A Bit of Free Sci-Fi: “The end of Science”

By Jimmy Rogers
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

As a scientist (or at least a scientist-in-training), I tend to think of the physical world and human curiosity as eternal bedfellows.  As long as there are other worlds to ponder, be they huge or microscopic, we will do what we have always done: “Seek out and explore new worlds.”  

The other day, I stumbled upon a piece of science fiction that does not doubt human curiosity, but instead, the physical world. Nik Papageorgiou’s short story, “The end of Science,” is set thousands of years from now, when humans have answered all the big questions and now have only small quandries to ponder.  In fact, there is only one scientist left – sitting in an enormous bank of AI-driven computers.

After reading it, I would love to hear some feedback on what YOU think of Papageorgiou’s story and what the ending means.

[via LitLab | Picture source: Flickr]

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6 Responses to A Bit of Free Sci-Fi: “The end of Science”

  1. I am not satisfied by the ending, I want the answer to the question.

    The story is realistic and I agree with most of the facts established there although there are quite a few points that can't be true since we're going in many more directions in science than stated in the short story.

    I do believe that at some point we might have no more questions to answer in regards to our universe but our questions source will never get depleted. So I would come to think that the AI told the last scientist that there were more questions that needed answering weither it was directly or indirectly said to the human, he couldn't believe it since he was convinced that we had answered them all. Which would explain his reaction "That can't be right".

  2. See, I think I want the ending to be that the machine told her that there are no more questions. The human scientist is the one who casts doubt on that statement. I don't think it fits with what she says very well though.

    Hence my confusion.

  3. I would like the machine to answer that way as well, so his spirit can get a break and rest in peace but the scientist seems to have been unsatisfied with the answer and says that it can't be true and wants to know some more which necessarily means that more questions need to be asked which might have been already answered or not… But this story is kind of unfinished since it lacks a real chute at the end and leaves us on our own hungry desire to learn more about it…

  4. Surely the machine asks "huh" thus asking a question, thus there can never really be an end to questioning, perhaps only an end to supposedly relevant questioning.

  5. I like the idea of the machine asking/saying "- huh." but with the dashes in place it doesn't seem like that was the author's intent. Of course the question the scientist asks is in fact another question.

    "Are there any other questions to answer?" Answer "Yes, the question to answer is: Are there any other questions to answer?" So, "Are there any other questions to answer?" Answer "Yes, the question to answer is: Are there any other questions to answer?" So, "Are there any other questions to answer?" Answer "Yes, the question to answer is: Are there any other questions to answer?"

    Just kidding.