HAL's Legacy: 2001's Computer as Dream and Reality

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I became operational... in Urbana, Illinois, on January 12,1997.

Inspired by HAL's self-proclaimed birth date,HAL's Legacy reflects upon science fiction's most famous computer and explores the relationship between science fantasy and technological fact. The informative, nontechnical chapters written especially for this book describe many of the areas of computer science critical to the design of intelligent machines,discuss whether scientists in the 1960s were accurate about the prospects for advancement in their fields, and look at how HAL has influenced scientific research.

Contributions by leading scientists look at the technologies that would be critical if we were, as Arthur Clarke and Stanley Kubrick imagined thirty years ago, to try and build HAL in 1997: supercomputers,fault-tolerance and reliability, planning, artificial intelligence, lipreading,speech recognition and synthesis, commonsense reasoning, the ability to recognize and display emotion, and human-machine interaction. A separate chapter by philosopher Daniel Dennett considers the ethical implications of intelligent machines.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
YAAlthough it has been 30 years since Stanley Kubrick brought Arthur Clarke's 2001 to the screen, the many ethical as well as scientific questions that the film raised still create a stir. For this title, Stork asked some of our leading scientists to explain the developments in the area of artificial intelligence and to look again at HAL given today's technology. The result is this collection of original essays that span such topics as "Could we build HAL?" "How could HAL see?" and "When HAL kills, who's to blame?" and differentiate between those aspects of the famous computer's capabilities that are fact and those that will most likely always remain science fiction. Although the general focus of the book is the movie, it goes on to provide a balanced survey of the subject of artificial intelligence. Despite the scientific slant of these writings, they are amazingly readable. Appropriate supplemental reading for a variety of subject areas and equally enjoyable for science-fiction fans and film buffs.Martha Ray, Kings Park Library, Fairfax County, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Tributes to Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke's classic film, and discussions concerning how close we are to computers that are as intelligent, as devious, and even as emotional as the infamous HAL.

All 16 contributions collected by Stork (chief scientist of the Ricoh California Research Center) remark upon the fact that Clarke and Kubrick took extraordinary care to base the predictions embodied in 2001 on the best possible scientific knowledge of 1968. HAL, who was supposedly "born" in 1997 in Urbana, Ill., will not be possible by 2001, if ever, and Kubrick and Clarke were not prescient enough to predict the most significant advance since the film's release: miniaturization. However, they were fanatically concerned with getting small details right, such as the chess game between HAL and Frank; Murray S. Campbell, a chess player himself, entertainingly discusses how HAL's game is a real game, suggesting IBM's challenge to Gary Kasparov in 1995 to play its computer Deep Blue. Marvin Minsky, the "father" of artificial intelligence (AI), discusses HAL's abilities in terms of what might one day be possible, while Daniel Dennett weighs in on the ethics of HAL's murders of the crew and on Frank's decision to disconnect HAL. David Wilkins speaks to the impossibility of trying to program computers to account for every eventuality, and how no plan is ever sufficient. The most fascinating discussions here concern language, however, and the difficulties of designing computers that can both speak and understand speech. Raymond Kurzweil argues that by 2001 we will be able to speak to computers and expect them to do what we say. But both Joseph Olive and Roger Schank point to the almost insurmountable difficulties involved in teaching natural language to computers and ensuring that they understand what they are saying.

The cutting edge of AI, and not bad as film criticism either.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262692113
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 2/6/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The Best-Informed Dream: HAL and the Vision of 2001 1
2 Scientist on the Set: An Interview with Marvin Minsky 15
3 Could We Build HAL? Supercomputer Design 33
4 "Foolproof and incapable of error?" Reliable Computing and Fault Tolerance 53
5 "An Enjoyable Game": How HAL Plays Chess 75
6 "The Talking Computer": Text to Speech Synthesis 101
7 When Will HAL Understand What We Are Saying? Computer Speech Recognition and Understanding 131
8 "I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that": How Could HAL Use Language? 171
9 From 2001 to 2001: Common Sense and the Mind of HAL 193
10 Eyes for Computers: How HAL Could "See" 211
11 "I could see your lips move": HAL and Speechreading 237
12 Living in Space: Working with the Machines of the Future 263
13 Does HAL Cry Digital Tears? Emotions and Computers 279
14 "That's something I could not allow to happen": HAL and Planning 305
15 Computers, Science, and Extraterrestrials: An Interview with Stephen Wolfram 333
16 When HAL Kills, Who's to Blame? Computer Ethics 351
Contributors 367
Index 377
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2003

    Dave: Don't Stop!

    Prior to attending a lecture by Dr. David Stork at a celebration of HAL 9000's birthday in Urbana, Illinois, I had only a passing interest in the field of Artificial Intelligence. After the lecture, I was motivated to learn more and bought a copy of his book, Hal's Legacy: 2001's Computer As Dream and Reality. It turned out to be one of the most thought-provoking as well as entertaining books I have read. Through a series of expert essays, Stork explores the current state and direction of Artificial Intelligence using HAL as both backdrop and benchmark. Non-technical readers will enjoy the way that the scientists that Stork has chosen present their theories of what it would take for us to realize Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke's vision of HAL. HAL's Legacy analyzes the prospects and possibilities of computers being able to converse, understand natural language, visualize, feel emotion, and even make value judgements. It also give the reader a new appreciation of the science that went into the science fiction of the movie 2001.

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