The pulse of the people

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Science  03 Feb 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6324, pp. 470-472
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6324.470

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  • RE: The Pulse of the People by John Bohannon

    The predictive science of psychohistory in Isaac Asimov's Foundation science fiction stories, mentioned in John Bohannon's article, relied upon the actions of quadrillions of people in a galaxy-wide empire. The first of these stories was published in 1942. In a short story by Isaac Asimov, "Franchise" (1955), a supercomputer chose the winner of presidential elections based upon answers given to a questionnaire by a single "voter," who was selected by the computer as representative of the entire electorate. Great strides in predictive science were thus made in a relatively short time, in the mind of the "Good Doctor" at least.

    Competing Interests: None declared.

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