The Rochester Museum and Science Center is bringing back “The Last Question.”
The Strasenburgh Planetarium event—originally produced in the early 1970s—is a quiet, contemplative show that starts in 2061 and ends up trillions of years into the future. Humans ask incredibly sophisticated computers questions like, “What happens when all of the stars burn out?” And, “Can entropy be reversed.”
Written as a short story by Isaac Asimov in 1956, the story was inspired by the 1952 presidential election where a computer called Univac predicted that Dwight Eisenhower would beat opponent Adlai Stevenson after only a small amount of votes were counted. Asimov visited Rochester in 1972, the year the show was originally made, and gave a lecture at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Asimov asserted that humans should not be afraid of the power of computers to come.
“Mankind’s record in morality is so bad, I can’t imagine a machine being worse,” he said in his lecture. “(‘The Last Question’) was a terrific show; in fact it was this show that finally convinced me that ‘The Last Question’ was the best story I had ever done.”
At the end of the show, be aware that the cosmic computer gives a shocking answer to “The Last Question.”
See website for a full list of show times. rmsc.org