A few million years ago, in Africa's Olduvai Gorge, our ancestors were starving, defenseless prey to predators, and on the verge of extinction. An advanced civilization from the stars (never shown) spots our potential and gives our brains a boost by means of a monolith. (Symbolic dimensions 1x4x9 --the squares of 1, 2 and 3) In 2001 a monolith is found buried on the moon. When sunlight hits it, it sends a radio message to a Jupiter monolith-relay, telling the aliens that we have arrived. A space craft is sent to Jupiter on a secret mission to check it out. One member of the crew is HAL -- a sentient, self-aware computer. Unfortunately HAL has been instructed to lie -- something contrary to his very nature. This drives him to desperate measures.