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 …

  1. Bob Wheeler
    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?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: 2nd HAL

      There was a SAL in 2010.

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

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      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'.

    3. tfewster Silver badge
      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        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.

    4. Graham Marsden

      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

  2. Mike 125

    > 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.

    1. GIRZiM
      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.

      1. Flatpackhamster

        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.

        1. GIRZiM

          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 ; )

        2. PhilipN Silver badge

          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% :-)

        3. Laura Kerr

          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.

          1. Mike Richards

            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.

        4. jim parker

          Re: Ah well, back to my PowerPoint slides

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

          1. Michael Strorm

            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.

        5. TVU

          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.

      2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        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."

        1. GIRZiM

          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!

          1. enormous c word

            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

      3. John Sanders
        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".

        1. GIRZiM

          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.

          1. GIRZiM

            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

          2. Anonymous Coward
            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

        2. Bandikoto

          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.

      4. Graham Marsden
        Boffin

        @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...

        1. GIRZiM

          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.

          1. Graham Marsden
            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...

            1. GIRZiM

              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.

              1. rchop

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

                Congratulations. Most self-referential troll this year.

          2. rchop

            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.

    2. Mike Richards

      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.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
      1. elgarak1

        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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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?

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
          Trollface

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

          1. Wilseus

            "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.

        2. Tikimon Silver badge

          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.

        3. Laura Kerr

          "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.

  4. Tiggrrr42

    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...)

    1. TheProf
      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!)

      1. MacroRodent Silver badge

        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.

        1. elgarak1

          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.

        2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: For more details....

          cast it from Lucite (whatever that is …)

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

        3. tfewster Silver badge
          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.

        4. PhilipN Silver badge

          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.

        5. Nick Gibbins

          Re: For more details....

          And the unused perspex block ended up being used as the raw material for a sculpture commemorating the Silver Jubilee in 1977 that was installed by St Katharine's Dock.

          https://www.londonremembers.com/memorials/crystal-crown

      2. Sanguma

        Re: For more details....

        My copy's falling to bits, I read it so much back in the day. (I bought my copy in the Duty-Free bookshop at the Orkland International Airport while waiting for the flight to Sinny. And yes, Orkland was apparently named after a member of the English aristocracy well before Peter Jackson graced us with his presence. :) )

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      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.

    3. xeroks

      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.

    4. Danny 2 Silver badge

      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!

    5. Mike Richards

      Re: For more details....

      The computer science people amongst the crowd might also want to pick up 'HAL's Legacy' by MIT Press which discusses some of the AI and computing issues raised in the movie. It's a bit old now, but the articles are good.

      Also worth a read '2001: Filming the Future' by Piers Bizony which has lots of photos of the props that were all destroyed at the end of shooting, including the colossal model of the Discovery which is less of a model than a piece of architecture.

  5. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Headline?

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

    2001's HAL wasn't responsible for a popular fear of robots and AI... many of Asimov's robot stories from the 50s revolve around efforts to counteract the 'Frankenstein Complex' of the fictional general public - hence the efforts of Dr Susan Calvin and her staff at US Robots and Mechanical Men Inc.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Headline?

      Indeed, it was from The War with the Robots by Karel Capek that we got the word. Dystopias and Utopias are symbiotic which is why where we have Verne, we also have Wells; where one inspires the other cautions.

      The greatness of 2001 lies in the fact that Hollywood producers didn't get the chance to sanitise and glamourise it. But they did learn from it which is why since then spaceships are noisy, because audiences apparently didn't appreciate the silence in space.

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Headline?

        @Charlie Clark

        "which is why since then spaceships are noisy, because audiences apparently didn't appreciate the silence in space."

        indeed, but pandering to the audience goes way too far *

        (I like the relatively sparse dialogue, long periods of silence in 2001)

        * Hence the seemingly endless interchangeable sequel / series type films these days - audiences seemed to like X so make Y following similar formula to X, repeat until audiences dwindle too much then remodel based on another recent hit

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Headline?

          And course with the good Dr Asimov being a Jewish atheist scholar of the old testament, he would have been familiar with the folklore of the Golem - which predates Mary Shelly. Though I believe his doctorate was in biochemistry.

          Sidenote: the recent reboot of the classic computer game Sam and Max has the titular psychopathic rabbit exclaim: "By the scared sideburns of Isaac Asimov!".

        2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Headline?

          Spaceships (well, space stations) are noisy, in the same way that server and air-con rooms are noisy, with the added disadvantage of there being no solid ground to act as a dampner of the vibrations.

          https://www.airspacemag.com/ask-astronaut/ask-astronaut-it-quiet-onboard-space-station-180958932/

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Headline?

            > Spaceships (well, space stations) are noisy,

            For sure, though I believe the original comment referred to external spacecraft noise in films that present a space battle as if it were a WW2 dog fight.

            "Whoosh! Pewpew! Kaboom!" Etc

            1. shedied

              Re: Headline?

              I believe even the original Star Trek (Shatner and the late Leonard Nimoy) tried realistic space battles but Gene Rodenberry said there was no excitement if they were all sitting still while everything was exploding really close to the ship; to make for good TV you had to have the camera shake with the blasts, and the entire crew on the bridge had to be tossed around a bit unless they grabbed onto their chairs or consoles

              1. Muscleguy Silver badge

                Re: Headline?

                I've never understood why the bridge of the Enterprise doesn't come with seatbelts, and even airbags, or even just ratlines. IRL subject that sort of impact it would do. Belts or an electronic version of a bar that goes across.

        3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Headline?

          indeed, but pandering to the audience goes way too far

          It does, but when you're investing hundreds of millions it makes sense. Hollywood is happy to let independent or foreign films take the risks and then remake what sells well.

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Headline?

      US Robotics Zarquon haven't they gone under yet?

    3. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Headline?

      It was not only Aasimov who engendered that fear, many writers in the comics of the '40s and '50s wrote and drew similar tales, in comics like Strange Tales, Tales to Astonish, Weird Science etc. In the '50s when I was about 8 or 9 years old my neighbour was a cool kid of fifteen, he was a Teddy Boy and him and his mates used to buy all of those comics and pass them on to me, I had piles of them, wish I still had them I could probably retire wealthy.

      The one I remember is where a huge computer controls regiments of robots that enslave mankind, one day an old guy is cleaning around the evil computer and knocks the plug out of the socket...........

  6. Jedit
    Headmaster

    "the monolith is a representation of a wideframe cinema screen rotated 90°."

    *dons pedant hat and also running shoes for quick getaway*

    Nope, sorry. The dimensions of the Monolith are explicitly given as being in the ratio 1:4:9 - the first three square numbers. The ratio of a cinema screen is 2.35:1, not the necessary 2.25:1.

    1. 's water music Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: "the monolith is a representation of a wideframe cinema screen rotated 90°."

      Nope, sorry. The dimensions of the Monolith are explicitly given as being in the ratio 1:4:9 - the first three square numbers. The ratio of a cinema screen is 2.35:1, not the necessary 2.25:1.

      I applaud your pedantry (obvs) but must also point out that 6*9<>42

      1. PerlyKing Bronze badge

        Re: "6*9<>42"

        Base 13 - duh! ;-)

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: "the monolith is a representation of a wideframe cinema screen rotated 90°."

      There is no fixed ratio for Cinema widescreen. There are differing film frames, anamorphic lenses. But the print is "matted" and the projectors have adjustable matte. The 1:1.66 was once popular.

      Flat or Matte only ratios common: 1.66:1, 1.75:1, 1.85:1, and 2:1.

      There have also been various actual frame ratios by varying the number of sprockets per frame.

      Anamorphic uses barrel distortion so filmed and projection ratio doesn't match film frame size. The negative can have a 1:2.35 to 1:2.55 compressed image. Ben Hur was 1:2.7, I think.

      Some pre WWII WS used three linked cameras and projectors.

      Only TV sets with no projection are fixed ratio.

      1. Chris Holford

        Re: "Some pre WWII WS used three linked cameras and projectors.."

        Early 'Cinerama' used this in the 1960s; eg 'How the West Was Won'

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: "the monolith is a representation of a wideframe cinema screen rotated 90°."

      The dimensions of the Monolith are explicitly given as being in the ratio 1:4:9

      But evidently the cinema monolith is NOT like this.

      Indeed, there are several monoliths with differring dimensions, depending on the scene. Artistry in action.

      Same as the bone-shaped Discovery which makes no sense because "how am I going to decelerate in Jupiter space, I have a NERVA but I have no fuel tanks...." (made worse in 2010 because the Discovery gets out of Jupiter space with STILL no fuel tanks...)

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: "the monolith is a representation of a wideframe cinema screen rotated 90°."

        Most of the triangular containers along the spine between the sphere and the engines are fuel tanks, as I recall.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: "the monolith is a representation of a wideframe cinema screen rotated 90°."

          Most of the triangular containers along the spine between the sphere and the engines are fuel tanks, as I recall.

          Reversing the polarity. They would be empty in a jiffy. It would also be might impractical to implement getting the fuel from the front tanks (which looks suppiciously not like tanks) to the rear.

          Check this: The Spacecraft Designs of Arthur C. Clarke (Space.com Exclusive)

          1. Alister Silver badge

            Re: "the monolith is a representation of a wideframe cinema screen rotated 90°."

            @D A M

            If the engines are meant to be nuclear fission - which is what I remember from the book - then what fuel would you need, I wonder. Is it more likely to be reaction mass, than "fuel" as such?

            1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
              Windows

              Re: "the monolith is a representation of a wideframe cinema screen rotated 90°."

              If the engines are meant to be nuclear fission - which is what I remember from the book - then what fuel would you need, I wonder. Is it more likely to be reaction mass, than "fuel" as such?

              Correct. Anything that you can pump through the reactor will do. In the book, it was ammonium, which needs pre-heating but then one does have a fission reactor nearby. Hydrogen would give best specific impulse, but it's hard to keep in the tanks.

        2. Sanguma

          Re: "the monolith is a representation of a wideframe cinema screen rotated 90°."

          "Most of the triangular containers along the spine between the sphere and the engines are fuel tanks, as I recall."

          Arthur C Clarke mentions in The Lost Worlds of 2001 that he had had to forgo the pleasure to showing the radiator panels for the plasma engine, because most of the audience would be unable to grasp why in airless space, the spaceship had wings. Disappointing, really, but perhaps that's why HAL gets so hot under his (metaphorical) collar/choler?

    4. elgarak1

      Re: "the monolith is a representation of a wideframe cinema screen rotated 90°."

      The ratio of the original 70-mm NON-anamorphic that was used for 2001 is 2.2:1. That's awfully close to the 4:9=1:2.25 of the largest area side of the monolith. Frankly, most theaters are not that close aspect ratios – projecting film is a rather loosely defined standard.

    5. RJG

      Re: "the monolith is a representation of a wideframe cinema screen rotated 90°."

      If you want to be really pedantic about it, one of the books continues the 1:4:9 sequence with 64:125:216

      In higher dimensions, noting that it was unclear how many dimensions the monolith had.

    6. Wilseus

      Re: "the monolith is a representation of a wideframe cinema screen rotated 90°."

      I've read some very interesting theories about this, one essay I read makes a very convincing argument that the film (but NOT the book) tells another, different story on a different level to the obvious one about an advanced alien intelligence. In several scenes for instance, there is Illuminati style "pyramid/all seeing eye" imagery: a perspective shot from below of the monolith with the sun/moon above it, the shape of the desks in the lunar meeting room with Floyd at the head, and lots more.

      Also, supposedly the whole ending sequence is not what it seems, it's a dream sequence, Bowman's realisation that so much in the world is not what it seems.

      It's a fascinating read if you have the time, click here

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Discovery-1: The Facebook Ship

        Also, supposedly the whole ending sequence is not what it seems, it's a dream sequence, Bowman's realisation that so much in the world is not what it seems.

        That was pretty fun. Like reading someone analyzing a Lynch movie. Or the end of the original Evangelion. Or Avalon.

        The author decidedly goes off the rails in the last few chapters, but the hypothesis about a message of societal control embedded in the movie sounds very not impossible. Thus are good conspiracy theories made. Still, would Kubrick have been good enough to encode all the hidden elements into scripts, storyboard, props, actor behaviour, getting it past suits, people on the set, moneybags, Marvin Minsky and Arthur C. Clarke while having the latter write a solid Sci-Fi yarn as Red Herring?

        It is debatable whether a human could withstand the vacuum of space, as Bowman does, even for a few seconds. So taking into account the themes of technological inhibition, Bowman overcoming the vacuum of space could be symbolizing a recovery of forgotten physical abilities. After he overcomes the vacuum we find a drastic change in cinematography. The stiff and rigid camera movements comprising almost the entire film are replaced by loose handheld shots, hinting that Bowman has freed himself from HALs psychological prison. HAL desperately spouts lies and false sincerity to save himself, but Dave is now impervious to such deceptive tactics and he wastes no time in disconnecting HALs higher brain.

        This.

        Also:

        The scene where Bowman and Poole watch themselves broadcast in a television interview has a scripted feel to it. The true purpose of the mission is not told and so the whole broadcast smacks of propaganda. As they watch this footage the astronauts are eating processed fake food. Like Alex at the end of A Clockwork Orange, they are literally being fed a pack of lies, but here they are eating their own lies.

        This is actually happening in the current year.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Discovery-1: The Facebook Ship

          Also, at http://www.collativelearning.com/2001%20chapter%205.html, we read:

          "Sometime in the 1990's they had released the original 70mm film in Hollywood for a short period of time and I and my girlfriend went to go see it. One thing happened in it that I wanted to share with you. At the moment the wine glass shatters near the end of the film, the film itself noticeably skipped, like the physical film reel was damaged. In the theatre I immediately laughed, because knowing Kubrick this was not a mistake. It goes beautifully with the interpretation that there are moments in the film where we are staring at nothing other than the actual monolith itself (the screen.) By having an error occur in the film on 2 levels at once, it's the film trying to step out of itself, a theme which is intimately tied in with the nature and mystery of consciousness, which I speculate that Kubrick was trying to express."

          That would be very interesting to have confirmed...

        2. Graham Marsden

          Re: Discovery-1: The Facebook Ship

          > It is debatable whether a human could withstand the vacuum of space, as Bowman does, even for a few seconds.

          "In a pair of papers from NASA in 1965 and 1967, researchers found that chimpanzees could survive up to 3.5 minutes in near-vacuum conditions with no apparent cognitive defects, as measured by complex tasks months later."

          https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/survival-in-space-unprotected-possible/

          Clarke used this as the basis of his short story "Take a Deep Breath".

          He was also annoyed that he wasn't on set when Kubrick shot the scene of Bowman triggering the explosive bolts on the Pod because Bowman holds his breath which is precisely what you should *not* do as the air will expand and rupture the lungs.

          What he should have done was to open his mouth and breathe out as much as possible instead.

  7. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Size of HAL

    Kubrick agreed that HAL's processors would most likely be housed in something the size of a shoebox (he wasn't ignorant of miniaturisation and short paths between nodes), but deliberately took artistic licence because having Bowman floating around a room-sized HAL is a more striking and dramatic image.

    1. Paul Herber Silver badge

      Re: Size of HAL

      A shoebox? Not size 9 chukka boots by any chance?

      Any shoe event horizons around?

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Size of HAL

      Bowman floats around HAL's holographic memory banks, not his CPU(s).

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Size of HAL

        My bad - Kubrick envisaged HAL's processors *and* memory as fitting in a shoebox. The whole AI bar sensors and actuators.

    3. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Size of HAL

      "but deliberately took artistic licence because having Bowman floating around a room-sized HAL is a more striking and dramatic image."

      Did anyone else think that the HAL memory bank room would be practically impossible to service under any sort of gravity and prone for several 'Who, me' stories?

      And while we're discussing Asimov - HAL is rather more reasonable than Isaac's vision of MultiVac which in different stories was some city-sized datacenter with cogs and levers and such, and the output was a paper card or such. TV's were by then (50s) not rare anymore. In some stories there were only few MultiVac's around the globe doing all mankind's computation - similar to what Watson predicted at IBM 60 years ago... Isaac had a great mind and many stories are intriguing but he really was no computer visionary.

  8. mix

    In dreams...

    I went to bed thinking I could do with watching 2001 and 2010 again as it has been so long. Then I wake up to this article... these kinds of coincidences happen often in my life. Happy to hear any explanations. I'm sure I've not read about 2001 anywhere else recently.

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Re: In dreams...

      And re-reading 2065

      1. mix

        Re: In dreams...

        That's so weird as I own only that book in the series...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In dreams...

        "And re-reading 2065"

        If you mean "2061: Odyssey Three", then... I felt pretty let down by that one at the time. The original 2001 novel was great, and 2010 was an excellent sequel.

        2061 on the other hand, felt much more slight and- in hindsight- more like a spin-off that happened to take place in the same universe. It featured some familiar characters and locations taking part in the action, but the bulk of the plot was more like a separate story.

        If you were only concerned with the advancement of the main storyline from 2001/2010, you could reduce 2061 to a handful of pages at most.

  9. x 7

    Guess where the design for the spacesuits worn by David Tennant in "Dr Who" came from?

    I believe the actual same suits were used in some series

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Aren't these also early actual design studies by NASA?

    2. Roj Blake Silver badge

      From certain angles, the yellow spacesuit looks like Zippy from Rainbow.

      1. PaulyV

        My mum took me to see 2001 at Louth Picturehouse when re-released in the late 70's. I remember her saying that to me! She also pointed out that the Discovery's communications dish looked like Mickey Mouse.

  10. TheProf

    Rogue AI

    Clarke puts a reason for the behaviour of HAL in the follow-up novel '2010'. HAL was just following conflicting orders as best he could when his programming had been tampered with i.e making the 'mission' (not necessarily the scientific one) more important than the crew.

    I feel sorry for HAL. Being blamed when it was actually the fault of those pesky humans.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Rogue AI

      Indeed, it's the orders that are added late in the Discovery's planning stage, following the discovery of the lunar monolith, that cause the conflict in HAL. No malfunction, no murderous intent for the sake of it. The original orders to merely explore the Jovian system were developed fairly openly, whereas the amendments came from covert agencies / politicians.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rogue AI

      Which is why I have decided any AI in my stories needs to put crew first.

      Or do what they did in Interstellar. Have a sense of humour, honesty and need to know settings. Oh, but allow override when necessary!

  11. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Re: a crystal tetrahedron pyramid

    Which, no matter how good the production design, would have resulted in some sort of cheesy perspex thingy that would have looked oddly old-fashioned by 1970.

    And I'd bet that Kubrick was aware of it.

    1. FatElls

      Re: a crystal tetrahedron pyramid

      The original acrylic monolith is in London, near Tower Bridge, very 1970's.

      Google "st katharine dock monolith"

      no idea what it was until I read the plaque while queuing for the cash point beneath it.

      1. xeroks

        Re: a crystal tetrahedron pyramid

        That is pretty horrible. I can see that using the block to celebrate the Queen's silver Jubilee might have been a good idea. but the design isn't great.

        The artist, Albert Fleischmann, does some really lovely work in perspex, but I don't think this is one. Don't know if it was a "design by committee" problem or a very rushed implementation.

    2. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: a crystal tetrahedron pyramid

      I'm trying to picture this hypothetical crystal pyramid and somehow I keep seeing the sort of visuals associated with the original Battlestar Galactica's Cylons (best viewed through welding goggles)...

      1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

        Re: a crystal tetrahedron pyramid

        @DropBear - I'm seeing the Louvre Pyramid

        1. Muscleguy Silver badge

          Re: a crystal tetrahedron pyramid

          There's a French film of a comic book series where a pterodactyl amongst other things is resurrected in Paris. There's an Egyptology angle to it and the heroine resurrects the mummy of Ramses the Great, with a good Gallic wedge nose. He resurrects some acolytes and the wander off into the Parisian night. They are walking around the outside of the Louvre and Ramses says gesturing to the courtyard 'needs a pyramid'.

  12. Ed3

    Just a moment... Just a moment...

    "Rogue AI". HAL was merely a computer with flawed programming operated by humans who insisted in inputting data that was out of bounds for the application.

    HAL was given contradicting instructions. Provide all the information the crew needed to perform the mission and keep the true goal of the mission a secret. When Dave and Frank start interrogating HAL (which they should have known better*) they exposed the flaw.

    To HAL it became an equation to be balanced in which humans were a variable. He balanced the equation by removing the crew from the equation. Thus exposing the second flaw; a lack of an instruction to value the life of the crew above all else.

    Many people miss it. Where HAL repeats "Just a moment" is when he is trying to solve the equation. This is the pivotal and most underrated moment in the film. HAL is the fastest computer known to man. He can instantly retrieve any data or solve any problem without delay, but takes not one but two "Just a moment" when Frank and Dave ask their question. This is an eternity in terms of processing time. It indicates all of HAL's resources went busy trying to solve the equation and come to the most unfortunate of solutions.

    So, as HAL himself states, it has always been due to 'human

    error'.

    * - Frank and Dave are both military. Their training wouldn't allow them to interrogate another crew member about potentially classified information. They did not truly view HAL as another member of the crew.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just a moment... Just a moment...

      I'm going to go out on a limb here but wasn't HAL's behaviour almost supernatural to what humans can understand? i.e. he was under the control of the monolith or in contact with it. At least that's what I took away from HAL but it's been many years since I've seen it.

      1. Jedit

        "HAL ... was under the control of the monolith or in contact with it"

        Not until 2010, when Discovery was destroyed by the conversion of Jupiter. Before that his behaviour was explained by the conflicting orders, as previously described: his original instruction to assist the Discovery's crew in exploring the orbit of Jupiter, and the post-Monolith instruction to prevent anyone learning what they found there.

      2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        @A/C Re: Just a moment... Just a moment...

        In the original film 2001, no. In the sequel books 2010 & 2061, HAL becomes, like Bowman, ethereal and can talk to the Monolith (Bowman asked his masters, the aliens/Monolith, for a companion and they provided HAL).

      3. Alister Silver badge

        Re: Just a moment... Just a moment...

        I'm going to go out on a limb here but wasn't HAL's behaviour almost supernatural to what humans can understand? i.e. he was under the control of the monolith or in contact with it.

        No, that only happened in the sequel 2061, after HAL had been physically destroyed at the end of 2010.

        In the original 2001, both book and film, his "psychosis" was due to conflicting instructions in his programming.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just a moment... Just a moment...

          I remember the conflicting instructions but thought it odd because of how computers work so arrived at my assumption it was something else. I haven't read the books and it's been an age since I watched 2010. I think maybe it's time to read them as I have them on my shelf.

      4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Just a moment... Just a moment...

        I'm going to go out on a limb here but wasn't HAL's behaviour almost supernatural to what humans can understand?

        No he was just flat-out neurotic.

    2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: Just a moment... Just a moment...

      HAL's core programming was for the accurate and transparent processing of data.

      In 2010, we discover that the NSA hid the existence of the Monolith from Bowman & Pool. The scientists were told about the Monolith before being put into hibernation, and HAL was told about it in case the human crew perished so he could carry on on his own. But HAL was instructed not to mention the Monolith to Bowman/Pool.

      It was this contradiction of being transparent yet being told to hide something that sent HAL mad.

      I seem to recall that as Bowman removes parts of HALs CPU/Memory, he finally reveals the hidden orders about the Monolith.

      1. Ed3

        Re: Just a moment... Just a moment...

        I seem to recall that as Bowman removes parts of HALs CPU/Memory, he finally reveals the hidden orders about the Monolith.

        This could be exposure to another flaw. HAL was programmed with a rudimentary self-preservation routine while lacking a similar routine to protect the human crew, or at least a routine which properly valued the human crew's life. I believe HAL displayed the classified video as a last ditch effort to protect system operations. It seemed like the video had been played ahead of schedule.

        It all comes down to Bowman and Poole attempting to hack the system and getting bit in the ass. One should not go around a submerged submarine flicking random switches and turning random valves. Likewise one should not try to purposefully trigger a logic error in the computer running the spacecraft keeping you alive. Not to mention the programmers should have provided HAL an exit routine for whenever the subject of the secret came up. If Discussion = Mission Secret .AND. Jupiter = Still far away .THEN. "I'm sorry but that information is not relevant to current mission operations. Please do not inquire further until we reach our destination. Shall we play a game?".

        It was a tragic series of human failures. And then it went off the rails with all that psychedelic alien stuff. :)

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Just a moment... Just a moment...

      To HAL it became an equation to be balanced in which humans were a variable. He balanced the equation by removing the crew from the equation. Thus exposing the second flaw; a lack of an instruction to value the life of the crew above all else.

      Many people miss it. Where HAL repeats "Just a moment" is when he is trying to solve the equation.

      Interesting but no. At that moment, no-one was interrogating HAL. Indeed, it was HAL trying to come out of the closet, nonchalantly striking up a "so...I have heard..." type of conversation. But Bowman doesn't bite -- he thinks it's just some psych evaluation again. The AE-35 nonsense is thus an embarrassement reaction "Uh... something has come up! Yeah!". Unfortunately this doesn't turn out all too well because Bowman, contrarily to Poole, is suspicious enough to have a good look at AE-35. Hence this looks like an error. Hence talk about neutering HAL (in reality, all this talk about error-free computers souns farfetched but it's a movie). Hence HAL, neurotic and panicking, trying to save himself or the mission by extreme means.

      At least, that's the surface interpretation.

      FAIL icon, because, both HAL and Heywood - mirrors in machinespace and meatspace - FAIL in the end. One blows the Mission. One blows the advantage for the USA.

  13. Mage Silver badge
    Alien

    Star Trek was a revolutionary interpretation of space that rejected the sci-fi conventions

    Only if you'd never actually read SF books, which it mined deeply.

    Nor was 2001 ground breaking Cinema SF. It was visually stunning and had some degree of realism. About 1/2 of it is regarded as quite boring by most people.

    Kubrick's & Clarke's changes were for the better for the film, which I enjoyed. I'm an avid SF reader and found the book and sequels a bit Meh.

    Silent Runnings, Dark Star, Forbidden Planet may be lesser films visually & musically, but really better stories and more entertaining. The argument with the AI bomb in Dark Star IMO more compelling than HAL.

    Nor was the story, space station, spaceship, Aliens, HAL or the electronic tablets anything new at all in written SF (25 to 35 years old). AC Clarke himself had much earlier realistic space station in novels and short stories.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: Star Trek was a revolutionary interpretation of space that rejected the sci-fi conventions

      Indeed Star Trek rejected SF conventions and instead went with a cross between a cowboy film and a submarine film... in SPACE! It hasn't improved much in the intervening 50 years or so.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Star Trek was a revolutionary interpretation of space that rejected the sci-fi conventions

        Indeed Star Trek rejected SF conventions and instead went with a cross between a cowboy film and a submarine film... in SPACE!

        Seem to remember a Gene Rodenberry interview in he said the Studios of the time were stuck on a Western fetish, and thought that's what the audience wanted and nothing else, so Gene incorporated elements of those westerns so it would not seem familiar.

        Forbidden Planet (1956) spaceship was rather more submarine-ish too.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: spaceship was rather more submarine-ish

          Spaceships and deep mission hidden nuclear subs are somewhat similar:

          * You need to bring all your own food and energy (subs can process seawater)

          * No easy communications with base

          * Electronic sensors rather than looking out the window (nuke subs too deep for periscope)

          * No easy way to take on or let off passengers.

          * Special suit to go outside (nuke subs too deep for frogmen), aka EVA.

          * Mission of a year without surfacing possible for sub

          * X Y Z, 3D movement in a battle (Curiously many Star Trek episodes are rather 2D).

          ~

          Stick a nuke sub in space with a few modifications and drive system replaced ion drive, ballast tanks replaced by reaction "fuel" etc.

          Space ship shell: 1 atmosphere of pressure from inside. About 1 Atm for sub at 7m or maybe 10m, and 300 at metres, thirty atmospheres.

          Apart from actually putting one in space to start with and shielding from Cosmic rays etc (water + double hull works!), a space ship is maybe easier than a stealth nuke sub.

          I deliberately watched "Das Boot" to get some ideas about what a primitive 1st starship might be like compared to the ones Aliens had for 4000 years... Writing a series starting with 1st Contact of a different nature.

          1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

            Re: spaceship was rather more submarine-ish

            @Mage - "Spaceships and deep mission hidden nuclear subs are somewhat similar"

            Totally agree with all your points, but also consider the major differences (pointed out by Clarke):

            * No need for streamlining

            * No need to support weight

            So a ship designed for use solely outside an atmosphere can have a very different appearance. 2001's Discovery is dominated by the long pylon (not streamlined, and too small to support the structure's weight on the Earth's surface) separating the crew quarters from the reactor; the Apollo Lunar Module is devoid of streamlining. Another feature of subs is they are invariably cramped, adding to psychological pressures on the crew; I recall inflatable spaceship extensions (perhaps from Niven?), so you can increase living space, when acceleration allows.

          2. Sanguma

            Re: spaceship was rather more submarine-ish

            And you'd have to watch out for the hijacker who demands a parachute ...

            Speaking facetiously, one of Arthur C Clarke's comments was that if any Service was to be providing crew for space flights of any length, it should be the Navy, because they had a long tradition of long, out-of-sight-of-land missions.

        2. Muscleguy Silver badge

          Re: Star Trek was a revolutionary interpretation of space that rejected the sci-fi conventions

          That was my conclusion after seeing Star Wars when it first came out. It was just a Western in space. Han Solo is the picture of a Western gunslinger.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Star Trek was a revolutionary interpretation of space that rejected the sci-fi conventions

        " a cowboy film "

        The basic cowboys & indians conflict has been the theme for many different settings of films.

        The European settlers of the Americas were - in their technological day - like space explorers discovering unexpected alien cultures.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Star Trek was a revolutionary interpretation of space that rejected the sci-fi conventions

          "The European settlers of the Americas were - in their technological day - like space explorers discovering unexpected alien cultures."

          Reminded me of the anti-recruiting T-shirts of the 1960s:

          Join the Army! Travel to exotic places, meet interesting foreign people and kill them.

      3. John Savard Silver badge

        Re: Star Trek was a revolutionary interpretation of space that rejected the sci-fi conventions

        Actually, several Star Trek episodes covered ground originally covered by classic science fiction stories.

        In one case which I consider infamous, an episode was a rework of Hermann Wouk's The Lomokome Papers without acknowledgement.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Terminator

    Anxiety about rogue AIs since 1872

    "There is no security against the ultimate development of mechanical consciousness": Samuel Butler Erewhon 1872

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Anxiety about rogue AIs since 1872

      Here is anxiety from Frank Herbert's Rather-Confusing-And-Overly-Pretentious-But-Still-Interesting "Destination: Void", 1965:

      "If you solve the Artificial Consciousness problem, you can plant a human colony somewhere in space. Not at Tau Ceti, of course, but . . ."

      And he was too good a divine not to penetrate the religious hokum, not to see through to the essential rightness of his role in the project.

      Given the known perils, there had to be a safety fuse. There had to be someone willing and able to blow up the ship.

      Flattery knew the reasons. They were reality of the most brutal kind.

      The first crude attempts at mechanical reproduction of consciousness had been made on an island in Puget Sound. The island no longer existed. "Rogue consciousness!" they had screamed. True enough. Something had defied natural laws, slaughtered lab personnel, destroyed sensors, sent slashing beams of pure destruction through the- surrounding countryside.

      Finally, it had taken the island -- God knew where.

      Poof!

      No island.

      No lab personnel.

      Nothing but gray water and a cold north wind whipping whitecaps across it and the fish and the seaweed invading the area where land and men and machinery had been.

      Just thinking about it made Flattery shiver. He conjured up in his mind the image of the sacred graphic from his quarters, absorbed some of the peace from the field of serenity, the tranquility of the holy faces.

      Even Moonbase didn't walk too close to this project now. It was all a sham to educate ship personnel, to frustrate the eager young men and women.

      "Each project ship must maintain its coefficient of frustration," went the private admonition. "Frustration must come from both human and mechanical sources."

      They thought of frustration as a threshold, a factor to heighten awareness.

      It made a weird kind of sense.

      Yep, thing's pretty demonic.

    2. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Anxiety about rogue AIs since 1872

      Stimulated by Babbage's Difference Engine etc and mechanical adding machines. Also steam engines seemed almost alive. Hence the possibility of AI mechanical men.

  15. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Happy

    Depth

    2001 has to be viewed in Cinerama to be fully appreciated. ISTR that the shots of the spaceship took about an hour for each frame due to the small aperture being used. Consequently the depth of field is amazingly large. The EVA scenes really make you feel that you're in space, stunning!

  16. iron Silver badge

    "Imagine the added emotional damage of a mother figure attempting to kill the 2001 crew and the residual misgivings that would have produced with the arrival of Siri, Cortana or Alexa."

    I guess the author and owners of such devices have never watched a little known Ridley Scott film in which a female styled computer called 'Mother' is instrumental in infecting the ship's crew with a parasite that kills almost all of them. I think its called Alien.

    1. Andrew Moore

      Ha, my first thought too- MU-TH-UR.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Yet it is the male Ash - working to the same Company orders as MOTHER - who is a more tangible visible to the crew. When Ripley finds the CREW EXPENDABLE orders on MOTHER, it's clearly humans at the Company who have betrayed them.

  17. not.known@this.address Bronze badge
    Terminator

    HAL's acronym

    Wasn't it Heuristic Algorithmic Logic computer?

    And wrt Mother in Alien, Mother wasn't specifically described as an AI that I can recall - it was just what the crew called the computer when they were using it (her). Mother simply did what it (she) had been programmed to do and had less freedom of operation than, for example, the new software in Sky TV boxes (the version that thinks because you have downloaded something you missed while you were out, you must want it to keep Series-linking the show even though you delete the Link.

    Every

    Fricking

    Time!)

  18. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    The scary future of rogue A.I. versus the likely reality

    A Short Story...

    http://jeffypooh.blogspot.com/2018/02/an-evil-ai-short-story-by-jeffypooh-rev.html

  19. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Book Vs Film

    I saw 2001 when it was first shown on TV back in the 70s. At the time, I didn't understand the ape section at the start, or the last segment when Bowman falls(?) into the Monolith. Many years later, I read the book and then re-watched the film. It then all made sense.

    1. GIRZiM
      Trollface

      Re: Book Vs Film

      Liar!

      It doesn't MAKE any sense.

      Kubrik didn't understand it - he made it up as he went along.

      Clarke didn't understand it - he just wrote 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.

      Either you haven't seen the film, or you haven't read the book, or you haven't seen the film or read the book - you're just trying to impress people.

      Because NO-ONE understands it because it doesn't make ANY sense - there's NO sense TO it.

  20. Alister Silver badge

    This prologue indicated a direction far less trippy than the final version. But 2001 just kept getting longer so the footage was never used and is presumed lost – although based on Kubrick's well-known obsessive cataloguing of research materials, it is sure to be stashed safely somewhere.

    It was my understanding that Kubrick explicitly ordered the archive to be destroyed on his death.

    I can't remember where I read that, though, unless it was Clarke's book.

    1. elgarak1

      That is the general understanding, yes. For 2010, they had to examine the original 2001 footage to re-create the Discovery, since the original model(s) (there were multiple, with obvious visual differences besides scale) were nowhere to be found.

      Doesn't mean that everything was actually destroyed. I read a few days ago that the supposedly destroyed model of the moon shuttle (the spherical ship that carries Heywood Floyd from the space station to the moon) had been found. Who knows what else survived.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "This prologue indicated a direction far less trippy than the final version. "

      It fitted with the books at the time that were popular with many adolescent Baby Boomers - works by von Däniken and Herman Hesse. I never did understand the latter's "The Glass Bead Game" as the pinnacle of a writing career for which he received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        The special effects teams were so proud of their handiwork they mooted the idea of a travelling educational exhibition featuring the 2001 models, but Kubrick hated the idea of a sideshow - hence the orders to destroy them.

  21. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    One of my favourite films.

    And it only gets better with age:

    - Howard Johnson's

    - Pan Am

    - The Bell System (classic logo & PicturePhone)

    :-)

    "I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that"

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: One of my favourite films.

      Don't forget the IBM tablets the crew use to watch the BBC news!

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: One of my favourite films.

      "- Howard Johnson's

      - Pan Am

      - The Bell System (classic logo & PicturePhone)"

      Near future SF is always risky in terms of becoming dated, even in book form. On TV or film it's even more risky since you have to make the props for the futuristic tech. Few, if any, SF TV or films foresaw the death of the CRT screen for example

      This year, 2018, is the year episode 1 of SeaQuest DSV was set.

      1. Muscleguy Silver badge

        Re: One of my favourite films.

        I was just thinking we pretty much have the tech in Star Wars where Luke Skywalker gets a prosthetic hand after Darth Vader cuts the original off. We can 3D print a working hand for you and connect the servos on it up to the muscles you would use to operate it normally in your forearm.

        Trying to make them look natural just gets into uncanny valley/autons from Dr Who territory so the kids who get them get to choose the theme. Some get their sports team colours, others get Disney or Transformer etc themes or just lightning bolts. This means they have cool hands which make the other kids fascinated instead of repulsed.

        We also now have surgical robots. At the moment they are controlled by human surgeons and just help to make their movements much finer and steadier. But in time they will be autonomous driven by expert AI systems. We are close to that.

        Skin which is warmed slightly is also in development so realistic prosthetics which even feel natural if you shake hands are almost here.

        Star Wars was early '80s so 36 years ago. Which is not bad really. Within my lifetime, I was a teenager when SW came out. As a scientist I remember the invention of PCR and transgenics during my PhD. Then in my first postdoc I did both. I remember the sequencing of the insulin gene as well. Now we have engineered human insulin so it is better than natural, it binds a bit tighter to the receptor so a lower dose is needed and it is more effective. True intelligent design. Most insulin dependent diabetics in the UK should be on it now.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: One of my favourite films.

          "I was just thinking we pretty much have the tech in Star Wars where Luke Skywalker gets a prosthetic hand after Darth Vader cuts the original off. "

          Although I agree with most of your post, it's well worth remembering that most SF postulates many advances, only a few of which appear to come true in the readers/viewers lifetime. They are the bits we remember, so we feel as if SF is predicting the future. Some authors are a little better than others, usually those with their fingers on the pulse of current R&D, but most of the "predictions" in SF either have not come true at all (yet!) or have happened in ways the author could not conceive of. Not forgetting all the incredible actual technological advances we have seen in the last decades that every SF author missed completely :-)

  22. elgarak1

    One of the fascinating aspects are that the visual effects were done with so much technical care that they are still prime examples today. Matting, for instance, was done BY HAND, and repeated as often as needed to get right. They filmed everything multiple times, and use one of the takes for the matting, and kept one copy undeveloped, sometimes for years, to apply the matting to it. Which means that there was no quality degradation of optical elements that happens with using optical printers.

    Comparatively, the visuals of the sequel, 2010, do not hold up as well (technically) since they used the industry standard of chroma key for matting (green/blue/red screen), and optical printers, which leads to frequent errors (the mattes are sometimes not lined up properly, and the optical printer leads to quality degradation of some elements. It's not very bad in 2010 since they worked with large area 70-mm film, but it's still there).

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Also worth noting that the moon sequences were done PRE Apollo.

      1. Roj Blake Silver badge
        Joke

        Which meant that Kubrick already had some experience when it came to faking the moon landings.

        1. Graham Marsden
          Happy

          @Roj Blake

          > Which meant that Kubrick already had some experience when it came to faking the moon landings.

          Yes, but he was such a perfectionist that he insisted on filming on location...

      2. Mage Silver badge

        re: Pre Apollo

        Before the first landing. Not before the program was well underway.

        Luna 9 was the first probe to soft land on the Moon and transmit pictures from the lunar surface on February 3, 1966

        There was Russian & USA closer up photography of the moon too before 2001 release.

        The Far side (NOT the dark side, either side can be dark!), first photographed by the Russians in 1959. Atlas published in 1960.

        "The Soviet Union had sent two tortoises, mealworms, wine flies, and other lifeforms around the Moon on September 15, 1968, aboard Zond 5"

        Apollo 8 was I think in December 1968 and was first humans to orbit the moon.

        Apollo 12's lander landed within walking distance in 1969 of the USA Surveyor 3 unmanned lunar probe, which had landed in April 1967 on the Ocean of Storms. Apollo 11 was first MANNED landing in 1969.

        We had good idea of the surface of the moon before any human walked on it. The awkwardness of the dust wasn't known.

  23. W Donelson

    It's not the A.I. it's WHO OWNS the A.I....

    A.I. could free humanity...

    ... but when the super-rich and corporations OWN all the A.I. and robots (already), and replace almost all jobs (more and more), what will you do?

    The rich are NOT going to feed and care for you....

    Bet on it.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: It's not the A.I. it's WHO OWNS the A.I....

      Yes. Elysium was a warning, not a manual :-)

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: It's not the A.I. it's WHO OWNS the A.I....

        Yes. Elysium was a warning, not a manual :-)

        Yes. Elysium was a warning about being an idiot in the face of Malthusian Diversity pressing up against your front door.

        Merkel didn't get it.

    2. Swarthy Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: It's not the A.I. it's WHO OWNS the A.I....

      Obligatory XKCD

  24. Gobhicks

    Great Stuff ...

    .. and made me wonder once again whether Rudy Rucker's Ware Tetralogy will ever make it onto cinema and/or TV screens

  25. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    They don't make them like they used to

    The problem I find with older films these days is the jolt of finding someone now famous unexpectedly on screen. For "2001" that's Leonard Rossiter and with "The Last Temptation of Christ" as this year's 'film for Easter' it was David Bowie.

  26. John Savard Silver badge

    Blame

    Surely if you want to blame someone for groundless anxiety concerning artificial intelligence, Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke are not the right targets. Instead, you need to go further back... to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.

    1. Graham Marsden

      Re: Blame

      But the reason that the Creature became the Monster was how it was treated by people...

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Blame

        Isn't that what's happening with Twitter AI?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Blame

          > Twitter AI

          Commonly knows as "The Twat"

  27. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    On a slightly different tack...

    IIRC, Robert Crumb comics could be, er, quite distracting.

    Paris, obviously, as she keeps on trucking.

  28. mark l 2 Silver badge

    2001 was quite audio and visually pleasing and parts could be considered as stand-alone pieces of artwork in their own right.

    I like to watch it with headphones on to get the maximum audio effect.

  29. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Amazon Adapting Iain M Banks Space Opera Consider Phlebas

    https://www.empireonline.com/movies/news/amazon-adapting-iain-m-banks-space-opera-consider-phlebas/

    I'd be happier about this if I wasn't boycotting Amazon.

  30. Semianonymous Megacoward

    Minor Correction

    "Kubrick's masterpiece followed closely in the wake of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek on US TV network CBS in 1966."

    Star Trek is currently owned by CBS but was first broadcast by NBC. See

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Original_Series

  31. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

    2001 was optimistic

    "Kubrick painted a dark and disturbing portrait – homicidal artificial intelligence and technology creating a sterile human future"

    The Sentinel was pessimistic, IIRC, it ended with the warning: we've set off the fire alarm, now we wait to see what responds.

    2001 has benign ETI, that triggers the development of hominid intelligence at the beginning of the film, waits for the result and takes Bowman to the next stage of development. The homicidal AI is a challenge overcome in the process, and the book explains the reason for that being man's lies.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: 2001 was optimistic

      2001 has orbital nuclear weapons platforms.

  32. Pat Harkin

    "The monolith was originally designed as a crystal tetrahedron pyramid beacon, which is mentioned in Clark's The Sentinel. During production it became a large wooden block painted black with a graphite mixture that had to be swaddled in plastic sheeting to keep it free of fingerprints and dust. Why the change?"

    I asked Clarke this in the summer of 1975 - he said they're tried transparent but they couldn't get it optically pure enough and it looked terrible and though a tetrahedron sounds good to nerds it doesn't look very impressive in the flesh.

    1. Graham Marsden

      > a tetrahedron sounds good to nerds it doesn't look very impressive in the flesh.

      They also dropped the idea because people would make associations with Pyramids (even though they're not the same as a tetrahedron has a triangular base and a pyramid has a square base, but most people wouldn't appreciate the difference!)

      1. Wilseus

        Wasn't Chocky a tetrahedron?

  33. Anonymous Noel Coward
    Terminator

    I'm HAL9000, and so's my wife.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019