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: Yes, it’s puzzling. I don’t think I’ve ever

seen anything quite like this before.

HAL doesn’t just respond to novelty with a novel

reaction; he notices that he is encountering

novelty, a feat that requires his memory to have

an organization far beyond that required for

simple conditioning to novel stimuli.


: I can’t rid myself of the suspicion that there

are some extremely odd things about thismission.


: I never gave these stories much credence,

but particularly in view of some of the other

things that have happened, I find them difficult

to put out of my mind.

HAL has problems of resource management not

unlike our own. Obtrusive thoughts can get in the

way of other activities. The price we pay for adding

layers of flexible monitoring, to keep better track

of our own mental activities, is . . . more mental

activities to keep track of!


: I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and

confidence in the mission. I want to help you.

Another price we pay for higher-order

intentionality is the opportunity for duplicity,

which comes in two flavors: self-deception and

other-deception. Friedrich Nietzsche recognizes

this layering of the mind as the key ingredient

of the moral animal; in his overheated prose it

becomes the “priestly” form of life:

For with the priests everything becomes more

dangerous, not only cures and remedies, but also

arrogance, revenge, acuteness, profligacy, love,

lust to rule, virtue, disease—but it is only fair

to add that it was on the soil of this essentially

dangerous form of human existence, the priestly

form, that man first became an interesting

animal, that only here did the human soul in a

higher sense acquire depth and become evil—and

these are the two basic respects in which man

has hitherto been superior to other beasts! (


Genealogy of Morals, First Essay, 6


HAL’s declaration of enthusiasm is nicely

poised somewhere between sincerity and cheap,

desperate, canned ploy—just like some of the

most important declarations we make to each

other. Does HAL mean it? Could he mean it? The

cost of being the sort of being that could mean it

is the chance that he might not mean it. HAL is

indeed an “interesting animal.”

... To be continued in AIQS News 74

Daniel C. Dennett is University Professor

and Co-director, Center for Cognitive

Studies, at Tufts University in Medford,

Massachusetts, USA.

He is the author of many books, including






scholarly articles in philosophy, cognitive

science, and evolutionary theory.

His latest book is INTUITION PUMPS AND


Prof. Dennett on the sailboat should go to Phil Wickens