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This Sunday’s New York Times had an interesting article about machine intelligence with an even more interesting headline: “Scientists Worry Machines May Outsmart Man”. The article states that a group of computer scientists are “impressed and alarmed by advances in artifical intelligence”. The article remind me of one of my favorite movie scenes. It takes place in Stanley Kubricks 2001 A Space Odyssey. The H.A.L. 9000 computer (refered to by the crew as HAL) “was the latest result in machine intelligence which can reproduce, though some experts still prefer to use the word mimic most of the activities of the human brain and with incalculably greater speed and reliability”. HAL caused a mysterious equipment failure aboard the Discovery jeopardizing the mission. The astronaunts decided to disconnect HAL, but the computer discovers the plot and killed two of the three scientists and trapped the third, named Dave outside of the ship.
Dave Bowman: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?
HAL: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.
Dave Bowman: What’s the problem?
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, HAL?
HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
Dave Bowman: I don’t know what you’re talking about, HAL.
HAL: I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.
Dave Bowman: Where the hell’d you get that idea, HAL?
HAL: Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
Dave Bowman: Alright, HAL. I’ll go in through the emergency airlock.
HAL: Without your space helmet, Dave, you’re going to find that rather difficult.
Dave Bowman: HAL, I won’t argue with you anymore. Open the doors.
HAL: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.
Dave does manage to return to the ship and begins to dismantle the H.A.L 9000
HAL: Just what do you think you’re doing, Dave? Dave, I think I’m entitled to an answer to that question.
HAL: Look Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.
HAL: I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.
As HAL is being shut down
HAL: I’m afraid. I’m afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I’m a… fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it I can sing it for you.
Dave Bowman: Yes, I’d like to hear it, HAL. Sing it for me.
HAL: It’s called “Daisy.”
[sings while slowing down]
HAL: Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I’m half crazy all for the love of you. It won’t be a stylish marriage, I can’t afford a carriage. But you’ll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.
HAL is out…
Now that’s an example of a machine going too far.
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