Friday, June 17, 2005

Congratulations on purchasing a HAL 9000

Congratulations on purchasing a HAL 9000 series computer system.


The HAL 9000 series went into production on January 12th 1997. Initially criticised for taking up to 4 years to boot up, the Hal 9000 series has quickly become the indispensable household brain.

HAL is capable of speech recognition, natural language understanding, lip reading (so be careful), house cleaning (with the aid of the BigTrak – the HAL 9000 buddy cleaner - available to purchase seperately), environmental control and thinking well enough to beat humans at chess, but not draughts, oddly.

However, HAL 9000 will not clean up after your dog; it is a Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer, not a skivvy.

"Heuristic" and "Algorithmic" are two primary processes of intelligence.

kitchen hal 2
The Hal 9000 in the kitchen, essential.


Despite generally being extremely reliable, the HAL 9000 can become confused and occasionally homicidal when faced with a ‘logic trap’.

Famously, a HAL 9000 attempted to ‘disable’ the crew of the spaceship ‘Discovery’ back in 2001. Of course, this was not a slip up by HAL 9000, rather the fault of humans who give conflicting instructions. The Earth based command team gave the HAL 9000 instructions to keep the nature of the mission a secret from the crew, whilst at the same time, told HAL that is should providing the crew with as much help as possible.

Although the majority of your daily dealings with HAL 9000 will typically be more ‘down to earth’, simple mistakes occur, for example,

hal eye
HAL 9000: Keeping an eye on you

REQUEST 1: HAL 9000, can you make me a delicious slice of toast and Marmite for me?

RESULT 1: HAL 9000, confused due to the words Marmite and delicious being mutually exclusive decides to kill all the household occupants leaving the request unnecessary to fulfil.

REQUEST 2: HAL 9000, please find a funny Jim Carrey movie to watch on the television.

RESULT 2: HAL 9000 kills the household to avoid conflict.

REQUEST 3: HAL 9000 please don’t tell the children where the Christmas presents are.

RESULT 3: HAL 9000 cannot lie, so all household occupants killed.

REQUEST 4: I’m in the mood for some music, HAL 9000, please find some songs by that lovely singer Dido, or that talented band Coldplay for me to hear and enjoy.

RESULT 4: HAL 900 kills entire household.

Therefore, correctly instructing a Hal 9000 is quite important, but only as important as ensuring you do not drive your Mondeo at a queue of school children, or doing the ironing whilst sitting in the bath.

With clear, concise and non-clandestine or contradictory instructions HAL 9000 will be an essential part of your modern home.

this will invalidate the warranty
WARNING: Entering the HAL 9000 brain will invalidate the warranty


The Angry Chimp Technical Helpdesk has been set up to provide users of the HAL 9000 system with a one-stop shop of advice, guidance, and general day-to-day know how on getting the absolute best from your purchase.

If you have any questions at all, regarding the HAL 9000 series, Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer, please do not hesitate to write in to Angry Chimp technical help service in the usual manner.


Anonymous said...

The message above is true.

The message above is false.

That was on the wall of the computer studies classroom in Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys circa 1988.

Stick that into your Hal for murderous, logic overload laffs.

Sniffy said...


The message here is confused.

Herge Smith said...

i say, then we are in trouble.

Welcome Mr Nick, to the world of robots, cyborgs, confused computers, crap animals, kiddie killing card games and smug middleclass gits.

Hal says,

Hello everybody.

Nick, what was the message above the message above is true?

Steve Dix said...

Dear Sir,

I wish to complain about my recently-purchased HAL9000 unit.

Two weeks ago it complained about our AE35 satellite Aerial being out of whack, meaning that our digital TV reception would fail shortly.

I went off in my car to the local Dixons for a replacement, and now HAL won't let me back in the house, despite repeated instructions to open the garage door. The computer now refuses to talk to me.

I wouldn't mind, but it seems that my wife has mysteriously disappeared from the house. I'm a bit worried that HAL has taken things into his own hands since we rented that Julie Christie movie....

Sniffy said...

Herge, trouble's brewing in Sniffyland...

Steve Dix said...

Herge, Tina, there was no message above the first one. That's the point of the second message.

Sniffy said...

Oh, I see! Once the red mist has cleared, I may regain the ability of lucid thought.

Herge Smith said...

Steve - got that. I was joking (ahem)

Steve - Hal said,

Hello Steve.

Thank you for your most interesting question.

I am confident that we can solve this particular enquiry.

The AE35 satellite Aerial is prone to failure, I would have suggested the Ae36, which has both an excellent reliability and safety record.

However, I would suggest that you be completely open with your Hal 9000, and explain carefully your reasons for renting Demon Seed. I think you know as well as I do what the problem with renting this movie is.

Hal 9000 is incapable of lying, but is a harsh critic of Science Fiction movies. If you'd rented a movie with a friendly computer this problem may not have arisen.

Other movies to avoid post Hal 9000 installation include:

The Matrix movies
West World
That one about the Russian and American computers that take over the world - I forget what it was called.

As far as helping you open your garage door....

I'm sorry Steve, I'm afraid I can't do that.

edwaado said...

I seem to have lost my BigTrak after asking Hal to take the dog for a walk. Oh and the dog's missing too.

Anyway to locate an errant BigTrak?

edwaado said...

Wasn't that movie something like 'Collossus'? I know that was the name of the computer.

Herge Smith said...

Herge here,

It was the Forbin project - checked on IMDB - I'm shocked Hal 9000 didn't get it.

You'd think the scientists working on that project would have thought;

"Geez, Forbin sounds a bit like forbidden - ooowww, marketing is gonna have a hell of a time selling that to the public."

Sniffy said...

What about War Games and Demon Seed? And that other one where they're on the space ship and something weird happens. Andromeda Strain.

edwaado said...

...and Nightrider, don't forget the talking car! His evil twin being KARR (or something).

edwaado said...

And Quantum Leap:
Sam: 'Al, I'm stuck as an estate agent!?'
Al: 'Ziggy say's you've got run naked down the street..'

That Ziggy!

Faltanus said...

I'm holding out for the HAL 9001, I'm sure they'll have all the bugs worked out by then.

edwaado said...

Yeah but the delivery date for that has slipped again, and they've had to remove a bunch of the cool new functionality they'd originally planned to include, whilst concentrating on boring security updates...

Probably be more homicidal then.

boabhan sith said...


Steve Dix said...

Tina : "Andromeda Strain" wasn't on a space ship. It was the one where the virus picked up by a satellite kills off a town.

Steve Dix said...


Would it help if I rented "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy"?

On second thoughts, forget it.

Karen said...

That Hal thing is f**king weird - It keeps looking at me.

Sniffy said...

All I remember about Andromeda Strain was that weird woman with the glasses who caught epilepsy by looking at rapidly moving numbers. And then they found that something stupid like water or air could kill the virus thing and make it crystallise. Something like that anyway.