Two technicians servicing Multivac argue over whether or not the machine is truly intelligent and able to think. Multivac, however, supplies the answer on its own.
This short-short story was published in the March 1955 issue of Computers and Automation, and was reprinted in the April 30, 1957 issue of Science World. It was after the reprint that Robert Sherman Townes noticed it and wrote the Good Doctor. Asimov recounts the incident in Gold (pp. 310–311):
I once wrote a short-short which ended with a certain dramatic climax in the last sentence. Eventually, I received a letter from another writer whose story had been published before I wrote my story and who had made use of the same dramatic climax in his last sentence. What’s more, I had his story in an anthology in my library. I did not remember reading it, but I had had the opportunity to do so. The two stories, except for the climaxes, were completely different, but I promptly wrote the other author and told him tnat although he had my word that there was no conscious imitation, I would writhdraw the story from circulation and it would never again appear in any anthology, any collection, any form whatever—and it never has.
It was Ed Seiler who did the detective work to locate the other story. As he says, “I had no idea who the other author was or what was the title of the story that he wrote, until about a month ago, when I posted a query to rec.arts.sf.written. I think it took less than an hour for someone to reply with the answer. The other story was ‘Problem for Emmy,’ by Robert Sherman Townes, and appeared in Science-Fiction Thinking Machines, an anthology edited by Groff Conklin that also included a story by IA [“Robbie”]. ‘Question’ is a short Multivac story, but not a very good one. Its burial is no great loss."
Ed’s assessment is correct. Even had Townes’ story not beaten it to the punch, and although the theme it examines is interesting, it’s a weak story.