ROBOT: HAL 9000
QUOTE: “The 9000 series is the most reliable computer ever made. No 9000 computer has ever made a mistake or distorted information. We are all, by any practical definition of the words, fullproof and incapable of error.”
—The HAL 9000 computer answering a question about his vast abilities in an interview.
In Stanley Kubrick’s epic sci-fi classic, HAL 9000 is the central computer in control of every aspect of the spaceship. HAL gets into a power struggle with the ship’s captain, Dave Bowman, after making a tiny little computing error. HAL, a model of artificial intelligence, claims to be so immeasurably perfect that any mistake on his part weighs heavy in the eyes of the crew; they come to believe that their onboard version of the world’s most perfect computer is actually a lemon. It’s when they plot to disconnect him that they get a full display of crazed emotion from the big brain of the ship. Speaking in his signature monotone, HAL explains his mutiny to Dave: “This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.”
HAL’s AI-gone-awry was just the beginning of the computer as villain. Decades later, HAL’s fingerprints can be found on films from Strange Brew to The Matrix. Now that’s reliable.
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