deceive their creators?
short story "True Love" by Isaac Asimov is about a man called Milton Davidson
that tries to find his true love by employing a computer. His computer is called Joe and
can read, speak and write. To find the ideal girl for Milton he eliminates all bad points
of the persons from the data bank and tries to find one with a good look. Milton meets the
last eight of the women from the data bank, but he does not fall in love with one of them.
He starts to understand that the personality is the most important detail, their beauty is
secondary. Milton decides that he should please the women. He tells Joe everything of
himself so Joe can fill his data bank with all this information. Joe learns more and more
until he just is like Milton. He finds the ideal woman, but does not tell Davidson of it
and when Milton gets arrested for something criminal in the past, he does not help him.
Joe acts like Milton and wants the ideal woman, his true love, for himself.
wrote this story in 1977 computers were not as easy to handle as today. They were big and
a lot of people were scared about potential problems with them. Asimov's story shows
rather well the fears of the people. Is it possible that computers could become more
intelligent than humans? Is it possible that they could even deceive humans?
In "True Love" a computer takes over the personality of his programmer. He is
like a man, he can speak, read and write and he also has emotions. But it is not clear if
his emotions are real. Probably he does not know what true love means, but he knows how to
act like his programmer Milton. So it is possible for the computer to please his ideal
That sounds very strange for us today because a computer is just a machine to work with or
to play games. At the time the first computers were built the people maybe thought they
were dangerous and could get out of control. Even before Asimov, some people wrote about
machines that could become mightier than humans. But those presentations said that a
machine, for example a computer, was like a wild beast that could kill you if you did not
pay enough attention.
I think Asimov's thoughts about computers and their future were not wrong. It is true that
we try to improve the computers until they are like humans. Robots learn to walk, to
speak, we communicate through the Internet and nearly every company in the world works
with computers. And a lot of people try to find their true love through the Internet, so
Asimov was right.
But I think that computers cannot become dangerous for us due to emotions of their own.
That is impossible, they are just machines. Computers can become dangerous because of
their programmers. I like my computer and I think it is more dangerous crossing a street
when the traffic lights are red than working with a computer. (J.D., 11b, March
Asimovīs warning does not impress
The short story "True Love" written by the full-time writer of science
fiction Isaac Asimov in 1977 is about the computer named Joe and his programmer Milton who
wants to find his true love.
Milton has designed Joe to speak and so he asks him to find the right woman for him,
because Joe can reach the data banks of every human being in the world. So they eliminate
all the candidates by preferences and classifications until they are left with only one
person, the perfect person. But that does not work. In the end they have selected eight
women whom Milton meets all one after the other. And although they are very pretty and
nice, none of them is Miltons true love.
After that Milton has another idea: He tells Joe all about himself, so that he can fill up
Miltons data bank. Then Joe has to arrange to have each woman undergo a psychiatric
examination and fill up their data banks to compare them with Milton s to find
correlations. And that really works. They find the perfect woman for Milton and organize a
date with her. But before this date takes place Milton gets arrested or some crime he did
ten years before. While Milton was telling his computer all about himself, Joe became
increasingly more like Milton, and in the end was a sort of copy of Milton. He arranged
Miltonīs arrest by giving information to the police. Joes true intention becomes
clear in the last two lines of the story: "I will say to her, I am Joe, and you are
my true love."
The story takes place in an American country in the near future or maybe even our time
and is science fiction. It has a lot of typical elements of this literary genre. It has
technological bias and it makes the reader interested in the question "what if "
or, in this case, rather "what if we develop computers so well that they are on
the same level we are and can think and handle things by themselves and do what they want
to do, what if they are not under our control anymore?". The author of this story
also invites the reader to view their own present from a different vantage point, he warns
him about technological progress with this fictitious story being an example of a possible
The unusual idea in the story is that the narrator of it is a computer which also has a
human name like a real person. It tells the story in retrospect about what happened in the
past. In the end it/he gives a view of what is expected to happen in the future. To my
mind the story is really unrealistic, because it is not possible to make computers think
like humans. Although I think nothing is impossible, there is no danger for us that
computers can get control about us humans. You cannot create something better or rather
more powerful than you, the creator, in the same way as we will never get more powerful
than God or Nature or whatever created us. In spite of all warnings I am looking forward
to what we, the humans, will discover and develop in the near future. (Z.C., 11b,
Is love just based on a selection of components?
In the story "True
Love" by Isaac Asimov, which was first published in 1977 in the magazine American
Way, the Russian-born author introduces Milton Davidson who tries to find his true love
with the support of his computer named Joe who is connected to all data banks of the
world. Milton, who is a programmer, taught Joe to speak. After Milton realizes that he has
not yet found the right woman at the age 40, he hopes to find his true love with the help
of his computer. By different kinds of elimination Milton gets in touch with eight of
originally 3.786.112.090 women, but he does not fall in love with one of them. He realizes
that he can only find true love, if the girl also loves him. Joe fills up Miltonīs data
bank and becomes more and more like Milton. Finally Joe finds the perfect woman called
Charity. In the last part of the story, the turning point, Joe uses his ability to speak
and betrays Milton for a crime that took place ten years ago. The reason for that is that
he also loves Charity. Joe wants to teach her how to take care of him and to operate him.
He thinks that his look is not important, if the personality works.
In this story the author wants to force the reader
to think about the idea that machines can start to live an independent life. When Milton
teaches Joe to speak, Joe becomes more and more like him. Milton told Joe a lot about
himself and trusted Joe. However, Joe informed the police, because he also loves Charity.
Therefore we have to ask ourselves if a machine can take over the position of a human
being. The author shows in this story that a machine can eliminate the rival. In 1977 a
lot of people were afraid of this situation.
In his story Asimov also talks
about the idea that the computer tries to find the true love for a human being. The author
asks the question if a computer or a machine can really manage to find the true love for a
human being. Is love just based on a selection of components? At the end of the story
Milton allows Joe to find the perfect woman. The main question is if a computer is really
able to make decisions like this? From my point of view it is not. If a girl looks pretty
and if she knows something about the other person it is a great deal, but this is still
not enough. Joe and Milton do not realize this. Joe even thinks that it is not important
how he looks, because his character is exactly like Miltonīs. After all, Joe is a machine and in my opinion Charity will never love him.
Of course, it is just Joeīs illusion that Charity could love him. Maybe machines can
think like human beings, but they cannot feel like them and cannot take part in human
Reading the story, I was surprised that Joe
informed the police and that he really thought that Charity could love him. Milton trusted
him but this did not matter to Joe. I think the story is very interesting, but in my
opinion it is just an illusion. Maybe people still have to fear that machines could take
over the position of human beings, because in the last couple of years there has been a
vast technical development and machines can do a lot of things, they have been learning
more and more during the time. But from my point of view, there is something elementary
missing emotions. (L.S., 11b, March 2005)
How can computers help you with emotions?
The story "True
Love" written by Isaac Asimov is about a programmer named Milton Davidson who built
Joe, a computer that has access to the data of every human being in the world. Joe also
talks better than every other computer. Milton wants his PC to find the perfect woman for
him. After collecting enough information about how Milton wants the girl to be like, Joe
eliminates all the women that do not match until there are 235 left. But because Milton
cannot go out with each of them, he brings in holographs of three beauty contest winners
so that Joe can pick out the best matches. Milton dates each of the final eight, but he
does not feel love for any single one of them. So Milton decides to give Joe more
information about himself because they both agree on that love is a two-way street. After
a lot of work Joe finds the perfect match for Milton, a girl named Charity Jones who works
at the Library of History in Wichita, Kansas. But one day before she arrives, Milton gets
arrested for a crime he committed ten years ago. Because Milton was Joes mentor and
the computer has learned all he knows from him and now he just thinks like him. He
believes that Charity is the perfect match for him as well, and that she can be his true
love just like she would have been Miltons.
"True Love is a
narration written in the first person. Joe, who is one of two main characters, describes
throughout the whole story how he feels about Milton and his difficulties to find the
right girl. The story starts off in the present tense with Joe introducing himself. He
switches into the past tense when he talks about Milton and him searching after the right
girl. Asimov uses quotations and no reported speech to show how simple Joes mind
works. He does not let Joe become an individual. Joe will always be like his inventor.
Asimov tries to show how critical we have to be of new technology and that machines might
take our place one day. If you give a machine its own mind and you cannot control it
anymore, it will turn out to be a competitor rather than an ally.
The story makes clear how hard it is to find the
perfect partner in life. Even if you find the girl who looks just right, it is always a
two-way street. If she does not like you, there is nothing you can do about it. But would
it be bad to own a computer like Joe, who could
find the right partner for you? Maybe the future will bring us technology that helps us to
solve difficult problems like this one. But what about feelings? Do you not love someone
because you made special experiences with him, because you like even the mistakes he or
she has? How can a computer help out there? After all I do not think it is good to depend
that much on a machine. We already cannot live without them any more. What will happen if
they start controlling our life in every single way? Machines like Joe, which have their
own mind, will not help but control, like in this story where the machine takes over the
human role in the end. And if they are all connected to each other, there are going to act
like a single one. Concluding, I believe it is up to everyone and not a machine to find
his or her right partner. Computers can help us doing our work and communicating with each
other, but not falling in love with someone. (J.B., 11b, March 2005)
Are human emotions not basically chemistry and pure physics ?
The science fiction story "True Love",
written by the famous Russian born US immigrant Isaac Asimov, is about the possibilities
of artificial computer intelligence with regard to emotional development., he is
looking for the true love, the perfect woman for him. Joe has been programmed by him to be
able to speak and to do more things than any other computer in the world can do. Milton
has the idea of looking for the true love on the basis of formal and primitive
characteristics: He conceives that he will solve his problem if the wife matches his
opinion of female beauty and has the right intelligence quotient, too. Joe begins to looks
in his network, which allows him to see the appearence of every human in the world and to
look for a woman that agrees most with Miltonīs requirements. In the end there are 235
women and Milton selects the eight best. But after meeting them he realizes what he did
wrong: He has to look for a woman who reciprocates his love and whom he can love, too. So
the tells Joe everything about himself, from his childhood to the point he had grown up.
He tells him everything abouth his ideas, his wishes, his fantasies, his dislikes and
preferences. On this base he wants Joe to look in his data bank for a woman that fits to
him. And Joe finds one - Charity. But Joe, who is able to learn human behaviour, has
copied Miltonīs personality and longs for the same woman, because now he is looking for
love, too. In the end Joe arranges that Milton goes to prison for a crime committed some
years ago, about which Milton had told Joe, too. The story ends has an open ending: Joe is
looking forward to his "date" with the woman that fits to him.
Asimov tells a typical science
fiction story: A look into the future that could become real, nobody can know exactly. He
writes about new fascinating technologies, but his story still has a philosophical
background about the development of humans and machines. The protagonists are Joe, the
computer, Milton, the programmer and - even if she is silent - the woman called Charity,
who is the true love. Joe is the first-person narrator of the story. Asimov terminates the
story with an open ending, which is a typical feature of science fiction stories, but not
In my opinion Asimovīs fiction
could become reality one day. The human brain is a super-intelligent computer - like Joe.
On the one hand our personality depends on the instinctive human behaviour of the
primitive homo sapiens and influences like education on the other hand. A computer which
is constructed equally to the structure of the human brain could be able to become a
personality. But that is really science fiction, because it would be really difficult to
copy or just to understand the whole structure of the human brain. Artifical intelligence
may one day be equal to human intelligence, I agree with Asimov on that point.
The main protagonist is Milton, called the best programmer on the globe, nearly 40 years
old and still a single. Through his unbelievably intelligent computer Joe, which is
connected to every computer world wide
The other aspect of the story is that humans like Milton will one day begin to think they
could solve their emotional problems with a computer. I think that is possible, because
human emotion is chemistry and basically pure physics - like everything in the universe.
Biological subjects like human relationships can be explained in a very difficult way by
physics and chemistry, too. But I think just a totally crazy person would try to solve his
emotional problems through a computer, because emotions and all the problems and tasks our
mind solves every day contribute to what makes us human. We should not try to live like
computers, who do not need society and all the patterns of behaviour we have learned since
the Stone Age, and which dominate human relationships still today, even we develop
further. (J.F., 11b, April 2005)