Feeling Of Power By Asimov What would happen if technology became so advanced that people did not need to compute for themselves, and over time eventually forgot that there ever was a time when they did? Isaac Asimov must have asked himself this question, and wrote, the classic short story, “The Feeling of Power.” He wrote this to warn everyone not to rely solely on computers, and the dangers of “forgetting” our mathematical skills. Since everyone has lost the ability to do math in their heads, computers now run everything including the war against Deneb. Aub has taught himself how to do math by studying how the parts of antique computers work. This was just a hobby for Aub, but to Jehan Shuman, a profound programmer, it is a way to regain control of mathematics. As soon as Jehan discovered Aub’s talent, he quickly set up a meeting with General Weider and Aub. When the General was first introduced to Aub’s ability to multiply numbers by hand he was skeptical.
He thought it was possible that Aub had simply memorized a few calculations, so he tried to trick him; but Aub really had mastered the process of multiplication on paper. General Weider and Aub were not thinking about using Aub’s talent for the same purposes. Aub was not looking at the “big picture” like the General was. Aub simply thought they could teach mankind how to calculate in their head and on paper, while also reducing the reliability on computers. On the other hand, General Weider was thinking about how useful this new knowledge could be to help win the war against Deneb. He also thought this new way of calculation could save money, regain control, and offer unlimited possibilities for man.
Aub could not stand the fact that his discovery could lead to missiles being flown by men. This would only lead to their ultimate death, and the destruction of many others. Aub had never imagined his knowledge could have such a great effect on the war, and this was the total opposite effect he had desired. He thought his ideas would open up new job opportunities for people, instead of computers doing all the work. Aub felt that he could not live with himself knowing he contributed to the death of others, so he sadly decided to commit suicide.
The death of this incredible genius and caring sole was a tragedy. Aub only wanted to help mankind, not create another way to harm them. If General Weider had not been so set on using Aub’s talents for the war against Deneb, maybe Aub could have lived to see all of mankind learn “graphitics.” It seems as though, whenever people come up with new ideas and inventions, they always end up being manipulated for an evil cause, instead of for the well being of everyone.