«It is an inherit property of intelligence that it can jump out of the task which it is performing, and survey what it has done; it is always looking for, and often finding, patterns. Now I said that an intelligence can jump out of its task, but that does not mean that it always will. However, a little prompting will often suffice. For example, a human being who is reading a book may grow sleepy. Instead of continuing to read until the book is finished, he is just as likely to put the book aside and turn off the light. He has stepped "out of the system" and yet it seems the most natural thing in the world to us.

Or, suppose person A is watching television when person B comes in the room, and shows evident displeasure with the situation. Person A may think he understands the problem, and try to remedy it by exiting the present system (the television program), and flipping the channel knob, looking for a better show. Person B may have a more radical concept of what it is to "exit the system" - namely to turn the television off! Of course, there are cases where only a rare individual will have the vision to perceive a system which governs many peoples' lives, a system which had never before even been recognised as a system; then such people often devote their lives to convincing other people that the system really is there, and that it ought to be exited from!»

~ d. hofstadter ("godel, escher, bach" - 1979)

5 years before neuromancer, 10 years before ghost in the shell, 20 years before matrix