TALKING with my old chum HAL 9000 the other day, I was pleased when he took a break from planning the extermination of the human race to help me try and solve the most important question of these momentous days.

No, not ‘is Donald Trump as off-piste as his hairstyle?’, not ‘is Theresa May making Brexit up as she goes along?’, and not ‘is Jacob Rees-Mogg real?’, or ‘will the SFA ever get anything right?’ because you don’t need a Sinclair ZX Spectrum to help you answer those questions – as you can see, I am nearly as out of date as Jakey R-M.

No, the big question of the day is this – was it a try?

You will by now be realising that I am talking about the TMO’s decision not to award Gareth Anscombe of Wales a try during Saturday’s match against England. Anscombe chased the ‘knee’ ahead – we’ll come back to that - by Steff Evans and beat Anthony Watson to the touchdown, no question.

It was a howler of a mistake to make, but I have some sympathy with TMO Glenn Newman as he was sitting in a stadium replete with English fans who might have lynched him had he not disallowed it.

It’s only human to be influenced by your surroundings, and as it was a genuine 50-50 call on video – though not on still frame which wasn’t available to Newman – it was easier to say ‘no try’. Where Newman went badly wrong was his explanation that he thought England’s Anthony Watson grounded the ball first – that was just plain wrong from any angle.

He should just have said ‘it is not a clear grounding’ and therefore the try must be disallowed – there is no such law as ‘benefit of the doubt to the attacker’ in such situations. His explanation in the heat of the moment will cost the New Zealander plenty, as I expect World Rugby will not require his services for a while.

HAL 9000’s verdict was clear and clinical – he’s like that all the time nowadays – that Anscombe grounded the ball first. But HAL being HAL, he then had to go and point out that it was not a try as the ball had touched Steff Evans’ fingers and therefore the correct decision should have been a scrum to England for a knock on.

There were plenty other questionable decisions at the weekend, but none caused quite such a clamour as Newman’s TMO call against Wales. Working through the replays of the three games, I was struck by the realisation that computer technology would have assisted referees and their assistants and TMOs - and such technology is available, and it doesn’t have to be of the order of HAL 9000.

The offside line in rugby, for instance, is such a variable that it really needs a computer to keep up with play. By allying a basic laptop with a software programme to a video camera, a TMO could spot offside in an instant and tell the referee exactly who is offside in a fraction of a second. Such a device would transform rugby for the better, because as HAL 9000 would tell you, there were so many players offside at the weekend that it has now become quite ridiculous – it is one of the real curses of the modern game, and referees are just not able to keep up.

But should we encourage more use of technology in rugby? They have gone quite crazy about it in American football, though not just for umpiring purposes. Have you heard of the new helmets that automatically register data about head impacts? Or Mobile Virtual Players for improving tackling? Or even HighlandTight, a multi-sensored football that tells you if it’s not being held correctly during training? And much more besides.

Some or all of these could be used in rugby, and would help players get better, but could any technology teach a player how to run 70m and make the perfect try-scoring tackle as Keith Earls did against Italy?

What computer could ever train a player like Huw Jones to run that perfect angle for a wonderful try as he did against France? I suspect that ‘computer’ was called Townsend, for it was just the sort of angle that he used to exploit when he was a player. Let’s see much more of that, please, as it can cut even the stoutest defence to ribbons.

I have no doubt the Scottish squad train using the best new technology, which must include a scrummaging machine of the highest order because apart from one early problem, the Scottish set scrum was superb on Saturday.

We’ll need that against England for certain.

There’s no software either to teach players how to judge the bounce of a rugby ball. It’s just instinct and luck and on Saturday the luck was with the French for Teddy Thomas’s second try when the ball so cruelly bounced away from Greig Laidlaw.

Nor can anything inanimate give players the two qualities that won the match for Scotland – experience and, above all, character. Especially at Murrayfield, no longer are Scotland pushovers for anyone, and to come from behind against a tough French side and grind out a victory was something to behold.

In the starting XVs at Murrayfield, Scotland’s back line had more caps in total than the whole French side, and only the master playmaker Laidlaw was the wrong side of 30 which augurs well for the future. Experience told, as did sheer guts, and no computer can ever give you those.

So by all means let’s have more technology to ensure that refereeing mistakes are kept to a minimum, but always remember it’s the human touch that wins games.