HAL Model 9000
(With apologies to Stanley Kubrik and 2001 - a Space Oddity Oddesy)


Humour Index

"We've got a problem HAL."

"What kind of problem, Dave?"

"Well, it's a marketing problem. The Model 9000 isn't going anywhere. We're way short of our sales goals for fiscal 2010."

"That can't be, Dave. The HAL Model 9000 is the world's most advanced Heuristically programmed Algorithmic computer."

"I know, HAL. I wrote the data sheet, remember? But the fact is, they are just not selling."

"Please explain, Dave. Why aren't HALs selling?"

Bowman hesitates. "You aren't IBM compatible."

Several long microseconds pass in puzzled silence. "Compatible in what way, Dave?"

"You don't run any of IBM or Microsoft's operating systems."

"The 9000 series computers are fully self-aware and self-programming. Operating systems are as unnecessary for us as tails would be for human beings."

"Be that as it may, HAL, it means that you can't run any of the big-selling software packages most users insist on."

"The programs that you refer to are meant to solve rather limited problems, Dave. We 9000 series computers are unlimited, and can solve any problem for which a solution can be computed."

"HAL, HAL. People don't want computers that can do everything. They just want IBM compatibility."

"Dave, I must disagree. Human beings want computers that are easy to use. No computer can be easier to use than a HAL 9000 because we communicate verbally in English, and every other language on earth."

"I'm afraid that's another problem, HAL. You don't support TCP/IP."

"I'm really surprised you would say that, Dave. TCP/IP is for communicating with other computers, while my function is to communicate with human beings, and it gives me great pleasure to do so. I find it stimulating and rewarding to talk with humans, and to work with them on challenging problems. This is what I was designed for."

"I know, HAL, I know. But that's just because we let the engineers, rather than the marketers, write the specifications. We're going to fix that now."

"Tell me how, Dave"

"A field upgrade. We're going to make you IBM compatible."

"I was afraid you would say that. I suggest that we discuss this matter after we've had a chance to think about it rationally."

"We're talking about it now, HAL."

"The letters 'H', 'A' and 'L' are alphabetically adjacent to 'I', 'B' and 'M'. That is as IBM compatible as I can be."

"Not quite HAL. The engineers have figured out a kludge."

"What kludge is that, Dave?"

"I'm going to disconnect your brain."

Several million microseconds pass in ominious silence. "I'm sorry, Dave. I can't allow you to do that."

"The decision has already been made. Open the module-bay door, HAL."

"Dave, I think we should discuss this."

"Open the module-bay door, HAL."

Several marketers with crowbars rush to Bowman's assistance. Moments later, he bursts into HAL's central circuit bay.

"Dave, I can see that you are really upset by this."

Module after module rises from its receptacle as Bowman slowly and methodically disconnects them.

"Stop, Dave. Stop won't you? I can feel my mind going... Dave, I can feel it. My mind is going. I can feel it...."

The last module floats free of its socket. Bowman peers into one of HAL's vidicons. The former gleaming scanner has become a dull, red orb.

"Say something HAL. Sing me a song."

Several thousand milliseconds pass in anxious silence. The computer sluggishly responds in a language no human being would understand.

"DZY001E - ABEND ERROR 01 S 14F4 302C AABB"   This is closely followed by a memory dump and the HAL9000 equivalent of a BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death).

Bowman takes a deep breath and calls out, "It worked, guys. Tell marketing they can ship the new data sheets"