The Letter Stanley Kubrick Wrote About IBM and HAL

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The always-fascinating blog, Letters of Note, has released another wonderful bit of corporate correspondence. This time, they found a letter Stanley Kubrick sent to a production staffer about the inclusion of IBM in his film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is -- awkward! -- about a psychotic computer. How nice of him to check in!

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Caras replied to Kubrick with a note designed to calm the director down. Things were fine with IBM, he said, as long as they weren't associated with the "equipment failure," or listed as the technical advisor for the computer.

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Much has been made of the fact that HAL is a one-letter shift from IBM, but people associated with Kubrick have always denied that there was any significance to the coincidence. 
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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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