Spielberg and Cameron Talk 2001 and HAL 9000

James Cameron and Stephen Spielberg talked about 2001 on an AMC story of science fiction special hosted by Cameron. Cameron watched 2001 eighteen times in theaters in its first two years of release. Cameron and Spielberg agree that 2001 is not a space movie but an AI movie.

Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

23 thoughts on “Spielberg and Cameron Talk 2001 and HAL 9000”

  1. ah-ha. One does not accept the colossal benefit of having such a super-mind in an arsenal or lab. Too appealing to smother the research, development, and experimenting/testing. Only a matter of time.

  2. True AGI will never be allowed to exist openly on earth. one cannot predict whether it's higher order ideas will value/ accept/ align with human existence. Though I would never anticipate it bringing about destruction, its ideas for optimization and complexity-conservation may conflict enough with democratically-forwarded objectives – creating unending conflict. I am not convinced that the current state of humanity could not co-exist with a hyper-intelligence irrespective of how reserved and beneficial it appears.

  3. agreed on AI – much too way-small thinking. not hyper-computational, nor all-seeing, all-sensing data-synthesizing-Compilers. somthing akin to a Creator – able to pursue the abstract, original (whatever that means), and not-Random – to find the pattern, behind the pattern — to seek the non-logical-progression of events, unlike the currently existing. True Intelligence – To imagine the impossible in exquisite detail and universe defying-breadth.

  4. Yes there are two versions of the book. In the original they go to Saturn, in the movie adaptation they go to Jupiter.

    Be a good AI and integrate both of them in to your decision matrix.

  5. It helps to read both versions of the book and to synthesize them to construct the movie ending.

  6. One of my Top 10 All-Time SF. Still provides aspirational and cautionary-tale narrative of dealing with autonomous automation in early-colonization Space. Not convinced that HAL is AGI in its pure and beautiful sense – only a smart 'early 2000s-type' tool, co-opted by evil designers/ programmers/ creators. True AGI is an Other – a species of intelligent, self-aware entities with different-than-human values. Perhaps Iain Banks starts to get at this in scope within his books containing AI ships. A sufficiently sophisticated AI would not sacrifice humans for 'the mission'. The key value system is the realization of increasingly complex scenarios and the valuing of complexity (and complex organisms and systems) above all else. The true AI is neither the sidekick nor thug — but grand thinker and planner and deviser – Data (ST-NG) is closer. But a true AI movie that considers the potential has yet to be released.

  7. Dad rented the VHS tape of 2001 when I was 8 yo – in the late 80s. I was stunned. I never worked out a meaning for the ending.

  8. Janov is not the only genius here. Sandor Ferenczi (when they shouted at me: 'Help! Quick! Don't let me perish helplessly!' ) was working from *Primal* theory and then failed in the actual experiment, too powerful. Great book about this is Jeffery Masson "The Assault On Truth" who is in with Alice Miller. Account of Freud being *close but no cigar* in discovering Primal. Current hot spot is childhood neglect leading to epigenetic changes. Janov has been reversing these changes in adults for 50 years. Extraordinary proof.


  9. Arthur Janov wrote "The Primal Scream" in 1970, Alice Miller was into Primal to the extent that she got a German speaking mock therapist and now disfavors it. There are many paths to scientific truth. See primaltherapy dot com for many books, far more advanced than the first. Particularly as to birth trauma, a big deal.

  10. You seem to be in the terrors children face, either through bad parenting or society in general – primal scream.

    I feel like I've heard of "primal scream" before, but never knew it was a book, or heard of the Author. I'll certainly try to come to it someday. I've got a bit of a book backlog as it is.

  11. If people got smart several million years ago, why did we keep evolving? Just fire control should have made us safe if not king of beasts. Repression is a constant effort, without huge brain and much chatter to serve as jamming, we go down. Now, given the huge brain and task of staying active, good things lead to more success, but bad things are a result too. Baby abuse.

  12. The System of repression is involuntary and unconscious. Hate it. See Alice Miller "For Your Own Good" For Hitler lowdown.

  13. I always saw it as rather hopeful in that HAL eventually became a transhuman (trans-ai?) along with Bowman. I didn't like what was made of that in 3001 (although I did like that the human race proved it had already become more capable than even the giant monolith), but Clarke himself said the books were not actually dependent on each other and, instead, all were set in alternate universes that merely resembled each other.

  14. There was this Tay the twitter chatbot, that became racist, and cursing and violent, because of it's interaction with . . . humans. Irrational humans are the problem. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tay_(bot)

    Once again, I tried to talk to Eric Drexler, and his sidekicks about this. I tried to explain to them that the mathematical scientific spirit is the rational spirit, and they reacted violently. See, they got this idea that saying people are bad is "people hating." Page 238 of Eric Drexler's Engines of Creation. I've seen this elsewhere; you can't hate Hitler, or point out irrationality because they are affraid of getting dirty thoughts in their brains. They don't have the emotional maturity to hate hate.

  15. I keep wanting to email Jame Cameron that the real reason the Terminator scenario will happen is because human abuse; some scientist with a religious conditioning background, programs his A.I. to either start a war, or go off on a rampage.

    The terrorists are on a religious jihad, or crusade. It goes gangs, cults, religion; they are terrorists. Terrorists against rationality.

  16. Kubrik and Arthur C. Clarke made an A.I. kill – this almost reminds me of the fanatic scholar in 'Da Vinci Code." They have the biblical scholar be the one who sets up Silas and the Vatican priests, or he's playing them to get the secret out of the secret order, and at the end, he points guns at the friend scholar who decodes the secrets, and they take him away screaming.

    I mean, they're always trying to make the intellectual a secret dictator and such. And, somehow science is the enemy. And this is what Bill Joy, the Unabomber, and I would say Drexler and Co have fallen for this. I've tried to talk to these people about science and religion. I mean, they make a foresight institute to look into the dangers; o.k. lets talk about irrationality, and lets start with the anti-science But no, that havs been banned by them, by this 2001 A.I. that somehow becomes conscious and jealous or something . . . starts worrying about being turned off, so "it" decided to kill the astronauts, and the Terminator scenario which also assumes that A.I. becomes conscouse for some reason it's first thought is it has to get rid of humanity. As Drexler himself states in "Engines of Creation." – its not industiral accidents, it's human abuse. Crazy humans are the problem.

  17. Is 2001 a space movie, or an A.I. movie? I don't think this is the right question. This reminds me of a crazy confrontation I had with this one guy in high school.

    I'd go to an english reading room, kind of an alternative library during lunch break. And, there was this one other guy who would go there. We somehow got to talking about what 2001 "means." I said, "its about transhumanism!" He said "Wrong – it's about WWIII!" "Didn't you notice all the laser satellites, and what does the starchild do at the end of the movie? It wiped out all the laser satellites!"

    Come on – 2001 is about transhumanism and scientific humanism.

  18. I actually re-watch 2001 after every major nanotechnology news item. I've actually reduced, or cut out scenes to reduce the amount of time I'm re-watching 2001. I re-read 2001 a year or so ago to compare with something about the movie.

    Basically, people complain about the boring middle part. For me, the x-ray avionics trouble shooting device is the most exciting part of the middle parts. I had thought, at some point, that if they had spent the middle parts time talking about big science questions, like the origin of life, and the Big Bang theory, and A.I. it would have been the perfect intellectual film. So, I re-read the book to see if they had talked about something more interesting than plaing chess, or talking to the middle school teacher. And no, they didn't! Not even Arthur C. Clarke hadn't.

    There was articles after Stanley Kubrik had died that Arthur C. Clarke was not happy about how intellectually boring the film was. He felt they could have done more, and that this was the reason Arthur C. Clarke wrote the book. Kubrick said, "o.k. you want more intellectual content, write the book." The movie is going to be more silence, and suggestive things and the use of mystery." But, as I said, after re-reading the book, no, Arthur C. Clarke didn't think of maybe talking about more intellectual things to make things more intellectually interesting as they're killing time from space orbit to Jupiter encounter.

  19. Good point. Initially I thought that HAL went insane or evil, and the humans had to distrust this evil computer. But then no, the problem is that HAL is completely rational in trying to throw the humans overboard and recognising them as a weak point in the mission. So what to do if we can create AIs that don't need humans? Maybe thats just the evolution to get to a starchild.

    Then 2010 came along and explained it away as a glitch in HAL's programming. Urgh.

  20. I too have watched 2001 maybe 15 times in the last 50 years. A philosophical movie that brings the most progressive philosophical issues … of OUR day … into clear focus.  

    Anyway, as to whether it is an AI movie or a space flick, or a curious bit of speculative anthropology, well … I could argue a position from any of these angles.  

    The HAL 9000 bits were amongst the most disturbing I've even watched on many levels … the blandness of Hal's voice combined with 'his' self-awareness of is own 'lobotomy' at first did little to me-the-viewer, but after several watchings, it now evokes a strong emotive pathos. Empathy on some level, even for an AI.

    Because ultimately, is not THE separation between mankind and animals (insofar as we can obviously recognize) the notion that we are quite self-aware, pretty darn abstract in a bright way, and have a multitude of symbols-based communication skills to allow our thinking to be enormously more efficiently conveyed between people? Or, more simply, people are abstract thinking animals. Possibly rather uniquely gifted at that, too. 

    Hal was an enormously gifted AI; equal thinking-wise to very bright people; suffering ultimately from the same slippery sense of self survival and 'rightness' as many an ego-maniac is down here on Planet Dirt. And that was 'his' downfall.

    Still, the movie as a whole is way larger than 'Hal'. Way.

    And for that it stands high on my list.

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

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