HAL 9000 by 2009?

A few recent breakthroughs in the study of artificial intelligence might have HAL 9000 reaching for a stress pill: First off, meet Repliee R-1, a five-year-old Japanese girl “built to help pensioners and disabled people move better”; the Observer reports that “next Sunday, six computer programs — ‘artificial conversational entities’ — will answer questions posed by human volunteers at the University of Reading in a bid to become the first recognized ‘thinking’ machine; and last Monday, scientists at MIT in Cambridge announced that they have “moved closer to creating ‘artificial noses,’ after finding a way to mass-produce smell receptors in a laboratory.
Artificial noses could one day replace dogs that sniff out drugs and explosives, and could have numerous medical applications including identifying diseases that have distinct odor.”