Ooh I'll bite!
It makes you take science fiction seriously.
I think people have taken sci-fi seriously for a while, but I think the framing of allegories as to what the future means for each generation has changed. Sci-fi is about the future insomuch as it is a cursory, transient container for moral utopian (or dystopian, post-modern non-topias, pick your continental poison) tales based upon incarnations of technology and man's interaction with them.
If I were to put it into a question form "Why are humans (apes) the only animal we know of that has adapted to their environment through the use of tools?
I like this, but even further, I think there's commentary upon the relationship we have developed with them. All of our tools, from a hammer that fits neatly into your palm, to an AI that speaks English at a tempo your brain can accommodate, are all in our image. Or some simulation of. I think more so it calls upon the essential difference between the motivations of our creations and of us, what happens when a hammer simply hammers without a human hand to guide it? We use them to achieve things, make progress, etc., but a hammer is always quintessentially a hammer, and an AI goes forth with the solemn commandment of "carry out orders". (which, of course, the humans in the film never sway from, either)
technology is constantly failing in Kubrick's universe, whether the gun used in the duel in Barry Lyndon or damn near everything in Dr. Strangelove, and we march forward, trusting our creations, regardless.
The subtlety of this question and it's answer is found in the few times when Kubrick allows the frayed threads of humanity stretch out. This non-uniformity, even though it is encapsulated by arrogance and founded on violence, is it's saving grace.
Saved for what? Where forward is? who the hell knows, we don't have such a convenient plot device for a civilization as the monolith to steer us, but we worship a silent, overbearing "progress" anyway. We've transformed clay into pots, steel into weapons, so need to take an active place in guiding the sculpting of our future selves, now.
I think the only thing we can find Kubrick prodding us with is simply, take a look at what and how we worship, what have we built civilization upon? Where should we go, if those things have brought us here?
I want to know if this was your first Kubrick film, would you watch another?
ain't my first rodeo, can you help me convince everyone we should watch Barry Lyndon?