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Old May 6 2011, 10:27 PM   #1
Gov Kodos
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HAL: a Diagnosis?

I did enjoy 2010's answer to HAL's malfuntion in 2001 and thought of that when I came across this article. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0505124002.htm

I'm really not sure I'd be happy to have a computer as in the movie, which might argue a course of action. Of course, we don't know that HAL's arguing couldn't be over-ridden by outright command and more than likely can be (or ought to be) but the article was interesting to m as computers gain greater sophistication. The movie was making its own heavy handed political statement, but something that could have been more so could have been to deal with machine intelligence. Chandra arguing that HAL is a true sentient, others seeing it as a glorified calculator.
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Old May 6 2011, 10:55 PM   #2
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Re: HAL: a Diagnosis?

I think that's the problem with any fictional depiction of AI. The creators would simply put an off switch of some sort in there, and the AI could never ever take control of that switch.

And it's also interesting that as soon a machine gets intelligent, it always becomes bad. It's an overused cliché.
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Old May 6 2011, 11:04 PM   #3
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Re: HAL: a Diagnosis?

It was the folks tampering with HAL's programming causing the trouble that I liked in 2010, rather than it being the evil machine. I wished the film could have gotten further from it and gotten more of Chandra's perspective. The film did make him seem more New Age hippy than I cared for, but overall I liked the character. He and HAL make an interesting arc that could have brought more interesting drama to the film than the Cold War politics did. I recall the novel eschewed a lot of the politics by acknowledging the astronauts couldn't afford it being out in space as they were.
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Old May 6 2011, 11:29 PM   #4
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Re: HAL: a Diagnosis?

There were aspects of Chandra's interactions with HAL and SAL that were really nice and subtle, and that I'm sure most of the mainstream audience missed. One of my favorite parts of the movie is that Chandra assures SAL that she will dream when shut down because all sentient beings do; then at the end when HAL asks if he will dream, Chandra chokes up and replies, "I don't know."
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Old May 6 2011, 11:40 PM   #5
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Re: HAL: a Diagnosis?

Those were touching moments. Those moments with Chandra help elevate the movie more than the now archaic Cold War tropes did even then. I wish more had been done to create a thematic pairing of HAL and Chandra with the Monolith and its hand in the creation of intelligence on Earth and Europa.
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Old May 7 2011, 12:31 AM   #6
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Re: HAL: a Diagnosis?

Gov Kodos wrote: View Post
I'm really not sure I'd be happy to have a computer as in the movie, which might argue a course of action. Of course, we don't know that HAL's arguing couldn't be over-ridden by outright command and more than likely can be (or ought to be)
I'm pretty sure Dave Bowman sitting in a pod like a tool commanding "Open the pod bay doors, Hal!" while Hal kept him locked out and basically said "Nyah Nyah! You'll never take me alive!" is a pretty good indicator that outright commands don't mean excrement if the AI is determined enough.
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Old May 7 2011, 12:42 AM   #7
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Re: HAL: a Diagnosis?

Admiral2 wrote: View Post
Gov Kodos wrote: View Post
I'm really not sure I'd be happy to have a computer as in the movie, which might argue a course of action. Of course, we don't know that HAL's arguing couldn't be over-ridden by outright command and more than likely can be (or ought to be)
I'm pretty sure Dave Bowman sitting in a pod like a tool commanding "Open the pod bay doors, Hal!" while Hal kept him locked out and basically said "Nyah Nyah! You'll never take me alive!" is a pretty good indicator that outright commands don't mean excrement if the AI is determined enough.
I should be clearer to mean that Chandra, feeling sure of HAL's mental health at the crisis of 2010, felt HAL was unlikely to disobey if ordered outright. He knew HAL would ask what was going on since radical change was happening, but it didn't mean that HAL would continue to do something or try to kill the crew off as a means to complete his mission as had happened in the first film.
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Old May 7 2011, 06:03 AM   #8
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Re: HAL: a Diagnosis?

If your a fan of 2001, 2010, 2061, and 3001, then check out this site. It's very informative on the classic science fiction movies and its excellent sequels(be they movie or book).

http://2001aspaceodyssey.ning.com/
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Old May 7 2011, 06:35 AM   #9
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Re: HAL: a Diagnosis?

If you'll notice from HAL's comments in the original film, he was trying to give Dave and Frank subtle hints that things weren't right. This is because, as we would later learn in 2010, HAL had been ordered to conceal the truth of the mission from them. So HAL was trying to clue them in as best he could, so they'd investigate and find out on their own.
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Old May 7 2011, 09:40 AM   #10
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Re: HAL: a Diagnosis?

Gov Kodos wrote: View Post
Those were touching moments. Those moments with Chandra help elevate the movie more than the now archaic Cold War tropes did even then. I wish more had been done to create a thematic pairing of HAL and Chandra with the Monolith and its hand in the creation of intelligence on Earth and Europa.
One of my favorite parts of 2061 was the "Trinity," when Dr Floyd joined Bowman and HAL in the damaged Monolith. It looked like they would become the guardians and cultivators of Europa. I was disappointed when ACC abandoned this plotline in 3001.
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Old May 7 2011, 02:06 PM   #11
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Re: HAL: a Diagnosis?

That's a shame, but I am often unsurprised by authors taking very different turns with their works when they revisit them after long periods of time. I might have to search the books up.
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Old May 7 2011, 03:35 PM   #12
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Re: HAL: a Diagnosis?

They're pretty good, except 3001 gets a bit silly in places. I remember there being a velociraptor butler or something like that.
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Old May 7 2011, 04:33 PM   #13
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Re: HAL: a Diagnosis?

Gov Kodos wrote: View Post
It was the folks tampering with HAL's programming causing the trouble that I liked in 2010, rather than it being the evil machine.
People tend to think that explanation was invented for 2010, but in fact it was right there in the original novel version of 2001: A Space Odyssey. It goes to show what an odd pairing Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke were. The two got together and agreed to develop a joint project, a film and a book written side-by-side and influencing each other, but while Kubrick chose to make his version mysterious and experiential and give no explanations for anything that happened, Clarke (true to his usual form) explained everything in great detail. It was always the intent that HAL's conflicting orders gave him a nervous breakdown, but Kubrick simply didn't bother to say so in his version of the story.


Admiral2 wrote: View Post
I'm pretty sure Dave Bowman sitting in a pod like a tool commanding "Open the pod bay doors, Hal!" while Hal kept him locked out and basically said "Nyah Nyah! You'll never take me alive!" is a pretty good indicator that outright commands don't mean excrement if the AI is determined enough.
That's not how it works. The problem is that HAL was built to give accurate information, but programmed by the mission supervisors with commands that required him to lie to his crew about the nature of the mission. It was a fundamental conflict that he couldn't resolve, and so it drove him insane. For one thing, there's a difference between commands encoded into HAL's program, forcing him to do something against his nature, and verbal instructions issued by his crew. For another, once HAL had been driven mad by those programmed compulsions, he wasn't in a suitable mental state to heed his crew's instructions anyway.
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Old May 7 2011, 06:31 PM   #14
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Re: HAL: a Diagnosis?

RJDiogenes wrote: View Post
There were aspects of Chandra's interactions with HAL and SAL that were really nice and subtle, and that I'm sure most of the mainstream audience missed. One of my favorite parts of the movie is that Chandra assures SAL that she will dream when shut down because all sentient beings do; then at the end when HAL asks if he will dream, Chandra chokes up and replies, "I don't know."
Yeah, according to the end he was totally lying to SAL.
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Old May 7 2011, 06:34 PM   #15
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Re: HAL: a Diagnosis?

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
I think that's the problem with any fictional depiction of AI. The creators would simply put an off switch of some sort in there, and the AI could never ever take control of that switch.

And it's also interesting that as soon a machine gets intelligent, it always becomes bad. It's an overused cliché.
Yeah, any man vs. machine story requires humans, at some point, to be supremely stupid and give the AI total control over very destructive weapons, in violation of the common sense that you never give any one person control over weapons of mass destruction (that's why there are two keys) and no doubt in violation of regulation.

This applies to 2001 directly. For example, was there ever a good reason to give HAL direct control over the hibernation capsules when you have two regular guys sitting in the pod and presumably have access to other, less sophisticated, less agenda-prone programs that could regulate the process (IF alive DO NOT kill)? NASA in 2001 is as dumb as the USAF in Terminator 3* and Wargames and Starfleet in The Ultimate Computer.

It's probably good how well science fiction prepares us for the creation of machine intelligences, though. All those films listed above are "what not to do" scenarios for automation experts.

*Actually, in the Terminator franchise, Skynet has to be given control over not only nuclear weapons but also ground forces and a factory with machine tools. Why would you ever do that?!
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