Saturday Scenes

Thu 17 January 2013

Foolproof and Incapable of Error

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 21:31

On the 12th of January in 1992, HAL became operational. HAL (Heuristically progammed ALgorithmic computer) is the artificial intelligence which controlled the systems of the Discovery One spacecraft during the interplanatary mission to Jupiter. I’m talking, of course, about the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. HAL is capable of speech, speech recognition, facial recognition, natural language processing, lip reading, art appreciation, interpreting and reproducing emotional behaviours, and reasoning. HAL is also an exceptional chess player, although HAL is programmed to lose 50% of the time.

This is why it confused many people that HAL made a mistake in the chess game against astronaut Franke Poole. HAL calls “Queen to Bishop three” when what he should have said was “Queen to Bishop SIX”.

The Kubrick Site: The Case For HAL’s Sanity

Kubrick, having played chess extensively in his youth, is well aware of this. Being a chess enthusiast and a film perfectionist, I wouldn’t think he would allow such a gaffe to crop up in a film of his. Moreover, I have recently been informed by Gerrit Bodde that this game was taken from a master game, Roesch vs. Schlage, played in 1913, and reported by the German news magazine “Der Spiegel.” This makes it exceedingly unlikely that this is a gaffe.

No chess-playing machine could possibly make a mistake in reporting a chess position. So HAL says “three” deliberately. Why does he do this? Perhaps to test Frank’s suitability for carrying out the mission. Does he conclude that Frank is not suitable? He doesn’t seem to be a very worthy opponent, he did not even pick up on the computers simple ‘mistake, ‘ which costs him the game. With his inexorable machine logic HAL might view Frank as flawed and therefore a risk to the mission.

Sadly, as a result of the bad press received in the film, HAL is now listed as the 13th-greatest film villain ever.

BUT we have plenty of heroes on the 12th of January in 2013! These are the stunning Saturday Scenes that were taken:

And here’s the list of good guys who saved the day:

Why don’t you join in?

We’d love to see your photos! Just take a picture on a Saturday and send it to @SatScenes with a location.

See you next week!

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