In the Star Trek article, am I the only person to notice the flaw in the BASIC program he gives?
The Alien Probe of Star Trek IV
The programming of this probe is even more simple
than that of V'Ger, and could be written in four lines in
the BASIC programming language:
10. GOTO Earth
20. INPUT "I can has humpback whalez?" A$
30. IF A$="no" THEN GOTO 40
40. DESTROY EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING
I'm pretty sure this is not optimal design.
Indeed, it is not. But probably not in the way Scalzi intended: if you look carefully at line 30 you will see that the program will always get to line 40, no matter what answer is given to the question.