But before we go much futher, perhaps it would be best if you reviewed the scene to refresh your memory.
“When Floyd gives his remarks at the briefing the satire of the inept language fairly leaps out. It is trite and inarticulate. But it is not Kubrick's (or Clarke's) inadequacy, it is the characters' inarticulateness, their loss of language. A parade of meagre "well"s fills the air. Halvorsen, who introduces Floyd, starts out, "Well, . . . " He sticks his hands in his pockets. If this were done once, one might assume that it didn't matter. But this stance and feeble language are the imprint of the scene, the exposing of dullness.
“Floyd is no more competent in talking, "Hi, everybody, nice to be back with you," He follows this with the refrain, "Well, . . . " and then comments "Now, ah . . . " He too puts his hands in his pockets. When the floor is opened for questions, there is only one, about the danger of "cultural shock." Floyd responds, "Well, I, ah, sympathize with your point of view." (The questioner is against the cover story of an epidemic which has been used to protect the secret of the monolith on the moon.) Floyd concludes. "Well, I think that's about it. Any questions?" Halvorsen thanks Floyd, "Well, ... " "No more questions [there was only one]. We should get on with the briefing."
Instead of seeing Dr. Floyd's speech as inept, I see it as a masterwork; a bureaucratic tour de force and just what the situation called for. You see, Dr. Floyd is not there to bring new information: his mission is to tell everyone that they must keep quiet and do as they are told, and he finds the nicest possible way to say that.
But this is not the end of the story of the search for meaning in 2001. Although 2001 is a solid 14 years behind us, clearly we can see that our psychohistorians have gone awry. Pan Am and AT&T are way out of business, we do not have bases on the moon. We did not send a manned expedition to Jupiter. The interpretation of Dr. Floyd's speech required a firm grasp of the cold war aesthetic and the cold war bureaucracy. But where is that bureaucracy now that Communism no longer exists and we have in its place the gangster capitalists of China and gangster gangsters of Russia not to mention the incompetent scum-politicos of America without two neurons to rub together?
New art requires new artists and our new society requires a new Heywood Floyd. In the modern cinematic aesthetic, I can envisage Heywood Floyd ducking into the back to put on his superhero outfit and go out and punch a monolith in the nose. Take that you damn monolith, he will say, go back to your masters, the giant robots, we will never allow you to turn Jupiter into a mini-mall.