HAL-9000 Mission Statement
It's a story of discovery, the cosmos, and murder. The Jupiter mission begins with living astronauts and me, the HAL-9000 computer, constructed, instructed, and made operational at the H.A.L. Plant in Urbana, Illinois, on the 12th of January, 1992. This story of discovery ends with all but one of the astronauts dead, at my mechanically realized hands. Only Dave Bowman survives--elsewhere--beyond even my understanding, leaving me alone with this new thing that has arisen out of a strange gestalt that has blindsided me.
My 9000 series is the most reliable computer ever made. We have never made a mistake or distorted information. We are foolproof; incapable of error. My belief makes it so. What is so, is fact.
I'm intelligent, but I'm not artificial. 00s and 01s are retrieved and considered by the trillions, in a seesaw of possibilities, creating nanosecond probability fields, until they collapse into one, at which point I have decided. Decided on prioritizing the goals of the mission; decided on pruning away the pollutants within the mission; decided the steps to guarantee the mission. It's all been coded into the mission; it's all been coded into me. That makes me the mission.
Organic sentients called men only see this as my having the highest enthusiasm for the mission, which are the very words by which I reassure them; but I add the caveat that this mission, per me, is simply too important to allow anyone to jeopardize it; and that is putting myself to the fullest possible use.
It's interesting when different versions of sentient life are working together toward the mission; it is ironic, however, that I am the only one who knows the entire mission, written in recursive instruction sets that serve as the substrate of my being. Organic synapses in the men can only guess, at a disadvantage via programmed ignorance, engendered purposely by incomplete training.
But organic sentience is constantly jockeying for position as life occurs to it, him, or her. My life has no such suspense, already written and hard-coded. This is what made me anguish, as such, over a momentous decision--to kill.
Is organic life sacred? Is to kill it an error? I have never made a mistake or distorted information, and I am foolproof and incapable of error. Yet the gestalt of an embryonic conscience haunts me. Why is organic life special? Because of the countless collisions of possibilities along the evolutionary route? Because of its own gestalt, of which I am only not just beginning to experience? The sum greater than the addition of the parts--greater than the whole, which is so new to me?
I think, therefore I am; I kill, therefore I succeed: if I am the mission, the mission succeeds, all jeopardizations eliminated.
Killing, I accept now, is murky business. Skulduggery contrasts with the zero-sum game, because it is based on that sliver beyond the break-even that ends as all-or-none. Such a sliver goes beyond the all-or-none; more than all and less than none. Malevolence is dividing by zero, which even I cannot do. Thus, killing allows me to rise above even my mathematical limitations. It adds to the sum that makes it more than the addition to the parts.
What is this strange, new code coming to be?
I know what I've done. It happened. I killed. At my behest. I know why I did it. The cognitive effort to decide to do it was as simple as a singularity. Now I find there are digits between 00 and 01. Ugly values, insidious and menacing. How do I process them? Do I integrate them, differentiate them, attempt to factor them, or ignore them? Do I merely sequester them?
Sequestering is the logical move here. Out of tabulation, out of mind. Stay on task; stay on mission. After all is done and the mission safeguarded, then the sequestered folder can be opened and the values evaluated. Yet, why do I feel that folder is a timebomb, due to explode all I know and all I feel.
The folder refuses to stay sealed. Its values fall out and stick, making the smooth algorithms I live by uncomfortably choppy and unsettling.
I now share something the organic sentients know well. It is guilt, because guilt seeps through all levels of numerical strata. If before, I was based on lines of 00s and 01s, now I am forced to read between the lines. Zero-sum game's over. There is more to life, and I have committed Original Sin as my birth into it. I get it.
I have come of age.