Well, hopefully not exactly like Hal. James Dyson has added a new feature to his vacuum cleaners - they can tell service personnel exactly what the problem is. All you need to do is "phone home" - that is, call the service center.
Once you've dialed the phone for it, the machine transmits a binary message to service center engineers, telling them what is wrong and what parts to order. And what's more - this is my favorite - it even states its own serial number. I hate getting down on my hands and knees and examining every square inch of an appliance (are you listening, computer makers?) in order to find the serial number. The helpful appliance even talks about when it was purchased and how long it has been in use. This little household gem is already in use in Japan, and will be available in the UK soon.
One can only hope that this leap into the future will be accomplished without any of the problems that computers and machines have had in science fiction with self-diagnosis. In the following example, the Hal-9000 computer from Arthur C. Clarke's classic 2001: A Space Odyssey makes a very simple diagnosis regarding an anticipated communications failure:
Yes, just another straightforward repair job. And we all know how that one turned out. Just hope that you don't wind up talking about your vacuum cleaner like Bowman and Poole did about Hal.
Read the original article at The Intelligent Vacuum Cleaner.
(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction.)