went to arrest him.  The man attempted to escape the
police, and in doing so, committed the murder.  The idea, I believe,
is that he would not have committed the crime had the computer not
predicted the crime.

So the question is, what's the name of the story/movie/show and who
wrote it?  Where can it be found for viewing?

Thanks in advance!
Subject: Re: What's the short story/mini-movie?
Answered By: juggler-ga on 03 Jan 2003 02:10 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the film you saw was
probably an adaptation of Isaac Asimov's "All the Troubles of the
World" (1958). In that story, a computer called Multivac predicts
crime and has people arrested before they commit the crimes.

See this description from the web page "Isaac Asimov's Books":

"Ben Manners' father has been arrested—Multivac has been programmed to
analyze every individual human’s psyche and prevent them from
committing crimes before they actually do so; Ben’s father is accused
of being on the verge of committing some horrible crime, but nobody
says what it is. As Ben sets out to clear his father’s name, it turns
out that Multivac is manipulating him, since it is contemplating the
commission of a horrible crime itself."

See also this Usenet post about the story, archived by Google Groups:

Although the plot differs slightly from your description (the accused
"criminal" was apparently not charged with murder), the fact that
there is 22-minute film of this story that is geared toward school
video collections strongly suggests that this is the film that you saw
in middle school.

See the catalog entry for the 1978 film at Indiana University:

The video of "All the Troubles of the World" is for sale from a

search strategy: google groups: "short story", computer, predict,

I hope this is the right story. If it's not, please use the "request
clarification" feature to let me know. Thanks.

Clarification of Answer by juggler-ga on 03 Jan 2003 02:28 PST
Thank you very much for the generous tip.
crzyltlman-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
Brilliant!  Having read the provided links, I am confident this is the
answer to the nostalgic conundrum which has bothered me off and on for
so many years.

I had forgotten about the implications of the computer's attempted
suicide, but am glad that the details I could remember apparently
helped lead to the correct answer.

The research time and mental anguish saved (for me) is certainly worth
more than the offered compensation.  Excellent work!

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