ByMark Newton, writer at
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

Back in 1968 people weren't terrified of computers yet. The idea of a computer becoming self-aware and blowing us all up seemed ludicrous (perhaps because, back then, there were enough humans threatening to do that). However, it turns out that , director of scifi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, wasn't worried about aggressive computers, but sensitive computer companies.

2001: A Space Odyssey is the story of an astronaut, Dave, who attempts to shut down his ship's murderous control computer, HAL 9000. In order to achieve the film's look and story, Kubrick conducted tons of research, including consulting with technology giant IBM. However, it seems to have suddenly hit the director that IBM may not appreciate being associated with a story of a killer computer. So, he asked Roger Caras, the Vice President of Kubrick's Production Company, Polaris Productions, to make extra sure IBM knew what they were getting into. The guys over at io9 managed to get hold of some very interesting letters which show their exchange. Check them out below:

So, luckily for Kubrick, IBM seemed to know what the movie entailed. However, that hasn't stopped some fans speculating that 2001 has actually a thinly veiled attack on IBM. Firstly, the three letters of HAL are directly before each letter of IBM in the alphabet. Secondly, HAL sings "Daisy Bell" as Dave 'kills' him. This tune was famously played by an IBM 704 computer in 1961 and is the first example of synthesized speech. Check it out here. It is truly terrifying.


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