SETI Talks

Wednesday, May 23 2018 - 7:00 pm, PDT

HAL's Legacy: 2001's Computer as Dream and Reality

David Stork

Along with celebrating 50 years of software engineering, we can also celebrate the premiere of one of the most famous science fiction movies in history, 2001: A Space Odyssey. One of the central characters in the movie was the supercomputer HAL, the most powerful computer imagined at that time. Possessed knowledge superior to that of a human, HAL controlled the spaceship, found solutions to the most complex problems, played chess with the astronauts, and served them continuously. Then something went wrong. Why?  Was it a bug in the system, or a problem intrinsic to AI? This is the core question.

50 years later, we might frame the questions differently: Would it be possible to design a computer today that could reach or outreach HAL’s capabilities? Can today’s software do what HAL did? What are the ethical questions and dangers of AI in such a context?

In this interactive talk Dr. David Stork will discuss these questions and explore the ethical concerns and potential deep dangers of artificial intelligence.

Dr. David G. Stork works in pattern recognition, machine learning, computer vision and computational sensing and imaging and is a pioneer in the application of rigorous computer image analysis to problems in the history and interpretation of fine art. He is a graduate in physics from MIT and the University of Maryland and has held faculty positions in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Electrical Engineer, Statistics, Neuroscience, Psychology and Art and Art History variously at Wellesley and Swarthmore Colleges and Clark, Boston and Stanford Universities. Dr. Stork is a Fellow of IEEE, the Optical Society of America, SPIE, the International Association for Pattern Recognition, the International Academy, Research and Industry Association, the Society for Imaging Science and Technology, and a Senior Member of the Association for Computing Machinery. He is the editor of “HAL’s Legacy, 2001’s Computer as Dream and Reality” which reflects upon science fiction's most famous computer and explores the relationship between science fantasy and technological fact.