Whether or not virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa actually make our lives better is debatable to say the least. Is navigating the myriad of voice cues really faster or more convenient than just tapping on your smartphone screen a few times? Whichever side of the issue you fall on, it's clear that AI is here to stay, so the European Space Agency is planning to embrace it with a fancy virtual assistant of its own, and it's headed to the International Space Station this year.
An artificial intelligence-powered robot tasked with assisting astronauts was launched into space for the first time ever Friday to join the crew of the International Space Station. Roughly the size of a volleyball and weighing 5 kilograms, CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile Companion) will float through the zero-gravity environment of the space station because of a system of fans. CIMON is able to answer voice commands and can research a database of information about the ISS. The robot can even assess the moods of its human crewmates and interact with them accordingly. "An observational pilot study with the [CIMON] aims to provide first insights into the effects of crew support from an artificial intelligence in terms of efficiency and acceptance during long-term missions in space," NASA said in a statement Friday after the successful launch.
Late in June, a SpaceX Dragon rocket took off for the International Space Station. A small, spherical robot equipped with artificial intelligence. If it seems like something out of a science fiction it's for good reason. No other AI robot has ever been launched into space, making it the perfect plot inspiration for a film. The purpose of the robot is to assist astronauts on the International Space Station with any number of tasks.
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. 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.