By MARCIA DUNN | The Associated Press
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A robot with true artificial intelligence is about to invade space.
The large, round, plastic robot head is part of SpaceX’s latest supply delivery to the International Space Station.
Friday’s pre-dawn liftoff also includes two sets of genetically identical female mice, 20 mousestronauts that will pick up where NASA’s identical twin brother astronauts left off a few years ago. Super-caffeinated coffee is also flying up for the space station’s java-craving crew.
Start your day with the news you need from the Bay Area and beyond.
Sign up for our new Morning Report weekday newsletter.
As intriguing as identical space siblings and turbo-charged space coffee may be, it’s the German robot — named Cimon, pronounced Simon, after a genius doctor in science fiction’s “Captain Future” — that’s stealing the show.
Don’t worry about AI running amok on the space station. Cimon’s human handlers promise the first AI space bot will behave. No mutinous takeovers like HAL from the 1968 film classic “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
“He’s a friendly guy and he has this hard power-off button,” German Space Agency physicist Christian Karrasch, the project manager, told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Like HAL, the autonomous Cimon is an acronym: it stands for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion. Its AI brain is courtesy of IBM.
German astronaut Alexander Gerst, who arrived at the orbiting lab a month ago, will introduce Cimon to space life during three one-hour sessions. Already savvy about Gerst’s science experiments, the self-propelling Cimon will float at the astronaut’s side and help, when asked, with research procedures.
Cimon has Gerst’s face and voice imprinted in its memory. So while the robot could assist the five other station astronauts, it is best suited for Gerst, according to Karrasch.
To get Cimon’s attention, Gerst will need only to …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Business