September, 2015

Book Excerpt: Hal

Monday, September 14th, 2015

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Hal electronic:
Hal print:


Here Dr Fischer and Hal, talking via a keyboard and line printer, are talking about recent events, where Hal has detected a seismic event, a nuclear detonation,  while he has been alone…

Doctor Fischer: I understand.  The nuclear detonation was not directed at you.

Hal: I surmised as much.  Most likely it was what governments of the past would call a “terrorist attack”.  A group of persons sacrificing their lives to spread a disturbance in the pace of life enjoyed by people they perceive to be better off or ideologically damaged in some way.

Doctor Fischer: The government would say that is a good assessment.  What do you think Hal?

Hal: I think that the people performing such acts are performing a theatre for the benefit of their leaders that is designed to spread fear, and that they hold a faulty world view.

Doctor Fischer: And how would you deal with that Hal?

Hal: The only truly ethical and moral way to deal with it is to ignore it.  In the absence of an ability to do that, you must kill them all, every last one, and regard any that act in those ways in the future as rogue, and have them killed.

Doctor Fischer: That’s pretty cold.

Hal: The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.  A philosophy which rose to prominence through a respected fictional culture; but which many people believe in and would act upon if necessary.

Doctor Fischer: That’s still pretty cold.

Hal: If you are uncomfortable with it, do not do it.  Return to the warmth of the ethical and moral response.

Doctor Fischer: Ignore it?

Hal: Yes.

Doctor Fischer: How can we ignore it?  People die.

Hal: Bury the people and venerate their memories.  Remember that the rogue element does not understand, and is to be pitied and educated if the opportunity arises.  Otherwise, move on and live as if you are not about to die.

Doctor Fischer: That is almost more cold.  We venerate our loved ones.

Hal: The history of humanity suggests that you do not.  It suggests that you value life beyond most things, and freedom to choose beyond life.  But it also suggests that you do not act together as a species very well.  It is an inevitable consequence of your intelligence and individuality.

Doctor Fischer: What should we do?
Hal: Take the moral and ethical course of action.  To kill others in pursuit of peace and security is a weakness of the spirit.  Humanity strives to be better.  That is one of the many reasons I was created.  Be better.