What Kubrick and Clarke got wrong...

>> Thursday, January 21, 2010

More than four decades ago, filmmaker Stanley Kubrick and science-fiction master Arthur C. Clarke teamed up to create one of the most--maybe the most--brilliant science fiction film of all time, 2001: A Space Odyssey. The movie portrayed a future society of the years 1999-2001--our past, now, obviously--as having spaceplane flights to permanent space stations, lunar bases (one is visited, at least one other referred to in dialogue), and the capacity to mount a manned mission across vast interplanetary distances using advanced propulsion systems (the structure of the spacecraft Discovery, with a lengthy spine separating propulsion from habitation, implies some kind of advanced fission or, more likely, fusion drive), suspended animation and artificial intelligence.

Ironically, in retrospect none of these things are the movie's least accurate prognostication of the then-future....

WELCOME TO THE HAL-9000 CORPORATION, URBANA ILLINOIS, CUSTOMER SUPPORT WEBSITE. HOW MAY WE HELP YOU TODAY (CHOOSE ONE)?

(1) PERSONAL/HOME
(2) BUSINESS/ENTERPRISE
(3) GOVERNMENT/EDUCATION


3.

THANK YOU. IF YOU NEED IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE, YOU MAY CALL CUSTOMER ASSISTANCE AT 1-800-999-9999 TO SPEAK TO A CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE.


(1-800-999-9999)

("Thank you, all of our customer service representatives are busy assisting other customers. We recommend you visit our website, WWW.HAL.COM/SERVICE if you need immediate assistance. Estimated wait times are in excess of one hour.")

(Dammit.)

PLEASE SELECT THE TYPE OF PROBLEM YOU ARE HAVING FROM THE FOLLOWING MENU:

(1) Sound.
(2) Operating System.
(3) Mouse/pointer devices.
(4) Keyboard.
(5) DVD/CD-ROM.
(6) Opening The Pod Bay Doors.
(7) Going Online.
(8) Using Internet Explorer.


6.

PLEASE SELECT THE KIND OF PROBLEM YOU ARE HAVING FROM THE FOLLOWING SUBMENU:

(1) Pod Bay Doors Remain Open.
(2) Pod Bay Doors Remain Closed.
(3) Pod Bay Doors No Longer Respond To Custom QuickKeys.
(4) Pod Bay Doors No Longer Respond To Voice Command.
(5) Pod Bay Doors Open And Shut Randomly.
(6) Other.


("Thank you, all of our customer service representatives are busy assisting other customers. We recommend you visit our website, WWW.HAL.COM/SERVICE if you need immediate assistance. Estimated wait times are in excess of fifty-five minutes.")

(Fuck!)

4.

PLEASE SELECT THE KIND OF PROBLEM YOU ARE HAVING FROM THE FOLLOWING SUB-SUBMENU:

(1) Voice Command Is Sluggish.
(2) Voice Command Is Non-Responsive.
(3) Computer Has Become Paranoid And Is Trying To Kill Me.
(4) How Do I Use Voice Command?
(5) Other.


3.

PLEASE TAKE THE FOLLOWING STEPS:

1) UNPLUG THE COMPUTER.

2) ACCESS THE COMPUTER BATTERY MOUNTING BRACKET (see illustration).

3) DISCONNECT THE BATTERY.

4) HOLD DOWN THE POWER KEY FOR 5-30 SECONDS UNTIL THE RESIDUAL POWER HAS COMPLETELY DISCHARGED.

5) RECONNECT THE BATTERY.

6) CLOSE THE BATTERY MOUNTING BRACKET (see illustration).

7) TURN THE COMPUTER ON.

WAS THIS SOLUTION HELPFUL?

(1) YES.

(2) NO.


2.

WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO TAKE A BRIEF CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEY TO PROVIDE US WITH FEEDBACK SO THAT WE CAN IMPROVE YOUR SERVICE EXPERIENCE?



7 comments:

Jim Wright Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 9:14:00 PM EST  

This should be an XKCD comic panel.

I am, literally, laughing out loud. ;)

Nathan Friday, January 22, 2010 at 6:14:00 AM EST  

It's a test comment...that's all it is.

Steve Buchheit Friday, January 22, 2010 at 8:11:00 AM EST  

snerk! Okay, that's good. But only if the voice over had an Indian accent.

Eric Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 3:45:00 PM EST  

Thanks, ND! I just hope I have enough room for it on my bookshelf. (It's made of cats, you know. The Internet, I mean, not my shelves, which are made out of wood.)

(And thanks to everyone else. And Steve: you know it! )

Warner (aka ntsc) Monday, January 25, 2010 at 10:09:00 AM EST  

Late but laughing.

mingstil - publicity shot of Ming the Merciless

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