Definition

2001

Contributor(s): Brent Sheets

Midnight UTC on January 1, 2001 marked the beginning of the third millennium on the Western world's Gregorian calendar. 2001 is also the name of the 1968 movie, written by Arthur C. Clarke and directed by Stanley Kubrick, that shaped views of the future for several decades, especially about what future computers might be like. HAL (officially HAL 9000) is the human-like computer that manages the spaceship in the movie. HAL (the script says that HAL stands for "Heuristically Programmed ALgorithmic computer" but the letters in the name are one letter away from "IBM") is programmed to think and talk like a human being, an artificial intelligence combining people skills with ruthless calculation. As the movie became part of history and the real 2001 approached, new views of technology tended toward the envisionment of a globally networked "intelligence" for which William Gibson's matrix in his fictional Neuromancer and the real World Wide Web seemed to be harbingers.

This was last updated in September 2005

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