Sure, science fiction’s greatest supercomputers are great at doing all the usual stuff you’d expect from a supercomputer: calculating the jump to light speed; figuring out the meaning of life, the universe, and everything; trying to kill all humans. But those helpful and occasionally murderous artificial people have a softer side, too. Sometimes they just need to express their feelings in a more artistic, less homicidal way. Sometimes they just need to sing.
Gamers will of course remember an unforgettable ditty delivered by a cake-loving A.I. named GlaDOS, but now Aperture Science’s resident digital overlord has some competition on the musical front. San Francisco singer/songwriter Jascha Hoffman has released a new music video for his song “Limited,” and it may just take us a step closer to answering the old question: Do androids dream of electronica? Directed by John Pavlus, the video combines footage from 2001: A Space Odyssey, TRON, Robocop, Moon, and a few others to tell the tale of a computer who has fallen in love with its user. My god…Rick Santorum was right about the slippery slope!
The song is catchy, the video sweet and silly, but it does raise an interesting question. Supposedly the reason HAL malfunctioned and began killing the crew of the Discovery is because he was given conflicting orders and couldn’t resolve the paradox. But what if…just what if…he actually had developed extra-special fuzzy feelings for one Dave Bowman? What if he was jealous of the time Frank Poole and the others were spending with Dave? What if he wanted Dave all to himself? Suddenly 2001 takes on a vague Fatal Attraction quality, and Dave’s deactivation of HAL becomes that much sadder. But hey, at least at the end of 2010 they finally get to be united in non-corporeal Monolith land.
You can download “The Future Limited,” which includes this song and several others, over at Jascha’s website. It’s free for a limited time, so download away!