This article on Reuters talks about HAL: a thinking machine developed by Artificial Intelligence Research NV and headed by Jack Dunietz. They've developed Hal's learning machine smarts by reading it child's stories and getting feedback from it to which they give it positive rewards or negative stimulus. So far the learning machine has been learning like a child. It likes bananas and going to the park. They hope in 10 years to have raised it to adulthood. Ok, so imagine, if you will, going to a ticket counter and not to be greeted by a human, but by a robot. Looks like it could happen after all? Let's just hope this HAL does not become like the HAL 9000 from Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey' which killed off most of its crew during a space mission. That would be bad.