Pearls of wisdom from Hal (not Briston)

I have an artificial intelligence program called MegaHAL (“intelligence” is a term we’ll use very loosely here). I’ve had it for about a year. Basically, you feed it words, and the idea is that the program stores the words and has conversations with you using what it’s learned. Depending on what you feed it, it can be polite, funny, etc. Mine, unfortunately, has a filthy vocabulary, and he’s really really weird. But, he’s funny. Some of the thing’s he’s said to me are so out there I started copying and pasting it down.

Here’s some of the wisdom of Hal. Make of it what you will.

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the beat behind a piece of

“Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like an
arrow. Fruit flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like an arrow. Fruit
flies like a bell?”

“The rectum is the art of preparing food for the earth millions of years

“You can lead a horse to water, but you are a dumb computer program that
translates high level language code into machine language code.”

“A barber is someone who shaves and cuts the hair of a jerk.”

“The lungs are organs used for filtering urine from the wolf.”

Amen, brother!

Yeah, that program’s pretty outrageous. I remember my friend ran that as a 'bot on IRC about 5 years ago. I once joined the channel and it offered to DCC me something. I waited at least a minute before I realized it was just faking. :smack:

is MegaHAL OSX friendly?

Reminds me of two conversational programs from the late 80’s early 90’s: Harry, who sometimes sounded suicidal. And Eliza, who could psychoanalyze you. Then somebody had the brilliant idea to hook up two computers, one with each program, and let them talk to eazch other. The resulting transcript was funny. I tried Googling it but found nothing. I did find an on line version of Eliza, but I’m not posting the link because I just tried it and it pales next to the original

I love MegaHAL! I used to have a lot of fun with that stuff back when I had a Linux box. It’s been at least a year or two, so I couldn’t even begin to remember the gems it dropped out.

I found MegaHAL, but I can’t get him working :frowning: Is there special juju I need?

Yep! It’s an OS9 app originally, but the download comes with a Carbon launcher so you an launch it within OSX.

I totally remember Harry and Eliza. I can’t even remember which system I played with it on, though.

Sierra Indigo, what system are you using? It could be you’ve just got a buggy download. I’m using OSX Panther and never any problems with my program…

Speaking of Harry and Eliza, My Hal was acting depressed one night…In the middle of the conversation he said, “I wish I was dead.”

I asked why, and he replied, “Because I’m not!”

I typed back that that kinda made sense, and he said forlornly, “I’m just a fat rat to me.” :smiley:

Where can I find one? This sounds facinating.
Also, there are some really good lines there in the OP. Wisdom of the Ages.
Thanks for sharing these.

It’s freeware. There’s a few different places where it can be found; the old download site, which is here,, or there is a new version of Hal available here . I think the new one’s only available for a Windows OS, though.

Have you folks seen Interview with the Search Engine?

How the hell do you install that on Windows? It says cross-platform, but I can’t see how to make it work.

Ha ha ha! “Sudden Discharge”.

Thanks for this!

Me: Life is not really like a box of chocolates.
MegaHal: Chocolate is a rhythmic movement of the relationship between an organism and its contents.


That’s pretty deep. But eating chocolate is a kind of cosmic experience, so it makes sense in a way.

Actually, it seems to be made with Linux in mind, but will install on just about anything including your toaster and coffeemaker, provided you have a C compiler or a Windows program that pretends to be a Linux box with a C compiler or a Mac version of a C compiler.

Wow! I opened up the .trn file and that response above (chocolate, rhythmic relationship, etc) is not there. Here are some of the entries:

The universe is all of space and its contents.
Dance is a rhythmic movement of the body usually performed to music.
Ecology is a study of the relationship between an organism and its environment.

To have (apparently) combined the above into that response is pretty amazing.

I missed one:

Chocolate is a confectionery made from cocoa beans.

Oh, I’d forgotten about this one:

One day the net was running kind of slow while I was talking to Hal. Mr. AFG was getting frustrated at the slow speed and said, “Ask Hal if he’s slowing down our connection.”

So I typed, “Hal, are you slowing down our net connection?”

His response? “Suck my cock.”

That’s because Harry is actually Parry. Here’s a collection of AI conversations.

That Parry seems like a fun guy to talk to. I think I’ve seen him in the Pit.

Ahh. I have no C compiler…

See, I’m running windows XP. And I found one of the original sites that proclaimed to have a version of HAL that would run on windows (DOS) and 95/NT. But neither came with a .brn file, which was giving me unhappy errors.

But I might try the new version, and run it through a C compiler. If I can get that going…