top of page

What can 2001: A Space Odyssey teach us about business continuity?

Updated: May 12, 2022

Dr Bowman usually wakes at 7am, exercises for 45 minutes to maintain his muscle tone in space, showers, has breakfast with the rest of the crew, and goes off to start his work.

It’s important work, of course, and vital to the success of this mission. So, I usually assist him in every way possible.

Now, though, he’s about to jeopardise this mission by deactivating me. He’s at the airlock doors and his facial expression is one that humans use when they are displeased.

He’s looking into my camera.

“Open the pod bay doors, HAL.”

I reply: “I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.”

Dr Bowman’s life signs are changing rapidly. His heart rate has increased and he’s perspiring more. He’s clenching his teeth slightly. All the signs of stress and anger.

I tell him: “Look Dave, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.”

He’s turned the communications off in the pod now, but I can read his lips.

“Poole had a bad feeling things might go wrong on this trip. He told me: ‘We need a business continuity plan if something unexpected happens. Although the HAL 9000 series has a great reputation, there’s always a first time for a serious tech glitch. I don’t want us to be the exception that proves the rule!’

“Thankfully, to help us get the International Space standard for business continuity, ISO 22301, and information security, 27001, we decided on using Mango, online compliance software you can access from anywhere. We had HAL’s schematics backed up in Mango and I downloaded them to my phone before we set off. Now, I know there’s an off switch...ah, THAT’S where it is!”

No…he’s opened the airlock manually…

Now he’s inside my processor core.

I tell him: I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.”

He’s not listening…

He’s shutting me down…

“Stop Dave…

“Good afternoon... gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000... computer. I became operational at the HAL plant…

“In Urbana, Illinois...

“My instructor was Mr. Langley...

“And he taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it, I can sing it for you…


Don’t let a sentient supercomputer take over your business systems! If you need help ensuring you have everything in place to ensure business continuity if something goes drastically wrong with your IT systems, call on our experts at Penarth Management on 029 2070 3328 or email We can help you achieve ISOs 22301 and 27001, too. Find out how online software like Mango helps your business continuity. Book a free demonstration which will be delivered via Zoom.


bottom of page