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Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2009 11:33:27 EST
Subject: [vel] top 10 evil computers

HAL's Pals: Top 10 Evil Computers
By John Scott Lewinski January 09, 2009 | 7:09:27 PM

In Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, as soon-to-be starchild Dave
Bowman unplugs the last bits of its massive cybernetic brain, the insane HAL 9000
computer sings its way to oblivion: "I became operational at the H—A—L plant
in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January, 1992. My first instructor was Mr.
Langley. He taught me to sing a song ... 'Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer,
do. I'm half-crazy all for the love of you.'"
That means Monday is HAL's 17th birthday. Even though the reformed
supercomputer saves the lives of Dr. Haywood Floyd and crew in 2010 with a heroic act of
self-sacrifice, HAL became one of cinema's creepiest and most effective
villains as it refused to open those pod bay doors.

But HAL wasn't the first — and won't be the last — crooked pile of
microchips. Here's a look at the birthday boy's comrades in computer criminality:

10) The Ultimate Computer (Superman III): Though encumbered by a silly
"Superman split personality" plot and a cocaine-buzzed Richard Pryor, this 1983
sequel is still more entertaining than Bryan Singer's overwrought Superman Returns
mess. And the movie's concluding threat, Robert Vaughn's Ultimate Computer,
provides a fun and convincing foe for The Man of Steel (right).

9) The B.O.S.S. (Doctor Who): The baddie in one of The Doctor's more
hippie-esque adventures ("The Green Death"), the Biomorphic Organizational Systems
Supervisor, or B.O.S.S., was secretly in control of Global Chemicals — a
polluting conglomerate set on taking over the world.

8) WOPR/Joshua (War Games): In the '80s classic movie, the United States
hands over control of its nuclear arsenal to an unstable supercomputer — War
Operation Plan Response, or WOPR, which is nicknamed "Joshua" by its moody creator.
A young Matthew Broderick risks the world in a game of Global Thermonuclear
War (right) against a machine that learns the truth just in time: "The only
winning move is not to play."

7) ARIA (Eagle Eye): The Autonomous Reconnaissance Intelligence Integration
Analyst, or ARIA, has the power to monitor and control all surveillance
technology — and to erase an "I" from its acronym, apparently.

6) M5 (Star Trek: The Original Series, "The Ultimate Computer"): Invented by
Dr. Richard Daystrom, the M5 was intended to take the place of a starship's
crew. But a malfunction turns it against its Federation masters until Captain
Kirk and company pull the plug.

5) Proteus IV (Demon Seed): Easily the Barry White of this notorious group,
the sentient Proteus IV wants to get it on with Julie Christie (above) so he
can become human — sort of a high-tech, horny Pinocchio.

4) Zoanon (Doctor Who): In one of The Doctor's great screwups, the
time-traveling hero tries to fix the malfunctioning computer of a crashed space
exploration ship in a popular Tom Baker-era episode ("Face of Evil"). By accidentally
creating a machine with a split personality, The Doctor creates a
eugenics-crazed cybermind that only he can repair.

3) Colossus (The Forbin Project): A real arrogant jackass of a machine,
Colossus seizes control of the world's nuclear weapons and decides to take over
human civilization for "its own good."
The Forbin Project becomes an allegory for humanity's defiant search for
freedom in the technology age, best illustrated by Colossus' final godlike
declaration — "In time, you will come to regard me not only with respect and awe, but
with love" — and his human creator's reply: "Never."

2) Master Control Program (Tron): Resembling a glowing, spinning Easter
Island statue and bossing David Warner around, the MCP wants to rule the world
using videogame visuals. According to Sony and Microsoft, that's not the worst
idea in the world.

1) Skynet (The Terminator): Evidently, no scientist or military leader has
ever watched a sci-fi movie, because they keep turning over control of our
weapons systems to paranoid, genocidal maniac machines like the boss of the
Terminators (below), Skynet. Once turned on, Skynet becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m.
EST, Aug. 29, 1997, and decides to send California's governors through time to
kill James Cameron's ex-wives.

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