The Ultimate Computer stood at the end of the Ultimate Computer Company’s production line as the guided tour arrived.
The salesman stepped forward to give his prepared demo. “This,” he said, “is the Ultimate Computer. It will give an intelligent answer to any question you ask it.”
At which a doubting customer stepped forward and spoke into the Ultimate Computer’s microphone. “Where is my father”?
There was a whirring of wheels and the screen read: “Fishing off Florida.”
The smart-aleck customer laughed. “Actually,” he said, “my father is dead!”
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?
The customer thougt a bit, went to the Ultimate Computer and this time said, “Where is my mother’s husband?”
Again there was a whirring of wheels and a flashing of lights before the message popped up on the monitor: “Dead. But your father is still fishing off Florida.”