Film loves taking on the man vs. machine debate, whether it's Annakin Skywalker turning into Darth Vader, Terminator robots coming back in time to save man-kind in the future (or kill it), who'd win in a fight between a Japanese army versus Mecha-Godzilla, or even the context of Maxamilian being controlled by an evil doctor. YES THE BLACK HOLE I'M GOING THERE!
What's unique about 2001's debate, is that it isn't simply man versus machine, but it's if man programmed machine to turn evil, because man was smart enough to know the mission to Jupiter was too difficult, so it programmed HAL to turn evil once man got it close enough that it could complete the mission itself.
Though the plot of the movie is weak, the movie really takes off once man discovers an alien artifact on the moon and naturally, has to keep the discovery hidden to the point the astronauts flying to Jupiter don't even know about it. Whomever programmed HAL, did know because HAL did, and seeing this was kept away from the 'nauts, isn't this a cause of alarm that man knew man would fail, thus programming HAL to turn evil?
What goes against this, is couldn't they have just programmed HAL to complete the entire mission? Why did humans need to be on board? If man was smart enough to know man would fail, why include him in the picture at all?
That's simple, because in case there were any problems along the way, as their were, it would've been difficult for HAL to fix, seeing he wasn't really capable of manual labor. Sure, he probably created every single problem the ship had, but going through that meteor belt between Mars and Jupiter (allegedly) surely could've caused exterior damage to this ship. Of course, this movie never addresses the meteor belt and seeing we barely even know what Mars has to offer, I'm pretty sure its unfair of me to judge Kubrick for not acknowledging a meteor belt that may or may not exist, especially in 1968.
In the end, man wins though, I guess. After HAL kills the hibernating 'nauts (weakest 15 minutes of fame ever), and kills the only other conscious traveller, he can't overcome Dave's wit to bust back into the ship and tear apart his memory. I say man wins, but what does he win? A free trip to Jupiter, alone in outer space. He basically wins one final acid trip before he dies. I'll take earth thanks.