This is an older article but still pretty interesting.
How generations of NASA scientists were inspired by an evil Hollywood supercomputer.
Half a century ago, 2001: A Space Odyssey imagined a future fueled by high-tech computers that thought, learned and adapted. Central to this vision was HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) 9000, the “sentient” computer that ran the crew’s ship, Discovery One. In the film, HAL stood in as mission control center, life support and sixth member of the crew, making an ambitious Jupiter mission possible for the ship’s six astronauts.
Today, as we look toward sending the first humans to Mars, the idea of HAL is shimmering once more at the forefront of researchers’ minds. Roughly 15 years from now, NASA plans to put the first humans in orbit around the red planet, which will mean traveling farther from Earth than ever before. Unlike moon-goers, these astronauts won’t be able to rely on ground control for a quick fix. If something goes wrong, they’ll be up to 40 minutes away from getting a reply from Earth.
″‘Houston, we have a problem’ is not really a great option, because the response is too slow,” as Ellen Stofan, former NASA chief scientist, put it last month at a summit on deep space travel hosted by The Atlantic. “I keep saying, we need a nice HAL.”
Read more at Smithsonian.com here:
The astronauts of “2001: A Space Odyssey” hide in a pod to discuss the troubling behavior of their spacecraft’s artificial intelligence, HAL 9000. In the background, HAL is able to read their lips. (Warner Bros / IMDB)