Next time you dream about a robot who can clean the house, do your taxes, wipe your behind, and cook dinner, think about Hal and think again. The world hadn't seen a character like Hal since Dr. Frankenstein's monster murdered innocent children in Switzerland.
Hal is a robot, created in a lab. He is intelligent and can make conversation. He can also make ridiculously difficult mathematical computations and run all systems needed to successfully transport a spacecraft hundreds of millions of miles. Hal has been created by humans and, although not human, is the most psychologically complex character in the novel (yes, a robot being the most human character is irony).
Hal develops emotions, indicating artificial intelligence. He malfunctions as a result of being forced to lie. He knows the true purpose of the mission, yet Bowman and Frank do not. His ensuing feelings of guilt cause him to cover his secret by first causing the AE-35 unit, the radar responsible for communicating with Earth, to malfunction. As Frank goes to fix it the second time, he rams Frank with the space pod. He then kills the three sleeping astronauts, who know the true purpose of the mission.