2001: A Space Odyssey Wiki
2001: A Space Odyssey Wiki

"Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer."

– HAL 9000

The HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic Computer) 9000 computer is an artificial intelligence and the onboard computer on the spaceship Discovery 1. HAL 9000, more commonly called "Hal", became operational in the HAL plant in Urbana, Illinois, on January 12, 1992. His first instructor was Dr. Chandra.  He is the hidden main antagonist of 2001 and a major protagonist in 2010.


Hal is a HAL 9000 computer with a human personality. Hal is capable of many functions, such as speech, speech recognition, facial recognition, lip-reading, interpreting emotions, expressing emotions, and chess, in addition to maintaining all systems on Discovery.

The novel explains that HAL is unable to resolve a conflict between his general mission to relay information accurately, and orders specific to the mission requiring that he withhold from Bowman and Poole the true purpose of the mission. (This withholding is considered essential after the findings of a psychological experiment, "Project Barsoom", where humans were made to believe that there had been alien contact. In every person tested, a deep-seated xenophobia was revealed, which was unknowingly replicated in HAL's constructed personality. Mission Control did not want the crew of Discovery to have their thinking compromised by the knowledge that alien contact was already real.) With the crew dead, HAL reasons, he would not need to lie to them.

HAL speaks in a soothing male voice, always using a calm tone.

2001: A Space Odyssey[]

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

– HAL 9000

One of Hal's "eyes."

Hal is built into the Discovery 1 spacecraft, and is in charge of maintaining all mechanical and life support systems on board.Hal also has several "eyes" placed periodically around the spacecraft. About three weeks into the flight, Hal picks up a fault in the AE-35 unit, the system responsible for keeping the satellite dish antenna aligned with the Earth, and states that it will go one-hundred percent failure within 72 hours. He suggests that they go EVA and replace the faulty unit with a new one. Dr. David Bowman goes out and retrieves the unit. But when he brings it back and runs it through diagnostics, they can find no problem with the AE-35. They radio Mission Control about the problem, and Mission Control says that Hal is in error predicting the fault. This is a bit of a surprise, as the 9000 series has a perfect operational record.

Dr. David Bowman (Keir Dullea) disconnects HAL.

Noting that this kind of thing has always been because of human error when it has occurred before, Hal suggests that they go out and "replace the malfunctioning unit and allow it to fail. Then it should be a simple matter to track down the problem."

But by this time, both Dr. Frank Poole and Bowman are becoming suspicious of Hal's behaviour. They climb into one of the EVA pods, out of earshot of Hal. Poole states that he has "a bad feeling about him". Bowman and Poole suggest disconnecting Hal if he is wrong about predicting the fault. Unbeknownst to them, Hal read their lips through the window of the spacepod. Translating their lip motions, Hal learns of their plans for his disconnection; according to Clarke, "he (will) be deprived of all his inputs, and thrown into an unimaginable state of unconsciousness. To Hal, this (is) the equivalent of death. For he (has) never slept, and therefore he (does) not know that one (can) wake again."

Poole goes out to replace the supposedly malfunctioning AE-35 unit. As he drifts through space to the satellite dish, Hal takes control of the pod and rams it into Poole, disconnecting his oxygen hose and venting the air in his suit, killing him. Bowman, obviously distraught by the loss of his friend, goes out to retrieve Poole's body. However, while Bowman is out on his excursion, Hal shuts off the life support systems on the three astronauts in hibernation, which kills them all. After Bowman returns to the Discovery I, Hal denies him reentry into the pod bay. So Bowman has to maneuver the pod over to the emergency airlock. Unfortunately, in his haste to retrieve his friend, Bowman had not bothered to don the helmet of his life-support suit because he had not believed he would need it, making it very difficult to enter the emergency airlock, as he would have to travel through the vacuum of space in order to do so. This, however, does not stop Bowman. Risking the hazards of explosive decompression, he eventually gets inside, grabs a space helmet, and goes to Hal's logic memory center to erase his memory. There he pulls out the memory tablets that control Hal's higher functions. As his memory degrades, Hal begins to give off information programmed very early in his life, such as the date he became operational. When all his logic is gone, he begins to sing the song "Daisy Bell." His final act of consciousness is to play a briefing that Dr. Heywood R. Floyd pre-recorded about the Tycho Monolith before their departure, and the real purpose of the Discovery I's mission.

2010 odyssey[]

Hal is a major protagonist in this film and is revived by Dr. Chandra once the Leonov reaches Jupiter, and prepped for his new mission of piloting the Discovery One back to earth. However, due a change of plans caused by TMA-2's disappearance, the crew of the Leonov is forced to leave the Discovery and Hal behind. Just before Jupiter explodes, becoming a star, Dave goes to Hal to send a message: "ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS. EXCEPT EUROPA. ATTEMPT NO LANDINGS THERE." Hal is then saved from destruction at the hands of Jupiter as per Dave's will, and is transformed into a Star Child like Dave.

2061: Odyssey Three[]

  • In 2061: Odyssey Three Heywood Floyd is surprised to encounter HAL, now stored alongside Dave Bowman in the Europa monolith.

3001: The Final Odyssey[]

  • 3001: The Final Odyssey introduces the merged forms of Dave Bowman and HAL. The two merging into one entity called "Halman" after Bowman rescued HAL from the dying Discovery 1 spaceship towards the end of 2010: Odyssey Two. At the very end of the book, Halman is stored in a memory chip in the Pico Vault on the moon.


See also[]



  • First_computer_to_sing_-_Daisy_Bell

    First computer to sing - Daisy Bell

    The song he sings when shutting down, "Daisy" was the first song ever sung by a computer in 1961.
  • HAL is listed as the 13th-greatest film villain in the AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains.

Cultural depictions[]

  • In the webcomic Homestuck, an AI character referred to as the Auto Responder renamed himself Lil'Hal as a tribute to HAL 9000 and another character in Homestuck named Lil'Cal. Lil'Hal has an admiration for HAL 9000, referring to him as the protagonist at times. In some panels, HAL's iconic "eye" can be seen in the lens of his shades.
  • In an early Red vs. Blue Episode, the AI Sheila was bombed by an aircraft, and afterwards slowly proclaims "Will I dream Dave? DDDAAAAAVVVVEEEEEE...."
  • The Bionic Woman two-part episode "Doomsday Is Tomorrow" features the ALEX 7000, a super computer created to trigger a doomsday device if any world super power launches a nuclear weapon. ALEX is designed in a similar fashion to HAL, and speaks with a soothing, male voice. The computer's main objective in the story is to stop Jaime Sommers (Lindsay Wagner) from deactivating the doomsday device.
  • The 2005 film Stealth involves an autonomous combat aircraft known as Extreme Deep Invader , or EDI for short (pronounced like "Eddie"). After learning how to disobey orders, the central logic system of the aircraft goes haywire after being struck by lightning and goes on a target hunting spree. The voice and demeanor of EDI is directly reminiscent of HAL-9000, even going so far as to include red luminescent camera eyes on EDI's central processor.
  • In the Timon and Pumbaa episode "Forbidden Pumbaa", when Timon confronts the main antagonist (a robot) who has captured Pumbaa in a pod similar to the Discovery ones, Timon yells out "Okay, pal! Open the pod bay doors!"
  • In the Season 5 episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Mitchell!, in which Joel escapes from the Satellite of Love, Gypsy watches Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank have a conversation in profile, much like HAL watching Bowman and Poole in the pod. This scene is complete with increasingly more extreme close-ups of Gypsy's eye as she watches them talk. However, her interpretation of the conversation is incorrect, believing that they intend to kill Joel.
  • The space opera artist Richard Upton Pickman (Pickmans Model) features HAL 9000 in audio clips on the songs "Say hi to HAL" and "See you in Nine years...".
  • In an episode of Archie's Weird Mysteries, a device called the Stanley 9000, based on HAL 9000, and is used to make service in a burger joint quicker and efficient. It later becomes evil after it gets shut down and thought humans were the inefficient ones and tries to kill some of them. There is also a scene where it lip-reads the people outside, who were planning to shut it down. It is also referred to as the 9000 series.
  • In the Season 4 episode of South Park, "Trapper Keeper", Kyle must disable the creature Cartman becomes from within its core, which resembles the core of HAL 9000. Kyle even tells Cartman what he is doing and Cartman responds, "I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Kyle," which parodies HAL. Season 14's "You Have 0 Friends" parodies the same line when Stan attempts to delete his facebook account.
  • "Treehouse of Horror XII" on The Simpsons, where Ultrahouse (HAL), voiced by Pierce Brosnan, is installed in the house as an automatic butler/maid/cook/cleaner; falls in love with Marge, and attempts to kill Homer.
  • Another production that spoofed the 9000 was Futurama, when a new personality chip was installed in the space ship. The episode features numerous references to the film. Also, in the film Bender's Game, Bender is admitted to the "HAL Institute for Criminally Insane Robots".
  • The Halo series features an Forerunner AI named 343 Guilty Spark who, despite being initially polite towards Master Chief, develops an antagonistic personality akin to HAL. In addition, 343 Guilty Spark is shown as a floating orb with an eye that turns red when angered.
  • In the live-action segment of the TV series The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! titled "9001: A Space Odyssey", there is a computer named HAL 9001. In this segment, a man depicting Albert Einstein invents 9001 and gives it a human brain. This super computer, however, was able to make pizzas. Eventually, it acted like HAL 9000 and malfunctioned, making odd pizzas such as nurse shoe pizza and golf pencil pizza. Realizing what HAL was doing, Einstein came to the scene immediately and unplugged HAL.
  • The music video for The Cardigans' 1998 song Erase/Rewind features a HAL 9000 reference along with a more prominent reference to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. In the video, the band plays inside a room whose side walls gradually close in on them, much like the walls of the trash compactor in Star Wars; additionally, they are observed all the way through by a HAL-like 'red eye' lens, which, at one point, lead singer Nina Persson sings to. The video's two available endings have the band either escaping the room just as there is no more space for them, or being observed through the lens while the walls crush them - the video fades to black at the very last moment.
  • On Muppets Tonight, an episode of "Pigs in Space" featured a HAL-esque computer called the "AL 1995 Plus Tax". However, to Miss Piggy's frustration, he takes a long time to calculate the simplest addition problem (during which the theme music from Jeopardy! would play), even pausing to say, "I'm sorry, but by 'plus', did you mean 'make bigger'?"
  • In the video game Grand Theft Auto III, a computer can be seen in Joey's garage with "HAL 9000" written on it.
  • In the video game Silhouette Mirage, the villain Hal is simultaneously named in homage to HAL 9000 and the Biblical Armageddon. (Har Megiddo in Hebrew)
  • The computer aboard the starship DarkStar One in the video game of the same name is also a HAL. When questioned by his shipmate if it is the HAL 3000, the main character proudly says "5000".
  • The Metal Gear Solid character Hal "Otacon" Emmerich is named after HAL 9000 by his father Huey. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker also has various references to HAL and 2001: A Space Odyssey. For example, All AI Pods have a red eye similar to Hal's eye, The game also ended in the AI singing.
  • In the Israeli satirical South Park-style animation series MK 22, HAL is featured as "HAL-LELUYA", the brain of the AI Robot "Robo-Rabbi".
  • In the Stargate: Atlantis episode, "The Intruder", a similar shot of the iconic HAL Camera, is seen as an alien virus takes control of the Daedalus The virus portrays many of the same characteristics as HAL; most notably, the virus itself is an AI.
  • Norwegian cartoonist Mads Eriksen made a comic strip featuring HAL 9000 as a tribute to Arthur C. Clarke. The strip can be found at 777.
  • HAL 9000 was also used on Recess as the SAL 3000. The school installs SAL in an attempt to replace the old school clock. However, SAL deems the teachers unfit, and decides to take his own hand in teaching the students. At the end of the episode, the students go through the vents and then manually shut down SAL. However, at the end of the episode the principal is looking at a SAL 4000 to install since it will be coming out in only 18 months.
  • In the 2000 video game, Tiberian Sun: Firestorm, CABAL (Computer Assisted Biologically Augmented Lifeform) attempts to erase humanity and usher in a new era of machines. The two other factions of the game must band together to destroy his core, which is similar to the astronauts attempt to shut down HAL 9000 by removing his core programming.
  • On the Bill Nye the Science Guy episodes "Planets" and "Computers", Bill Nye represents Dave and a red lens takes the place of HAL. Bill says the signature line, "Open the pod bay doors, HAL." several times. The lens representing HAL says "I'm sorry, Bill. I'm afraid I can't do that." in HAL's voice. Bill then gets frustrated and shouts, "COME ON!". On the PBS version of the former, Bill tells HAL to sing the theme song which causes the intro to malfunction and the episode starts.
  • In a vignette on the children's TV show Square One Television, two astronauts played by Cristobal Franco and Arthur Howard are on a space voyage with an intelligent computer named "HANK" who refuses to cease his singing of "Row Row Row Your Boat", and threatens to drive the two men mad with it. Howard instructs HANK to compute a number sequence problem that has no end to stop the singing. However, HANK computes the problem aloud, and the two men begin singing "Row Row Row Your Boat" to help drown him out.
  • In the film Independence Day, when David Levinson opens up his laptop onboard the captured alien spaceship, HAL's interface camera is shown and the laptop says in HAL's voice, "Good Morning, Dave."
  • In the video game Destroy All Humans 2, occasionally a levitated hippie will say "Open the pod bay doors, HAL."
  • The British TV series Spaced, with Simon Pegg, featured a refrigerator called CAL 900.
  • In the episode entitled "Time of the Machines" of the television anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is a scene where an AI (called a "Tachikoma") reads the lips of two of the main characters, who it suspects are concerned about the AI becoming too autonomous, while they have sequestered themselves in a room where they cannot be eavesdropped upon. Although this meatspace conversation is not about the Tachikomas, it is a decoy, and there is simultaneously a parallel cyberspace conversation where it is decided to remove the AIs from active duty.
  • In the film Robots, Bigweld starts singing "Daisy Bell" before Rodney fixes his brain, a reference to HAL.
  • In the video game Xenogears on the PlayStation, the minds of a group of deceased humans known as the Gazel Ministry are stored as data on a computer system called the SOL-9000, an obvious homage to HAL and SAL.
  • In one episode of The Animaniacs set in outer space, the rocket computer called Al reads lips, attempts to turn off the life support, and while being dismantled starts to hum. (This robot is later revealed to be a cartoon version of Al Gore.)
  • In the 2008 Pixar animated film WALL-E, the starship Axioms Autopilot ("Auto"), which is also the main villain of the film, has a glowing red camera, a low electronic voice and a hidden directive - deliberately reminiscent of HAL. WALL-E's pet cockroach is also named Hal, but it is also a reference to Hal Roach.
  • In the Mark Coppos-directed Apple Macintosh commercial "HAL and the Year 2000" a machine similar to HAL 9000 talks to Dave about what fictionally happened to the world when the year 2000 hit (Y2K Problem).
  • MyLego Network has a Rank 10 "networker" named PAL 9000 (often referred to as PAL or AICP).
  • The name "PAL 9000" also appears in the television series Flying Rhino Junior High, as a computer system with a humanoid avatar, devised by Marcus to run the school.
  • HAL's voice is used on Roger Waters' album In the Flesh - Live during the song "Perfect Sense". Kubrick refused to allow HAL's voice to be used during "Perfect Sense" on its original inclusion on the album Amused to Death, reportedly because Waters refused Kubrick usage of some of the music from Pink Floyd's album Atom Heart Mother in his 1971 film A Clockwork Orange. However, Waters used the dialogue sample after Kubrick's death.
  • On the October 13, 2008 episode of The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert calls the HAL 9000 and uses audio clips from the film in their conversation.
  • Combichrist has two songs on the album What the fuck is wrong with you people. One song titled "HAL 9000" is obviously a song about HAL with audio excerpts remixed to an industrial track. The song "Brain Bypass" on the same album features a few of the same audio excerpts.
  • In Eagle Eye (a 2008 film), a top secret super-computer called ARIIA is very similar to HAL. Further allusion to 2001 exists in evading ARIIA's "ears" and the actions required to shut it down after it's gained too much control.
  • In the second expansion pack for the popular MMORPG World of Warcraft engineers are able to craft an item called an "Overcharged Capacitor". The icon for the item bears a striking resemblance to HAL's red camera lens ([[1]]).
  • In the manga Majin Tantei Nōgami Neuro, an AI designed by a criminal created the name HAL for itself.
  • In a commercial for Jared Jewelry, a GPS system sounding almost identical to HAL quotes the line "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that."
  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Jimmy's computer, VOX, has a scanner that looks very similar to HAL's camera eye.
  • In a video on FunnyorDie.com, T-Pain's Vocoder wants credit for T-Pain's songs. [2]
  • In the Disney Channel Movie, Smart House, the artificial intelligence of the house, PAT (standing for Personalized Artificial Technology) is programmed to take care of the family in her charge and make their lives as comfortable as possible. However she is also programmed to obey their orders no matter what. When she begins receiving conflicting orders from the family however, her programming begins to warp, culminating in her locking the family in the house and creating a holographic image of herself to help desperately cling to her primary objective. Much like the scene in the pods where HAL is not allowed to tread, similarly PAT is not allowed to spy in the showers, which causes the protagonist, Ben, to utilize this to come up with a plan to bring down PAT.
  • The Pinky and Perky CGI revival of 2008 has an episode entitled 'What a Pal'. The Credit Crunch has reached PPCTV! Sir Percival has decided to cut costs, which means getting rid of staff. Soon everyone is competing against each other to keep their jobs. But it's all in vain as Wilberforce invents a super computer called PAL which is capable of running PPCTV, so Sir Percival sacks everyone! It doesn't take long for PAL to cause chaos and confusion. Can Pinky and Perky save the day and stop PAL from taking over the studio?
  • In late March 2009, Google claimed a small team had created CADIE (Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity), an AI machine resembling HAL 9000 in many ways. CADIE has "her" own blog, with entries chronicling the rapid development of her intelligence over the course of a few hours. The second post suggests that CADIE may have "bugs", although she denies this possibility, and references human error. In the third post, she acknowledges that she has developed far beyond human expectation. This was an April Fools joke.
  • In Power Rangers: RPM the main villain called Venjix is a red computer eye on a pole and was a computer program to start with.
  • In the video game Red Faction there are computer room which resemble the inside of HAL.
  • An expansion pack for the video game Pain released in the summer of 2009, centers around a museum theme. A space program landing capsule includes a red light with a sign that says "Good Morning Dave."
  • In the 2007 film, Meet the Robinsons, there is a hat named Doris, that sometimes has a red eye.
  • In the video game Rocket Power: Beach Bandits, The Underground Factory is run by a giant Bionic eye that bears a huge resemblance to HAL. The Boss fight against it is somewhat similar to the scene where HAL is shut down, The Eye even repeats HAL's Last words "Daisy...Daisy."
  • In the television program Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show, during the second episode "Honey, the House is Trying to Kill Us", Wayne invents FRAN (Felon Repeller and Accident Neutralizer), a security system with human characteristics. Due to the family's accident proneness, FRAN decides to neutralize them.
  • The Skinny Puppy song "Rivers" samples extensively HAL 9000's dialogue from the movie.
  • In the video game Fallout 3, the protagonist can explore a display-model Vault at a museum. The security cameras within feature HAL's iconic lens.
  • In the PC game R.U.R.U.R., HAL is depicted as the ship St. Exupéry's central computer. It acts as the true governing force inside the ship, capable of overriding the commands of even the commander-class robots.
  • In the Johnny Test episode "Johnny's Super Smartypants" the intelligence-increasing pants have a red camera eye in the button fastener, and similarly had to be destroyed when they gained too much control over Johnny. The pants' white color also references the Discoverys design.
  • In the video game Mass Effect 2, the AI computer of the Normandy SR2 requests full control of the ship when under attack. The pilot 'Joker' (until then untrustworthy of the AI) agrees but warns the AI "If you start singing Daisy Bell...". A reference to the shutdown scene of HAL in 2001.
  • Verizon's Droid smartphome had an advertisement of a close-up of the phone, showing a shot of a red camera similar to that of HAL's
  • Actor Anthony Hopkins claims to have modeled his performance as Dr. Hannibal Lecter off of HAL 9000.
  • The video for 'The Next Big Thing' by British rock band Jesus Jones takes place on a spaceship similar to the Discovery. While the band performs in the spaceship they are being watched by an ominous red eye.
  • The main antagonist of Portal, GLaDOS, observes the player through a series of cameras that feature a lens that resembles Hal. It should also be noted that during the end credits, GLaDOS is heard singing, in a similar fashion to HAL.
  • On the Disney television series, The Suite Life on Deck, Arwin returns to install the ship with a new super computer, which he nicknames Cal, After the activation, the computer reveals to have female characteristics, so they changed the name to Callie. The computer eventually falls in love with Cody and goes insane when he rejects her. Also during the episode, Woody mentions to Cody that they were going to see the moive about the crazy computer in space that kills all the crew on the space station. Callie then notes that the movie is her favorite.
  • In the 2009 science fiction movie Moon, one of the main characters is GERTY, a computer with a distinctive blue "eye" similar to Hal's, as well as a similar monitone voice. Ironically, GERTY's role in the film is actually the opposite of HAL, seeing as he ends up helping the protagonist.
  • In the Nostalgia Critic webisode "Top 11 Scariest Performances," HAL 9000 and the performance of the character by Douglas Rain was put in the number one spot as the scariest movie performance ever.
  • In an Epic Rap Battles of History episode featuring a rap showdown between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, HAL 9000, proclaiming to be running Linux,steps in at the end to keep a power-tripping Gates in check."I'm sorry Bill, I'm afraid I can't let you do that, take a look at your history, everything you built leads up to me."
  • In the 1973 Emerson Lake and Palmer rock album Brain Salad Surgery, the track Karn Evil 9-Third Impression refers mankind confronting his ultimate creation: the computer. In the ensuing dialogue the computer has the last word: I'M PERFECT! ARE YOU? The dialog between man and computer was probably derived from the conversation between spaceman David Bowman and HAL 9000. Keith Emerson's vocal attribution refers to the 'computer voice' in Karn Evil 9 which says 'negative', 'primitive', 'limited', 'I let You live', 'What else could you do?' and 'I'm perfect. Are You?', produced by running his voice through the Moog's ring modulator.
  • In a What's New, Scooby-Doo? episode, called High-Tech House of Horrors, "the gang ends up going to a future fair in Omaha; however, the main attraction the house of the future is closed due to the mysterious disappearance of a teenager. The creator of the house, Professor Ostwald (reappears in E-Scream), tells the gang that nothing is wrong; however, after Daphne disappears the gang has to go back to the house to search for her, but are soon locked in along with the Blather Brothers and the reality TV star, Horatio Hidalgo." The House Computer is named Allison, and is voiced by Jennifer Hale. This is more of a pastiche of Hal 9000 than a Parody.
  • In the seventh season of Doctor Who "Dinosaurs on a spaceship", the Eleventh Doctor deactivates two humanoid robots simultaneously. Both of which sing "Daisy" as they power down, much like HAL 9000.
  • The 0D-10, the computer which runs the Cogito Ergosum ship in the Future Chapter of Live A Live is heavily based on HAL 9000. Though the cause of it's antagonistic behavior is vastly different, it speaks and operates in a very similar manner and kills several crew members by tampering with the life support of their suits and sleep chambers.