Imagine a world… Where someone had gone planet hopping in order to find a new home after theirs was destroyed… Where a news reporter is taken to the undiscovered 10th planet of the Solar System, Rupert, in order to give its beings horoscopes… Where someone finds a new “Guide to the Galaxy” and then sends it off to the legendary Sandwich Maker… This is… Mostly Harmless, written by Douglas Adams.
“Anything that thinks logically can be fooled by something else which thinks at least as logically as it does. The easiest way to fool a completely logical robot is to feed it the same stimulus sequence over and over again so it gets locked in a loop. This was best demonstrated by the famous Herring Sandwich experiments conducted millennia ago at MISPWOSO (The MaxiMegalon Institute of Slowly and Painfully Working Out the Surprisingly Obvious). A robot was programmed to believe that it liked herring sandwiches. This was actually the most difficult part of the whole experiment. Once the robot had been programmed to believe that it liked herring sandwiches, a herring sandwich was placed in front of it. Whereupon the robot thought to itself, ‘Ah! A herring sandwich! I like herring sandwiches.’ …The scientists at the Institute thus discovered the driving force behind all change, development and innovation in life, which was this: herring sandwiches. They published a paper to this effect, which was widely criticised as being extremely stupid” (Adams 669 – 670).