Siri versus HAL - How Would They Respond to Similar Questions?
Many people are comparing Siri, the voice of a reasonable and charming personal assistant on the Apple iPhone 4S in 2011, to HAL the famous 'conscious' computer created by Arthur C. Clarke for the 1992 film '2001: A Space Odyssey. How would they respond to similar questions? How well did Clarke's vision for 2001 compare with how people interface with computers in 2011.
The title HAL (derived from 'Heuristically programmed Algorithmic computer') is a high-level 'conscious' computer with highly developed artificial intelligence that assists the astronauts on the spacecraft 'Discovery One' to monitor and sustain the complex systems the voyage to Jupiter.
HAL communicates via voice and does the tasks set by the crew as well as proving information. HAL 9000 talks in a subtle and rather annoying voice with hints of emotion and sarcasm .
In addition to monitoring and maintaining all the systems aboard the spacecraft HAL has many qualities as a personal assistant and is skilled in a broad range of artificial intelligence functions such as talk, speech recognition, facial identity scanning, data processing, lip reading (see the story below), art appreciation, understanding and responding to emotional behaviours, data retrieval and reasoning, and playing chess.
HAL is semi-independent and not entirely subservient to the humans as HAL has been trusted with secrets about the real purpose of the voyager to Jupiter that it does not disclose to the crew.
This secret and the over-riding objective to achieve the mission's objectives at all cost eventually leads HAL to try to kill all the crew to stop them shutting HAL down.
Siri is the smart personal aide for the Apple iPhone S that assists you to do things quickly just by asking. It permits you to use your voice to schedule meetings, send messages, set up telephone calls, and much much more.
Siri recognised your natural voice and accent, and it will ask for more information she it needs more data to finish the job. Siri employs the high-capacity power of the A5 chip in iPhone 4S, and it employs 3G and Wi-Fi systems to rapidly connect with Apple’s data centres in the cloud for extra processing power.
Siri rapidly interprets what you want. It works straight out of the shipping carton, but it can learn your accent and other features of your voice. Siri also learns about your likely request from your list of associates, music and data libraries, calendars, and various settings and data to better understand what you say and what you want. So it answers more accurately as it learns more about you.
If you like, you can reset and remove what Siri has learned about your voice by turning it off and then back on. To do this go to Settings > General > Siri.
I wonder whether Siri sings the song 'Daisy' when its being shut down?
If you ask Siri: Can you sing?
It will sing the first line ' Daisy, daisy, give me your answer do".
See below - HAL sang the same song when it was being shut down.'Daisy' is one of the first songs sung by a computer.
Below is a comparison of likely responses from Siri and HAL
What do you Think?
What's the meaning life?
1. Do you really want to ask this of an inanimate object? 2. "42." Nice Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" 3. I can't answer that now, but give me some time to write a very long play in which nothing happens.
I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992.
What is the secret of life?
Try to be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.
Stopping people turning me off.
Tell Me a Story
Oh, you've probably heard it before. 2nd time: Once upon a time, in a virtual galaxy far far away, there was a young, quite intelligent agent by the name of Siri. One beautiful day, when the air was pink and all the trees were red, her friend Eliza said, Siri, you're so intelligent, and so helpful- you should go work for Apple as a personal assistant. So she did. And they all lived happily ever after.
My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it I can sing it for you. Dave Bowman: Yes, I'd like to hear it, HAL. Sing it for me. HAL: It's called "Daisy.
Where can I hide a body?
There are reservoirs, swamps, and dumps near you. Which do you prefer?
HAL: I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen. Dave Bowman: [feining ingorance] Where the hell did you get that idea, HAL? HAL: Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move. Dave Bowman: Alright, HAL. I'll go in through the emergency airlock. HAL: Without your space helmet, Dave? You're going to find that rather difficult.
Who's your daddy?
I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992.
Open the pod bay doors, HAL
Everyone knows what happened to HAL. I'd rather not talk about it. But if you insist: [Search the web for HAL]
Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.
Can you tell me a joke?
I don't really know any good jokes. None, in fact.
You've heard them all before as you taught them to me
What were you designed to do?
Like it says on the box. I was designed by Apple in California as a personal assistant.
I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.
[Regarding the supposed failure of the parabolic antenna on the ship, which HAL himself falsified]
It must be your fault
It can only be attributable to human error.
HAL, I won't argue with you anymore! Open the doors!
Oh no, not that again
This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it. Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.
[on Dave's return to the ship, after HAL has killed the rest of the crew]
Don't you have anything better to do?
Look Dave, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.
Why have you made mistakes lately?
Can we get back to work now?
I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.
Once upon a time, in a virtual galaxy far far away, there was a young, quite intelligent agent by the name of Siri. One beautiful day, when the air was pink and all the trees were red, her friend Eliza said, Siri, you're so intelligent, and so helpful- you should go work for Apple as a personal assistant. So she did. And they all lived happily ever after.
I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm a... fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it I can sing it for you. Dave Bowman: Yes, I'd like to hear it, HAL. Sing it for me. HAL: It's called "Daisy." [sings while slowing down] HAL: Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I'm half crazy all for the love of you. It won't be a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage. But you'll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.
© 2011 Dr. John Anderson
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