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A Tribute to HAL, the 13th Greatest Movie Villain of All Time

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

If you look hard enough, you can find a legal angle anywhere -- even in the eternal reaches of space.

Gerry W. Beyer, who writes for the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog, found cause to pay tribute to the voice of HAL. That would be the "13th Greatest Movie Villain of All Time."

Douglas Rain, the voice-actor for the computer protagonist in 2001 A Space Odyssey, has died. HAL, of course, went with him.

Open the Doors!

In the Stanley Kubric space-opera, HAL is the supercomputer guiding a spaceship to the stars. But the AI-eccentric computer appears to have taken over the mission, and his human passengers decide to shut him down.

Dave, one of the astronauts, plans to do it from outside the ship. He tells HAL, who speaks better digital than Siri, to open the doors to the spacecraft.

HAL: "I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."

Dave: "What's the problem?"

HAL: "I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do."

One Small Step

To Dave's dismay, HAL explains that he knew about the plan to disconnect him. Dave curses and says he'll step outside through an emergency airlock.

"Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore," HAL says. "Goodbye."

Shut down by a chatbot. And you thought Siri was a bad navigator.

Goodbye, Mr. Beyer. Say hello to HAL.

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