HAL 9000 (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic Computer) is a fictional
computerin Arthur C. Clarke's " Space Odyssey" saga. The novels, along with two films, begin with "", released in 1968. It was ranked #13 on a list of greatest film villains of all time on the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains.
HAL is an
artificial intelligence, the sentient on-board computerof the spaceship "Discovery". HAL is usually represented only as his television camera "eyes" that can be seen throughout the "Discovery" spaceship. The voice of HAL 9000 was performed by Canadian actor Douglas Rain. In the book, HAL became operational on January 12, 1997 (1992 in the movie) [cite web
url = http://www.palantir.net/2001/meanings/essay11.html
title = Meanings: The Search for Meaning in 2001
accessdate = 2007-05-10
author = George D. DeMet] at the HAL Plant in
Urbana, Illinois, and was created by Dr. Chandradubious. In the "2001" film, HAL is depicted as being capable not only of speech recognition, facial recognition, and natural language processing, but also lip reading, art appreciation, interpreting emotions, expressing emotions, reasoning, and chess, in addition to maintaining all systems on an interplanetary voyage.
HAL is never visualized as a single entity. He is, however, portrayed with a soft voice and a conversational manner. This is in contrast to the human astronauts, who speak in terse monotone, as do all other actors in the film.
In the French language version of "", HAL's name is given as "CARL", for "Cerveau Analytique de Recherche et de Liaison" ("Analytic Research and Communication Brain"). The camera plates, however, still read "HAL 9000".
Although it is often conjectured that the name HAL was based on a one letter shift from the name
IBM, this has been denied by both Clarke and "2001" director Stanley Kubrick. In "", Clarke speaks through the character of Dr. Chandra, who characterized this idea as: " [u] tter nonsense! [...] I thought that by now every intelligent person knew that H-A-L is derived from "H"euristic "AL"gorithmic". [cite web
url = http://www.2001halslegacy.com/interviews/clarke.html
title = Dawn of HAL: History of Artificial Intelligence - Dr. Arthur C. Clarke Interview
accessdate = 2007-05-10
author = Dr. David G. Stork
work = 2001: HAL's Legacy Web site
publisher = PBS] [cite web
url = http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/faq/index.html#slot7
title = What do the letters HAL stand for and is there a connection with IBM?
accessdate = 2007-05-12
work = The Kubrick FAQ]
Clarke more directly addressed this issue in his book "The Lost Worlds of 2001": [Clarke, Arthur C, "The Lost Worlds of 2001", pp. 78, Signet, 1972]
As is clearly stated in the novel (Chapter 16), HAL stands for "H"euristically programmed "AL"gorithmic computer. However, about once a week some character spots the fact that HAL is one letter ahead of IBM, and promptly assumes that Stanley and I were taking a crack at the estimable institution ... As it happened, IBM had given us a good deal of help, so we were quite embarrassed by this, and would have changed the name had we spotted the coincidence.
HAL in "2001: A Space Odyssey"
In "", astronauts
David Bowmanand Frank Pooleconsider disconnecting HAL's cognitivecircuits when he appears to be mistaken in reporting the presence of a fault in the spacecraft's communications antenna. They believe that HAL cannot hear them, but are unaware that HAL is capable of lip reading. Faced with the prospect of disconnection, HAL decides to kill the astronauts in order to protect and continue "his" programmed directives. HAL proceeds to kill Poole while he is repairing the ship, and those of the crew in suspended animationby disabling their life supportsystems.
Realizing what has occurred, Bowman shuts down the machine. HAL's central core is depicted as a crawlspace full of brightly lit computer modules mounted in arrays from which they can be inserted or removed. Bowman shuts down HAL by removing modules from service one by one; as he does so, HAL's consciousness degrades. HAL regurgitates material that was programmed into him early in his memory, including announcing the date he became operational as 12 January 1992. When HAL's logic is completely gone, he begins singing the song "
Daisy Bell". HAL's final act of any significance is to prematurely play a prerecorded message from Mission Control which reveals the true reasons for the mission to Jupiter, which had been kept secret from the crew and not been intended to be played until the ship entered Jovian orbit.
HAL in "2010: Odyssey Two"
In the sequel "" (Also known as "2010: The Year We Make Contact"), HAL is restarted by his creator, Dr. Chandra, who arrives on the Soviet spaceship "Leonov".Prior to leaving Earth, Dr. Chandra has also had a discussion with HAL's twin, the SAL9000 (see [ [http://imdb.com/title/tt0086837/fullcredits#cast 2010 (1984) - Full cast and crew ] ] andsection below).Dr. Chandra discovers that HAL's crisis was caused by a programming contradiction: he was constructed for "the accurate processing of information without distortion or concealment", yet his orders, directly from
White Houseofficials, required him to keep the discovery of the MonolithTMA-1 a secret for reasons of national security. This contradiction created a "Hofstadter- Moebius loop", reducing HAL to paranoia. Therefore, HAL made the decision to kill the crew, thereby allowing him to obey both his hardwired instructions to report data truthfully and in full and his orders to keep the monolith a secret, as nobody remained from whom to keep it.
The alien intelligences controlling the monoliths have grandiose plans for Jupiter, plans which place the "Leonov", and everybody in it, in danger. Its human crew devises an escape plan, which unfortunately requires leaving the "Discovery" and HAL behind, to be destroyed. Dr. Chandra explains the danger, and HAL willingly sacrifices himself so that the astronauts may escape safely. In the moment of his destruction, the monolith-makers transform HAL into a non-corporeal being, so that David Bowman's avatar may have a companion.
The details in the book and film are nominally the same, with a few exceptions. In the film, HAL functions normally after being reactivated, while in the book it is revealed that his mind was damaged during the shutdown, forcing him to begin communication through screen text. Also, in the film the Leonov crew lies to HAL about the dangers that he faced (suspecting that if he knew he would be destroyed he would not initiate the engine-burn necessary to get the Leonov back home), whereas in the novel he is told at the outset. However, in both cases the suspense comes from the question of what HAL will do when he knows that he may be destroyed by his actions.
Prior to "Leonov's" return to Earth, Curnow tells Floyd that Dr. Chandra has begun designing HAL 10000. "2061: Odyssey Three" indicated that Chandra died on the journey back to Earth, making the point moot.
The session of keyboard/screen interaction between HAL and Dr. Chandra has a taste of
SHRDLU, which both increases the realism of the scene, and gives an interesting insight of the perception of Artificial Intelligence at the time the book was written.
HAL in "2061: Odyssey Three" and "3001: The Final Odyssey"
In "", Heywood Floyd is surprised to encounter HAL, now stored alongside Dave Bowman in the Europa monolith.
' introduced the merged forms of Dave Bowman and HAL. The two have merged into one entity called "Halman" after Bowman rescued HAL from the dying
Discovery Onespaceship towards the end of '. Halman helps Frank Poole infect the monolith (which it once served) with a computer virus; as the primitive life in Jupiter's clouds were sacrificed to make Jupiter into a sun to warm Europa, it is feared that humanity as well as life on Europa would be destroyed, as humanity had the potential to be dangerous and the Europans had stagnated, according to the monolith's reasoning. The plan succeeds and all of the monoliths disintegrate; however, Halman (which survived by downloading itself onto another storage medium) is subsequently isolated in a special containment facility when the virus has infected it.
Clarke noted that the film was criticized for not having any characters, except for HAL and that a great deal of the establishing story on Earth was cut from the film (and even from Clarke's novel). [Clarke, Arthur C, "The Lost Worlds of 2001", pp. 77-79, Signet, 1972] Early drafts of Clarke's story called the computer
Socrates(a preferred name to Autonomous Mobile Explorer–5), with another draft giving the computer a female personality called Athena. [Clarke, Arthur C, "The Lost Worlds of 2001", pp. 78, Signet, 1972]
The earliest draft depicted
Socratesas a roughly humanoid robot, and is introduced as overseeing Project Morpheus, which studied prolonged hibernation in preparation for long term space flight. As a demonstration to "Senator" Floyd, Socrates' designer, Dr. Bruno Forster, asks Socratesto turn off the oxygen to hibernating subjects Kaminski and Whitehead, which Socratesrefuses, citing Asimov's First Law of Robotics. [Clarke, Arthur C, "The Lost Worlds of 2001", chapter 12, Signet, 1972]
In a later version, Whitehead is killed outside the spacecraft, triggering the need for Bowman to revive Poole. The revival does not go according to plan, and after briefly awakening, Poole dies.
Athenaannounces "All systems of Poole now No–Go. It will be necessary to replace him with a spare unit." [Clarke, Arthur C, "The Lost Worlds of 2001", pp. 149-150, Signet, 1972] After this, Bowman decides to go out in a pod and retrieve the antenna, which is moving away from the ship. Athenawill not originally let him go, citing a "Directive 15", but eventually relents. [Clarke, Arthur C, "The Lost Worlds of 2001", pp. 159-160, Signet, 1972]
The scene in which HAL's consciousness degrades was inspired by Clarke's memory of a
speech synthesisdemonstration by physicist John Larry Kelly, Jr, who used an IBM 704computer to synthesize speech. Kelly's voice recorder synthesizer " vocoder" recreated the song " Daisy Bell", with musical accompaniment from Max Mathews. [http://www.bell-labs.com/news/1997/march/5/2.html Bell Labs: Where "HAL" First Spoke (Bell Labs Speech Synthesis website)] ]
The film differs from the novel in a number of details, including:
# The book explains far more explicitly the causes of HAL's behavior; it is implied that HAL's programmed objective to ensure the mission's success — at any cost — vaguely resembled the human drive for a purposeful existence, while the prospect of being shut down resembled the fear of death. When these factors began to contradict his primary objective of preserving the ship's crew, his malfunction was the result.
# In the film, HAL shuts Bowman out of the craft after Bowman attempts to retrieve Poole's body. In the book, Bowman stays within the ship and is forced to shut down HAL after it attempts to kill him by opening the ship's airlocks.
HAL 9000 has at least one
Earthbound twin, SAL 9000. SAL makes its first (and only) appearance in the novel (and susequent film version) "2010".
Before the Soviet-USA mission to retrieve "Discovery", Chandra uses SAL for a simulation of the possible effects that a prolonged "sleep" (disconnection) might have induced in HAL, and the project is code-named "Phoenix". When Chandra asks SAL to guess the reason for the name Phoenix she understands that the there are "many possible meanings", and her first guess that it refers to the tutor of Achilles is not what he had in mind; her display of culture makes it clear that SAL has access to some form of encyclopedic knowledge database or has it built in with the rest of her programs.
SAL is clearly "female" and features similar camera plates, similar to HAL, though the "eye" is blue instead of red. Dr. Chandra has a private terminal to SAL's mainframe in his office, and his influence causes her to develop a slightly Indian accent (""). In the film version, SAL is voiced by
Candice Bergen, who was credited only under a pseudonym(as "Olga Mallsnerd," a combination of the surname of Bergen's husband, director Louis Malleand that of Mortimer Snerd, one of her father Edgar Bergen's famous puppet characters).
"2010" reveals that another ground-based HAL machine undergoes the same
psychopathythat HAL does when forced to experience the same contradiction.
During the "Discovery" mission, when Bowman and Poole are having problems with HAL, an Earthbound Mission Control technician reports to them on the use of a "twin"-9000 computer on which simulations are being run to determine a course of action. Some readers/viewers have suspected that this computer is SAL, and that it was used as a reference system for HAL; when the twin computer fails to predict any communications failure, Bowman and Poole begin to suspect HAL's reliability.
It should be noted that SAL is not mentioned by name in the film "2001". The novel never mentions the name SAL, and further implies that Mission Control had more than one 9000-series computer available. Given the acronym behind HAL's name ("H"euristic "AL"gorithmic), it is not clear if "SAL" is just a nickname, or if the name is a different acronym.
The future of computing
HAL's capabilities, like all the technology in "2001", were based on the speculation of respected scientists.
Marvin Minsky, director of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratoryand one of the most influential researchers in the field, was an advisor on the film set. [See [http://mitpress.mit.edu/e-books/Hal/chap2/two3.html Scientist on the Set: An Interview with Marvin Minsky] ]
When the film "2001" was first screened in 1968, the year 2001 was considered a distant year and a computer like HAL seemed quite plausible at the time. In the mid-1960s
computer scientists were generally optimistic that within a generationor two, machines would be able to pass the Turing test. For example, AI pioneer Herbert Simonhad predicted in 1965 that "machines will be capable, within twenty years, of doing any work a man can do". [Quoted in Crevier 1993, p. 109]
As 2001 approached, it became clear that the film's predictions for computer technology were premature. Capabilities such as
natural language processing, lip reading, planning, and commonsense reasoningon the part of computers were still science fictionconcepts.
However, "2001" also failed to predict many of the advances that would take place in computing by 2001. The film's creators guessed that as computers got more powerful, they would increase in size—partly true:
Blue Gene, a modern supercomputer, is very large. HAL occupies much of the living area on Discovery. Thin laptops or notepad computers are alluded to in a few scenes where they are used to view news broadcasts from Earth. Also, the film's portrayal of computer graphics is elegant, though basic compared to the graphics and visualization techniques that were in reality available by the year 2001.
The HAL 9000 prop filmic eye and the HAL 9000 Point of View Camera Lens
HAL's POV shots were created with a
Cinerama160 degree Fairchild-Curtis wide angle camera lens. This Fairchild-Curtis wide angle lens was not used as the eye in the Hal 9000 prop seen in film, because this Fairchild-Curtis wide angle lens is about 8" in diameter, while the Hal 9000 prop eye is about 3" in diameter. Stanley Kubrickchose to use the Fairchild-Curtis lens to shoot the Hal 9000 POV shots after attending the 1964 World's Fairand seeing " To the Moon and Beyond", a film produced with the lens and projected onto a planetarium-like dome.
*In the Season 5 episode of
Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Mitchell!, in which Joel escapes from the Satellite of Love, Gypsy watches Dr. Forrester and TV's Frankhave a conversation in profile, much like HAL watching Bowman and Poole in the pod. This scene is complete with increasingly more extreme close-ups of Gypsy's eye as she watches them talk. However, her interpretation of the conversation is incorrect, believing that they intend to kill Joel.
*In the episode of
South Park, Trapper Keeper, Kyle must disable the creature Cartman becomes from within its core, which resembles the core of HAL 9000. Kyle even tells Cartman what he is doing and Cartman responds, "I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Kyle," which parodies HAL. This is not the only episode that has parodied 2001. "Bebe's Boobs Destroy Society" features a parody of the moment when the apes learn to use bones as weapons, and "The Tooth Fairy Tats 2000" parodies a famous fetusimage from "2001".
*HAL 9000 has been used and parodied in several movies and shows, such as the episode
Treehouse of Horror XII(Section: House of Whacks) on " The Simpsons", where Ultrahouse (HAL), voiced by Pierce Brosnan, is installed in the house as an automatic butler/maid/cook/cleaner; falls in love with Marge, and attempts to kill Homer. Another production that spoofed the 9000 was Futurama, when a new personality chip was installed in the space ship. The episode features numerous references to the film.
*There is a similarity between HAL and Portal's
GLaDOS, who also "died on a song". This connection was observed in Randall Munroe's xkcdwebcomic in January 2008. [cite web|url=http://www.xkcd.com/375|title=Pod Bay Doors|accessdate=2008-08-03|author=Randall Munroe] Also in Portal, the numerous security cameras seen throughout the game bear an almost striking resemblance to HAL's observation eye, but can also be taken off some walls via portals, accompanied by a sentence, "Vital testing apparatus destroyed.". The computer ( GLaDOS) is malfunctioning (supposedly), and tries to kill the protagonist from the game. The battle with GLaDOS at the end is also similar to Dave's dismantlement of HAL. Finally, several control panels in the final maintenance areas resemble the walls of CPU chips in HAL's main computer core.
*In the video game "
Grand Theft Auto III", a computer can be seen in Joey's garage with "HAL 9000" written on it.
Metal Gear Solid" character Hal "Otacon" Emmerich is named after HAL 9000.
* In the Israeli satirical "
South Park" style animation series MK 22—HAL is featured as "HAL-LELUYA", the brain of the AIRobot "Robo-Rabbi".
*In the Episode, "The Intruder", a similar shot of the iconic HAL Camera, is seen as an alien virus takes control of the Tau'ri Spacecraft "Daedalus" The virus portrays many of the same characteristics as HAL; most notably, the virus itself is an
*Norwegian cartoonist Mads Eriksen made a comic strip featuring Hal 9000 as a tribute to
Arthur C. Clarke. The strip can be found at [http://www.start.no/m/?m=20080322 777] .
*HAL 9000 was also used on Recess as the SAL 3000. The
principalinstalls SAL in an attempt to replace the old school clock. However, SAL deems the teachers unfit, and decides to take his own hand in teaching the students. At the end of the episode, they go through the vents, and then manually shut down SAL, however, at the end of the episode, the principal is looking at a SAL 4000 to install since its coming out in a year.
*In the film "Independence Day", when David Levinson opens up his laptop onboard the captured alien spaceship, HAL's interface camera is shown and the laptop says in HAL's voice, "Good Morning, Dave".
*In the video game
Destroy All Humans 2, occasionally a levitated hippie will say "Open the pod bay doors, HAL".
*The British TV series
Spaced, with Simon Pegg, featured a refrigerator called CAL 900, a reference to HAL 9000.
*An episode of the television
animeseries includes a scene where an AI (called a "Tachikoma") reads the lips of two of the main characters, who it suspects are concerned about the AI becoming too autonomous, while they have sequestered themselves in a room where they cannot be eavesdropped upon. Although this meatspaceconversation is not about the Tachikomas, it is a decoy, and there is simultaneously a parallel cyberspace conversation where it is decided to remove the AIs from active duty.
*In the film
Robots, Bigweld starts singing "Daisy Bell" before Rodney fixes his brain, an obvious reference to HAL.
*A second party developer to
Nintendo, HAL Laboratories, is famous for the Kirbyseries, Super Smash Bros.series, and Mother 3. Two former figures from HAL Laboratories are Masahiro Sakuraiand Satoru Iwata.
*In the video game "
Xenogears" on the Sony PlayStation, the minds of a group of deceased humans known as the Gazel Ministry are stored as data on a computer system called the SOL-9000, an obvious homage to HAL and SAL.
*In one episode of "The Animaniacs" set in outer space, the rocket computer called Al reads lips, attempts to turn off the life support, and while being dismantled starts to hum. (This robot is later revealed to be a cartoon version of Al Gore)
*In the 2008 Pixar animated film "
WALL-E", the main villain and starship Axiom's Autopilot "Auto" has a glowing red camera, also WALL-E's pet cockroachis named Hal.
*In the Mark Coppos-directed Apple
Macintoshcommercial "HAL and the Year 2000" a machine similar to HAL 9000 talks to Dave about what fictionally happened to the world when the year 2000 hit ( Y2K Problem).
*MyLego Network has a Rank 10 "
networker" named PAL 9000 (often referred to as PAL or AICP).
*His voice is used in
Roger Waters' album In the Flesh liveduring the song Perfect Sense. Kubrik refused to have the film segment used in the original album where the song was released Amused to Deathin response of Watres' refusal of usage of the music of Pink Floyd's album Atom Heart Motherfor the film Clockwork Orange, the film segment could be used in Waters' live album after Kubrik's death.
*In the 2008 film, Wall-E, the Autopilot of the Axiom, has a single gllowing red eye identical to that of HAL. It also possesses similar speech mannerisms
Computers in fiction
Arthur C. Clarke
* [http://www.imdb.com/Quotes?2001%3A+A+Space+Odyssey+(1968) Text excerpts from HAL 9000 in "2001: A Space Odyssey"]
* [http://www.dailywav.com/numbers.php Audio soundbites from 2001: A Space Odyssey]
* [http://mitpress.mit.edu/e-books/Hal/contents.html HAL's Legacy] , on-line ebook (mostly full-text) of the printed version edited by David G. Stork, MIT Press, 1997, ISBN 0-262-69211-2, a collection of essays on HAL
* [http://www.2001halslegacy.com/interviews/clarke.html HAL's Legacy] , "An Interview with Arthur C. Clarke".
* [http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/0095.html The case for HAL's sanity by Clay Waldrop]
* [http://www.boraski.com/obelisk/cyberfest/s_virgshow.html "2001" fills the theater] at HAL 9000's "birthday" in 1997 at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
* [http://www.halproject.com The Hal Project] featuring the Hal 9000 screensaver.
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