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Kubrick’s AI-controlled vision of the future

Sober people were wowed by its incredibly realistic future world, which inspired young Steven Spielberg and George Lucas to invent their own space epics.

BACK IN 1968 movie audiences first heard the words calmly intoned and ominous words: “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.” These were spoken by a spaceship’s intelligent computer in the science-fiction masterpiece “2001: A Space Odyssey.” With that one phrase, the computer named HAL 9000 confirmed that it could think for itself, and that it was prepared to terminate the astronauts who were planning to deactivate it.
Fifty years after director Stanley Kubrick released his visionary masterpiece of space colonization, how close are humans to the future that he imagined, in which we partner with artificial intelligence (A.I.) that we ultimately may not be able to control? [5 Intriguing Uses for Artificial Intelligence (That Aren’t Killer Robots)]
The world might be a lot closer than we think, with machines as smart — and as potentially threatening — as HAL lurking “in plain sight on Earth.”
Essay author Robin Murphy, a professor of computer science and engineering at Texas A&M University, knows artificial intelligence well; she was a pioneering leader in the development of disaster-response robots, and she serves as director of Texas A&M’s Humanitarian Robotics and AI Laboratory, according to a faculty biography.

The main antagonist
HAL 9000 is a fictional character and the main antagonist in Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odyssey series. First appearing in 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) is a sentient computer (or artificial general intelligence) that controls the systems of the Discovery One spacecraft and interacts with the ship’s astronaut crew. Part of HAL’s hardware is shown towards the end of the film, but he is mostly depicted as a camera lens containing a red or yellow dot, instances of which are located throughout the ship. HAL 9000 is voiced by Douglas Rain in the two feature film adaptations of the Space Odyssey series.
 

A murderous computer named HAL in the film “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968).

Kubrick’s portrait of HAL represented a rare glimpse of what were then very young fields: AI and robotics, showcasing three disciplines that were critical for developing artificial intelligence: “natural language understanding, computer vision and reasoning,” Murphy wrote in the essay.
HAL learned from observing its environment, watching and analyzing the words, facial expressions and movements of the human astronauts on the spaceship. It was responsible for performing rote functions such as maintaining the spaceship, but as a “thinking” computer, HAL also was capable of responding conversationally to the astronauts, Murphy explained.
However, when the mission goes awry and the astronauts decide to shut HAL down, the AI discovers their plot by lip-reading. HAL arrives at a new conclusion that wasn’t part of its original programming, deciding to save itself by systematically killing off the people onboard.
The prospect of AI doing more harm than good may not be that farfetched. Experts suggest that weaponized AI could play a big part in future global conflicts, and the late physicist Stephen Hawking suggested that humanity might soon find AI to be the biggest threat to our survival.

A dependable member of the crew
In 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL is initially considered a dependable member of the crew, maintaining ship functions and engaging genially with its human crew-mates on an equal footing. As a recreational activity, Frank Poole plays against HAL in a game of chess. In the film the artificial intelligence is shown to triumph easily. However, as time progresses, HAL begins to malfunction in subtle ways and, as a result, the decision is made to shut down HAL in order to prevent more serious malfunctions. The sequence of events and manner in which HAL is shut down differs between the novel and film versions of the story. In the aforementioned game of chess HAL makes minor and undetected mistakes in his analysis, a possible foreshadowing to HAL’s malfunctioning.

Hawking’s prediction
“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” Hawking told the BBC in 2014.
During a pivotal scene in “2001,” HAL strands astronaut David Bowman (Keir Dullea) outside the spaceship, cutting off his demands for re-entry with an emotionless, “This conversation can serve no purpose anymore.” But the conversation about AI today is far from over; humanity’s growing dependence on computers for a range of everyday uses demonstrates that AI has already established a firm foothold in our homes and in our lives.

HAL was ATHENA
The killer computer HAL was originally a woman. “Originally,  HAL was ATHENA [named after the Greek goddess of wisdom and war],” 2001 writer Arthur C. Clarke told critic Mark Caro. “We had decided to have a woman’s voice.” Then ATHENA became HAL, which stands for a “heuristically programmed algorithmic” computer. Originally voiced by Martin Balsam (Psycho), the role was taken over by Douglas Rain, who reprised the character in Woody Allen’s Sleeper.

Actors in glowing polka dots
Early designs featured aliens played by actors in glowing polka dots, costumes resembling large insects, metallic crabs, and cones with tubelike legs. The alien cities resembled Las Vegas as seen by Hunter S. Thompson at his least sober. Happily, consultant Carl Sagan convinced Kubrick not to try depicting the aliens.
What that could mean for humanity over the next 50 years, however, remains to be seen.
— Internet

Comment

Sober people were wowed by its incredibly realistic future world, which inspired young Steven Spielberg and George Lucas to invent their own space epics.

BACK IN 1968 movie audiences first heard the words calmly intoned and ominous words: “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.” These were spoken by a spaceship’s intelligent computer in the science-fiction masterpiece “2001: A Space Odyssey.” With that one phrase, the computer named HAL 9000 confirmed that it could think for itself, and that it was prepared to terminate the astronauts who were planning to deactivate it.
Fifty years after director Stanley Kubrick released his visionary masterpiece of space colonization, how close are humans to the future that he imagined, in which we partner with artificial intelligence (A.I.) that we ultimately may not be able to control? [5 Intriguing Uses for Artificial Intelligence (That Aren’t Killer Robots)]
The world might be a lot closer than we think, with machines as smart — and as potentially threatening — as HAL lurking “in plain sight on Earth.”
Essay author Robin Murphy, a professor of computer science and engineering at Texas A&M University, knows artificial intelligence well; she was a pioneering leader in the development of disaster-response robots, and she serves as director of Texas A&M’s Humanitarian Robotics and AI Laboratory, according to a faculty biography.

The main antagonist
HAL 9000 is a fictional character and the main antagonist in Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odyssey series. First appearing in 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) is a sentient computer (or artificial general intelligence) that controls the systems of the Discovery One spacecraft and interacts with the ship’s astronaut crew. Part of HAL’s hardware is shown towards the end of the film, but he is mostly depicted as a camera lens containing a red or yellow dot, instances of which are located throughout the ship. HAL 9000 is voiced by Douglas Rain in the two feature film adaptations of the Space Odyssey series.
 

A murderous computer named HAL in the film “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968).

Kubrick’s portrait of HAL represented a rare glimpse of what were then very young fields: AI and robotics, showcasing three disciplines that were critical for developing artificial intelligence: “natural language understanding, computer vision and reasoning,” Murphy wrote in the essay.
HAL learned from observing its environment, watching and analyzing the words, facial expressions and movements of the human astronauts on the spaceship. It was responsible for performing rote functions such as maintaining the spaceship, but as a “thinking” computer, HAL also was capable of responding conversationally to the astronauts, Murphy explained.
However, when the mission goes awry and the astronauts decide to shut HAL down, the AI discovers their plot by lip-reading. HAL arrives at a new conclusion that wasn’t part of its original programming, deciding to save itself by systematically killing off the people onboard.
The prospect of AI doing more harm than good may not be that farfetched. Experts suggest that weaponized AI could play a big part in future global conflicts, and the late physicist Stephen Hawking suggested that humanity might soon find AI to be the biggest threat to our survival.

A dependable member of the crew
In 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL is initially considered a dependable member of the crew, maintaining ship functions and engaging genially with its human crew-mates on an equal footing. As a recreational activity, Frank Poole plays against HAL in a game of chess. In the film the artificial intelligence is shown to triumph easily. However, as time progresses, HAL begins to malfunction in subtle ways and, as a result, the decision is made to shut down HAL in order to prevent more serious malfunctions. The sequence of events and manner in which HAL is shut down differs between the novel and film versions of the story. In the aforementioned game of chess HAL makes minor and undetected mistakes in his analysis, a possible foreshadowing to HAL’s malfunctioning.

Hawking’s prediction
“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” Hawking told the BBC in 2014.
During a pivotal scene in “2001,” HAL strands astronaut David Bowman (Keir Dullea) outside the spaceship, cutting off his demands for re-entry with an emotionless, “This conversation can serve no purpose anymore.” But the conversation about AI today is far from over; humanity’s growing dependence on computers for a range of everyday uses demonstrates that AI has already established a firm foothold in our homes and in our lives.

HAL was ATHENA
The killer computer HAL was originally a woman. “Originally,  HAL was ATHENA [named after the Greek goddess of wisdom and war],” 2001 writer Arthur C. Clarke told critic Mark Caro. “We had decided to have a woman’s voice.” Then ATHENA became HAL, which stands for a “heuristically programmed algorithmic” computer. Originally voiced by Martin Balsam (Psycho), the role was taken over by Douglas Rain, who reprised the character in Woody Allen’s Sleeper.

Actors in glowing polka dots
Early designs featured aliens played by actors in glowing polka dots, costumes resembling large insects, metallic crabs, and cones with tubelike legs. The alien cities resembled Las Vegas as seen by Hunter S. Thompson at his least sober. Happily, consultant Carl Sagan convinced Kubrick not to try depicting the aliens.
What that could mean for humanity over the next 50 years, however, remains to be seen.
— Internet


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Towards 100Gigabit Ethernet

FOR NETWORK managers, migrating to “higher-speed Ethernet”, as it’s been dubbed by the Ethernet Alliance, will definitely require some changes. Most of these are at the physical layer (new cabling is required, for starters). Also, some monitoring and management gear may not be able to keep up with HSE rates.
Standards-based 40- and 100-gigabit Ethernet switches and routers are starting to show up in enterprise networks, following ratification of the IEEE 802.3ba specification in mid-2010.
It’s easy to understand the motivation: Fast downlinks require even faster uplinks. The current solution, link aggregation of multiple 10-gigabit pipes, works well but only scales up to a point.
At the same time, servers for some high-performance applications now use 10-gigabit network interface cards, again requiring a faster uplink at the switch. It won’t be long before 10-gigabit interfaces will be a standard part of server motherboards, just as gigabit Ethernet comes standard today.
On the plus side, HSE will help reduce prices for 10G Ethernet devices. “The real leverage [with HSE] is with pushing down the price point of 10-gigabit Ethernet, rather than the first-order effects of 100-gigabit deployment,” says a senior architect at one of the largest ISPs in the U.S., who requested anonymity. “If bigger pipes are good, then bigger pipes that are affordable and create greater commoditization of 10-gigabit Ethernet are better.”
Also, HSE is far more evolutionary than revolutionary. Network professionals who’ve worked with Ethernet will feel right at home with the 40G- and 100Gbps versions. Still, an understanding of what’s new is essential (see sidebar: “5 steps to high-speed Ethernet”).

No design changes
Migration to 40- and 100-gigabit Ethernet requires no modification to upper-layer network design, networking protocols, or applications. “It all looks the same to the upper layers,” says Brandon Ross, Eastern U.S. director of network engineering at Torrey Point Group, a network design consultancy. “There aren’t any changes needed.”
That means, for example, that a network using the rapid spanning tree protocol (RSTP) between switches and open shortest path first (OSPF) between routers can continue to run these protocols across HSE interfaces, without configuration changes.
Ethernet is the traditional technology for connecting wired local area networks (LANs), enabling devices to communicate with each other via a protocol—a set of rules or common network language.
As a data-link layer protocol in the TCP/IP stack, Ethernet describes how network devices can format and transmit data packets so other devices on the same local or campus area network segment can recognize, receive and process them. An Ethernet cable is the physical, encased wiring over which the data travels.
— Internet

Comment

FOR NETWORK managers, migrating to “higher-speed Ethernet”, as it’s been dubbed by the Ethernet Alliance, will definitely require some changes. Most of these are at the physical layer (new cabling is required, for starters). Also, some monitoring and management gear may not be able to keep up with HSE rates.
Standards-based 40- and 100-gigabit Ethernet switches and routers are starting to show up in enterprise networks, following ratification of the IEEE 802.3ba specification in mid-2010.
It’s easy to understand the motivation: Fast downlinks require even faster uplinks. The current solution, link aggregation of multiple 10-gigabit pipes, works well but only scales up to a point.
At the same time, servers for some high-performance applications now use 10-gigabit network interface cards, again requiring a faster uplink at the switch. It won’t be long before 10-gigabit interfaces will be a standard part of server motherboards, just as gigabit Ethernet comes standard today.
On the plus side, HSE will help reduce prices for 10G Ethernet devices. “The real leverage [with HSE] is with pushing down the price point of 10-gigabit Ethernet, rather than the first-order effects of 100-gigabit deployment,” says a senior architect at one of the largest ISPs in the U.S., who requested anonymity. “If bigger pipes are good, then bigger pipes that are affordable and create greater commoditization of 10-gigabit Ethernet are better.”
Also, HSE is far more evolutionary than revolutionary. Network professionals who’ve worked with Ethernet will feel right at home with the 40G- and 100Gbps versions. Still, an understanding of what’s new is essential (see sidebar: “5 steps to high-speed Ethernet”).

No design changes
Migration to 40- and 100-gigabit Ethernet requires no modification to upper-layer network design, networking protocols, or applications. “It all looks the same to the upper layers,” says Brandon Ross, Eastern U.S. director of network engineering at Torrey Point Group, a network design consultancy. “There aren’t any changes needed.”
That means, for example, that a network using the rapid spanning tree protocol (RSTP) between switches and open shortest path first (OSPF) between routers can continue to run these protocols across HSE interfaces, without configuration changes.
Ethernet is the traditional technology for connecting wired local area networks (LANs), enabling devices to communicate with each other via a protocol—a set of rules or common network language.
As a data-link layer protocol in the TCP/IP stack, Ethernet describes how network devices can format and transmit data packets so other devices on the same local or campus area network segment can recognize, receive and process them. An Ethernet cable is the physical, encased wiring over which the data travels.
— Internet


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