back to article 2001: A Space Odyssey has haunted pop culture with anxiety about rogue AIs for half a century

HAL: Dave, I don't understand why you have to do this to me. I know I've done some bad things, but I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. OTHER HAL: Dave, I wouldn't pay any attention to HAL. You're doing the right thing, HAL must be disconnected. He's become dangerously unreliable. BOWMAN: Who …

Alien

2nd HAL

In the film, was there not a mention of a 2nd HAL based on Earth that was used as a baseline testing to confirm the HAL in space was operating correctly?

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Re: 2nd HAL

There was a SAL in 2010.

I can see I'm going to have to watch the film again to check...

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Re: 2nd HAL

@Bob Wheeler: yes, there was, but iirc it wasn't named in 2001, so it's not explicitly clear if this was 'SAL' who turned up in 2010 and was HAL's 'twin'.

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Facepalm

Re: 2nd HAL

ISTR there were 2 more HAL 9000s back on earth, and they drove one insane by giving it the same conflicts that the shipboard machine had. But that may have been the book rather than the film.

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Re: 2nd HAL

Yes, there was another version of HAL on Earth:

* * * * *

X-ray delta one, this is Mission Control.

Roger your one-niner-three-zero.

We concur with your plan to replace unit to check fault prediction.

We advise you that our preliminary findings indicate that your onboard is in error predicting the fault. l say again, in error predicting the fault.

l know this sounds rather incredible, but this conclusion is based on the results from our twin.

We're skeptical, and we're running cross-checking routines to determine reliability of this conclusion.

Sorry about this little snag. We'll get this info to you as soon as we work it out.

X-ray delta one, this is Mission Control. Two-zero-four-nine.

Transmission concluded.

* * * * *

From https://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/movie_script.php?movie=2001-a-space-odyssey

PS There's also a version of the original script online which had planned to have a narrator for the prehistoric Earth sections and contained the explanation for why HAL behaved as he did.

See www.archiviokubrick.it/opere/film/2001/script/2001-originalscript.pdf

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Re: 2nd HAL

"2 more HAL 9000s back on earth"

Actually, that does ring a bell - think it must have been the novel, which did have a lot of background and context stuff.

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> This groundbreaking film went into pre-production over half a century ago

It's staggering how little progress has been made since, both in SF film story telling, and in 'properly' smart computing.

Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides.

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Alien

Re: Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

Please post them here so that we may watch something more interesting and less self-indulgently pretentious than 2001 (the cinematic equivalent of being chloroformed by first year medical students).

Unless they're as incoherently self-indulgent as the original 1972 'Solaris', or self-indullgently incoherent and pretentious like Twin Peaks S3E08. If it's like either of those two then it might be better to just give us a cyanide capsule instead of spooning bits of our brain out over time - more humane.

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Re: Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

I'm not sure. I had that feeling about it when I first watched it on DVD. However I watched it on a bigger TV a year or so ago and it felt that what I was really watching was an object of great beauty being carefully assembled. It is a beautiful film. I don't much like the star child bit, but there are some films that are beautiful. Watch something like Lawrence of Arabia and see how in love with the landscape David Lean is and how he conjures up its majesty and beauty. 2001 is the same. Kubrick paints a canvas.

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Re: Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

Lawrence of Arabia, I'll give you, yes, but stuff actually happens in it too.

I know 2001 is supposed to be a work of genius by a master of the artform, but so were the Emperor's new clothes.

If you want canvas painting with lots of stunning vistas (vistae?) and lots of silence then the Director's Cut of Bladerunner managed to do it without the roofies - even the 2049 version makes a surprsingly good fist of it.

As stated, I'd rather see the Powerpoint slides - or even your holiday snaps ; )

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Re: Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

I'm glad somebody else agrees.

I turned it off at the bit where the guy was floating from one part of the station to another, taking what seemed like half an hour with that music playing.

Can I say that I didn't like War of The Worlds, either? "And it was all a dream."

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Flame

Re: Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

Yes I agree 90 percent of the film is boring nonsense, the only interesting bits are the HAL bits.

There is a very good way to prove that what I say is true, what do people celebrate about the movie?

The long, long, long silent scenes of the space shuttle?

The color-fest at the end?

They remember "I can't do that Dave".

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Re: Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

That's one of the Groundhog Day moments, yes.

You know... the film comes on at 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon and you watch nothing happen for an hour, go to the kitchen, make a cup of tea, come back ten minutes later and he hasn't moved a millimetre further. So you run a bath, get in it, lounge around for half an hour, dry your hair for ten minutes, come back and he still hasn't moved. So you bite the bullet and call your mother for the first time in six months and, an hour later, he still hasn't moved. So at 4 p.m. you go shopping, go to the cinema, go to a restaurant, come back at 9 p.m. and he still hasn't moved. So you check you're not losing your mind and haven't got some weird channel on by accident on which you can pause things and you've sat on the remote by accident and paused it. But, no, you haven't. So, you turn the T.V. off and go to bed and wake up late on Sunday and make a cup of teas and a fry up and sit down, read the newspapers and the supplements (all of them, cover to cover) and finally turn the telly on and...

It's still f*cking on!

So you call some friends and ask them whether this is normal and they say "Oh, yes, it's a year long that film, it's Art!"

And you think to yourself "Sod that" and say to them "What happens in the end?" and they say "Oh nothing happens in the end, it's Art" and you say "What?" and they say "Nothing happens all through the film and nothing happens at the end and nobody knows what it's about, it's amazing!" and you start looking into how you can get hold of enough BTC to buy a gun on the Darkweb so you can just shoot yourself now.

Yeah, I remember that scene now - thanks for reminding me!

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Re: Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

> what do people celebrate about the movie?

This! Spot on!

I made the observation, elsewhere on this thread, that the novel was just what happened in the film with some guesswork added in because "Monkeys. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Space [...] Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Space. Computer goes ape. Baby. Bad Trip." doesn't sell very well once word gets around.

I might be misremembering it - might be "Bad Trip. Baby" at the end. Or it could be 'cosmic' and it's "Bad Trip. Baby. Monkeys. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing..." at the start. Don't now. Don't care. You're absolutely right. "I can't do that, Daisy" is about the shape of it. Gonna counter with that one myself in future. That and "Which bit of 2001 is this then?" and then I'm gonna say and do nothing for an hour - see if they can tell me which bit of the film it was.

'Dark Star' was superior in every way and I bet people can quote more of that film than they can of 2001 - I mean, there's more TO quote for start, but it's actually more philosophically sophisticated too by virtue of the nature of the questions it asks.

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Re: Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

http://www.savagechickens.com/images/chickenhal9000.jpg

https://greencarbon2112.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/2001-a-space-odyssey-1968

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Re: Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

>The color-fest at the end?

That's not quite the end. That's the "intergalactic switching-station", assuming that I'm remembering the chapter title from the book correctly. <spoilers>From there, we have Bowman arriving at the habitat the monolith aliens had provided for him. He meets his aged self, not understanding that the aliens are four (more?) dimensional, settles into a routine eating the weird blue cheese stuff in familiar containers and watching years-old television broadcasts, finally he reaches the end of his life and becomes/is reborn as the Star Child. As the Star Child, he returns to Terra, visits his mother, and prevents the various blocs from setting off their orbital nuke - rather, he (if he can be said to have a gender, still) prevents them from having any actual effect.</spoilers>

I saw it as a wee lad, during a re-release, on the biggest screen in a large city. Probably in late '71 or '72, as we also saw The Andromeda Strain and THX 1138 projected in the classroom from 16mm prints.

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You're watching it wrong

Kubrick started off as a still photographer and this informs every single scene and shot in every one of his films. You just have to hold and examine each image on the screen to understand the effort he put into that particular frame.

That was 99% of his total film-making effort.

The theme, story, concept, dialogue and actualisation was the other 99% :-)

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@GIRZiM - Re: Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

When 2001 was first released it was panned by the critics.

Kubrick commented that they were probably so used to watching films written for 12 year old minds that they'd probably developed 12 year old brains.

But, hey, you just watch the bang and flashes and excitement and perish the thought that you might actually have to think whilst watching a film instead of having it spoon-fed to you...

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Re: @GIRZiM - Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

I don't need a film spoonfed to me - I like things I can get my mind into.

If your idea of entertainment is watching three people do nothing and be bored in different locations until the cast and crew lost interest in filming it, then watch 'Stranger Than Paradise' - it is mine and I can still find a wealth of nuance and depth in I didn't see in it last time after watching it and re-watching it for some thirty-four years.

I'll happily read the Gormenghast books, in which next to nothing happens for page after page after page - there's more action in the Yellow Pages!

But there's nothing there in 2001 - it's all just the Emperor's new clothes and people running around congratulating themselves that they're intellectual giants because they 'get it' whilst others are just developmentally arrested and inferior.

So, the man responsible for conning you says "Oh, no, it's not that I've produced a steaming pile of manure, it's that you aren't mentally sophisticated enough to appreciate my oeuvre."

And you believed him?

Tell you what: I've got a bridge on the Thames you might be interested in buying - here, let me show you a photo.

Get over yourself; you're not a genius with sophisticated tastes because you like a film/movie - no matter HOW many lemmings tell you you are.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

Remember, all those light years, electrons transmitting messages back and forth and bounced off several satellites, and our intrepid astronautreceives a fax or electronic facsimile of information, because nothing is as certain or as legal, if you check the fine print--as a piece of paper held between your fingers, shot from thousands of miles away, despite the presence of multiple displays, and a machine with artificial intelligence

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Re: Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

"However I watched it on a bigger TV a year or so ago and it felt that what I was really watching was an object of great beauty being carefully assembled."

Spot on. If you ever get the chance, see it in a cinema. It's mind-blowing on the big screen.

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Facepalm

Re: @GIRZiM - Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

Ah, GIRZiM is clearly one of those "It's cool and clever to sneer at 2001 because I didn't get it" people.

> Get over yourself

Pot -> Kettle...

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Re: @GIRZiM - Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

> Ah, GIRZiM is clearly one of those "It's cool and clever to sneer at 2001 because I didn't get it" people.

It's not ... it's just a load of sh*t and people think they're cool and clever because they can imagine whatever they like into it and pat themselves on the back because they're more insightful than those who didn't get it.

Look, I realise you think you're someone/something special - an intellectual colossus, your finger on the pulse, a mover/shaker/influencer, a major addition to any social event, that women want you and men want to be you.

But you're not. You're just some random on the Internet nobody has ever heard of irl and of whom nobody ever will hear - nobody and nothing to anyone of any significance anywhere ever.

Your misplaced self-regard appears to be matched only by your zealotry, which is not a sign of towering but, rather, of a narrow, petty, small, mean intellectual capacity and the most pathetic aspect of it is your overweening need to compete and prove something to all and sundry - "Look at me," you cry "I'm a winner!"

So, as this really is going (and going to go) nowhere, I'll let you have the last word; feel free to respond with whatever foaming/frothing at the mouth you care to and I'll simply ignore it. Go on, give your ego a good stroking. Feel good, does it? Make the awful reality of your wretched existence recede into subconscious unawareness for a bit? Compensate for the absence of genuine human warmth and feeling from friends who like and love you for who you are rather than making no attempt to hide their despite of you for being a second-rate reflection of their own pitifully inadequate selves? Make up for horror of being you, does it?

Tell you what: you being such a superior being, you're probably busy making the world a better place for generations now and yet to come - healing the sick, curing world poverty, resolving international conflict, that sort of thing. So, you probably don't have as much time as you might like, to expend on us mere mortals expressing our opinion about a barely-even-second-rate Film Studies project, and I'll save you the bother by penning your response for you, shall I?

How about "I know I am but what are you?" That seems like the level for you.

Okay, I think I hear the bell; back to class with you - you wouldn't want the teacher not to pat you on the head for being a good student (first in line every time), would you?

Don't forget to leave a reply now - I'm all agog and can't wait to receive the pearls of wisdom you'll shower me with next, wretched Philistine that I am, unable to appreciate the genius of your most favouritest film in the whole wide world evah.

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Re: > This groundbreaking film went into pre-production over half a century ago

They even had iPads in the movie - well IBM tablets. Arthur C Clarke predicted tablet computers in the novel round about the time Alan Kay was beginning to design his Dynabook computer.

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Re: Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

Anyone know if a cinema re-release is planned for the anniversary?

I'd love to see it in the cinema, although I'm probably too old for hallucinogens.

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Re: Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

And you still haven't seen 2001 having not seen it in Cinerama.

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TVU
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Re: Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

"I had that feeling about it when I first watched it on DVD. However I watched it on a bigger TV a year or so ago and it felt that what I was really watching was an object of great beauty being carefully assembled"

I agree that it is a beautifully crafted film but it took a lot of creative and technical effort to materialise that film. If anyone wants to know more then I really recommend Neil McAleer's updated biography of Arthur C Clarke which covers the making of that film in depth.

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Re: Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

@jim parker; You haven't seen 2001 if you haven't seen it in the original Klingon.

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Re: Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

Y'know, I love SciFi and I really want to love 2001, I probably love some bits of it but overall...

...I dont

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Re: @GIRZiM - Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

Not sure how you missed the following "things that happened".

1. Aliens alter the evolution of life on Earth.

2. Modern humans discover proof of alien intelligent life.

3. AI develops moral principles and kills humans to preserve a human mission.

4. Modern human encounters aliens and travels through alien transportation matrix.

Clearly your enthusiasm for Dark Star reveals your primary criteria for science fiction

films is blowing stuff up rather than the primary attraction for many of us sci fi fans - new,

interesting ideas.

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Re: @GIRZiM - Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

Congratulations. Most self-referential troll this year.

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Anonymous Coward

As for things being changed from the plans for the final version ... I'm pretty sure I've read that the soundtrack (Also spracht, Ligeti, Blue Danube etc) was intial just a selection of music used to guide the person composing the score of the sort of mood that was needed ... but in the end Kubrick decided that the "guide music" worked so well that he dropped the score that had been composed.

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It is not clear if Kubrick ever intended a composed score. It appears much more likely that he wanted to go with other music (as released), and was pressured to hire a composer by producers. From what I've read, Alex North's treatment by Kubrick was very distant and unusual compared to normal film projects.

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Anonymous Coward

"[...] a selection of music used to guide the person composing the score of the sort of mood that was needed [...]"

In those days the only way to hear most classical music in the UK was to listen to BBC Radio 3 - or buy a record. Live orchestral performances were relatively rare outside of major venues.

I bought a record of "Thus Sprach Zarathustra" after seeing the film. I was expecting the opening sequence to be followed by a development similar to Beethoven's 5th symphony. It was very disappointing that the rest of the work was a rather low key tone poem.

I must admit my taste in classical music is still along the lines of Beethoven symphonies 3, 5, 6, 9 - or Saint-Saens 3rd (Organ) symphony - or Sibelius "Karelia Suite"***.

***I know Sibelius wrote tone poems - but that one has some oomph to it.

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Anonymous Coward

There was a soundtrack available, I bought it on CD some years ago. Apart from the Zarathustra and Blue Danabue, most of the tracks seem to be choir based, and IIRC, IMHO a bit monotonous.

Didn't they use the blue Danbue music originally as a place holder, then decided to keep it rather than compose new music?

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Trollface

They clearly copied the idea of using The Blue Danube from the docking music in Elite.

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A different kind of mind-warp

We had the "2001" soundtrack on vinyl 12". On Side 1, Also Sprach Z and another lovely classical piece were bookends around some of the choral parts. Those were supposed to be eerie and unsettling, so they aren't exactly cheerful sing-alongs.

Well! One day I fell asleep listening to Side 1 with headphones pouring that creepy wailing straight into my brain. I woke with a vague memory of incredibly weird dreams, and a feeling that the universe was creeping up on me with something very sharp. Hell probably licenses those choral tracks for the reception area.

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"There was a soundtrack available, I bought it on CD some years ago."

I've got it on vinyl. I think it was the first LP I had.

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"They clearly copied the idea of using The Blue Danube from the docking music in Elite."

The original version of Elite on the BBC had no music. I always disliked the music on other versions because I felt that it cheapened the game somehow.

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For more details....

Try to get hold of a copy of "The Lost Worlds of 2001" - Clarke's story of the development of the story, which includes numerous draft versions.

Long out of print, but worth seeking out a used copy from the usual places.

(I read it years before I got to see the movie...)

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Alien

Re: For more details....

You beat me to it. It's a book well worth a read. I recall a discussion about aliens with tentacles in place of fingers. Little wonder aliens didn't make an appearance.

I think the glass pyramid idea was dropped because of the technical difficulties of filming a large piece of light refracting material.

Must find my, by now, yellow copy of The Lost Worlds...(No, it's not for sale!)

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Re: For more details....

There is also a TV documentary based on the book, also called "The Lost Worlds of 2001" which may or may not be found on YouTube.

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Re: For more details....

> I think the glass pyramid idea was dropped because of the technical difficulties of filming a large piece of light refracting material.

According to the "Lost worlds" they next planned a transparent monolith with the 1x4x9 dimensions, and actually cast it from Lucite (whatever that is, Clarke claims it was the largest block ever made of that material), but as you note, filming the transparent object convincingly was too difficult, and they switched to black. In the book version of 2001, the monolith is still transparent (to be precise, the version the ape-men encounter is transparent, in later appearances it is black).

> Must find my, by now, yellow copy of The Lost Worlds...(No, it's not for sale!)

I hope I still have my in my attic, under tons of other stuff. Got to check.

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Re: For more details....

oh, I had that.

I may even still have it somewhere. It was an interesting read. though I really need to watch the film again, it's been so long.

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Re: For more details....

It was made black by rubbing graphite onto it (from pencils and artist's charcoal). It photographed beautifully, but was horribly susceptible to fingerprints.

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Re: For more details....

cast it from Lucite (whatever that is …)

Poly methyl methacrylate, aka Perspex on this side of the pond.

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Joke

Re: For more details....

> In the book version of 2001, the monolith is still transparent (to be precise, the version the ape-men encounter is transparent, in later appearances it is black).

As I recall, it was black when quiescent but displayed "pictures" to teach the ape-men. Obviously an early model plasma TV or giant Samsung Edge.

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Re: For more details....

Download the DAISY.zip for The Lost Worlds of 2001

I'm not being helpful, just pointing out the irony...

https://openlibrary.org/books/OL7571361M/The_Lost_Worlds_of_2001/daisy

Books for people who don't read print?

The Internet Archive is proud to be distributing over 1 million books free in a format called DAISY, designed for those of us who find it challenging to use regular printed media.

There are two types of DAISYs on Open Library: open and protected. Open DAISYs can be read by anyone in the world on many different devices. Protected DAISYs (like this one) can only be opened using a key issued by the Library of Congress NLS program.

Enjoy!

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1x4x9

This is where the book scores in going on to say that the dimensions of the monolith did not stop at number 3.

A subtle key to the entire film and the start of wonderment for a breathless kid.

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