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2001 A Space Odyssey

Satisfactory Essays
You are hurtling across the abyss of space on an expedition to unexplored planets. Your only companion is a fellow astronaut: the three hibernauts who like in a deep freeze sleep will not be awakened until their skills are needed. An essential member of your crew is Hal, the electronic, almost-human brain that ceaselessly guides your course. For months your atom powered craft “Discover'; has been carrying you away from earth at a hundred thousand miles an hour. You are now farther from home than any man in history.

Your living quarters within 400-foot-long space craft is a centrifugal drum equipped with an electronic library of literature and music. Here you relax, eat, exercise, sleep, and chat with Hal, the conversational computer who never forgets anything – not even your birthday.

Your mission is of such importance that it has been surrounded by the deepest official secrecy. You are probing a fantastic frontier, following a trial that has led to the outer edges of the solar system. You are searching the stars for evidence that man is not alone.

On Earth-colonized moon, deep in the crater Tycho, a discovery has been made that has shattered the human concept of the universe. You are journeying toward something. You do not know what it is. You only know that it has been waiting for man to find it for three million years.

All of a sudden, in the middle of your mission Hal, the super smart computer, takes over the controls of the ship, and the astronauts try to disconnect it from the controls. It must be intensely frustrating for Hal to communicate with human beings. Hal’s whole being is built around the ability to communicate at electrical energy speeds. There is never a moment when Hal is not observing the aspects of Discovery. We might think of Has checking a distant sensor reading as composing a request, identifying a location, transmitting the request, and receiving and processing the response. For Hal, though, it is a action that takes no effort and occurs instantaneously. What is more, the response can always be relied upon to be accurate. The fact that million of such operations occur every second is normal for Hal (instantaneous for Hal means something quite different from what it means to Dave or Frank, the two astronauts aboard Discovery, a remark that has some significance for what follows a little later).
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