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IBM ISS Space AI Software Technology

IBM's Watson Is Going To Space (thenextweb.com) 59

Yesterday, IBM announced it would be providing the AI brain for a robot being built by Airbus to accompany astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS). "The robot, which looks like a flying volleyball with a low-resolution face, is being deployed with Germany astronaut Alexander Gerst in June for a six month mission," reports The Next Web. "It's called CIMON, an acronym for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion, and it's headed to space to do science stuff." From the report: It'll help crew members conduct medical experiments, study crystals, and play with a Rubix cube. Best of all, just like "Wilson," the other volleyball with a face and Tom Hanks' costar in the movie Castaway, CIMON can be the astronauts' friend. According to an IBM blog post: "CIMON's digital face, voice and use of artificial intelligence make it a 'colleague' to the crew members. This collegial 'working relationship' facilitates how astronauts work through their prescribed checklists of experiments, now entering into a genuine dialogue with their interactive assistant."
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IBM's Watson Is Going To Space

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...don't hook it up to the pod bay doors.

    • I started thinking of the movie Oblivion, making friends with a metal ball is starting to sound rational. Are we a good team?
  • HAL 9000 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by danda ( 11343 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @06:15AM (#56199125)
    I -1 = H
    B -1 = A
    M -1 = L
    • by danda ( 11343 )
      <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HAL_9000">HAL 9000</a>
    • AI in space...

      NASA used to verify computer calcs multiple times using different algorithms to make sure the answers the computers were spitting out were correct.

      Now we are putting an AI up there with some fuzzy neural network - sorry we call it DEEP learning now - trained on earth based datasets that doesn't give deterministic answers. And it apparently has its own propulsion...

      What could possibly go wrong? If I was the astronaut, I wouldn't be going within 100m of that thing while I'm in my space s
      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        NASA used to verify computer calcs multiple times using different algorithms to make sure the answers the computers were spitting out were correct.

        Actually, NASA used real computers [wikipedia.org] to double check the calculations. Especially in the early days, but it persisted long into the Space Shuttle program in the 80s. (See Katherine Johnson [wikipedia.org]. If that name sounds familiar, she's one of the three African-Americans documented in Hidden Figures (book and movie) who made a name for herself for calculating trajectories fro

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      Explicitly denied by Dr. Chandra in the novel 2010.

      • by danda ( 11343 )
        Intended or not, it's a fun coincidence.

        "Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer" seems like an adequate description of Watson.   :-)
  • Is that the same Watson that's dreadful at cancer diagnosis? IBM's PR department triumphs again.
    • I was more thinking of the "Clippy of Windows 3.1", the Watson that tried to make Windows errors worse.
    • Watson is more of a marketing ploy then actually a useful implementation of technology.
      H&R Block uses Watson, and still when my Taxes have gone beyond what you can fill out on the EZ form. The Tax accountant needed to do a lot of additional work, and had to bring in her supervisor for additional assistance. All I really got was a spinning icon like in the old browsers, to show me that it is doing something.

      What I wax expecting Watson to do, is analysis all the other clams before it. Find additional sta

  • by Trracer ( 210292 )

    "Open the pod bay doors, CIMON."

  • Perfectly predictable what most responses will be about!

    • Kevin Flynn: Hey! Hold it right there!
      Bit: Yes.
      Kevin Flynn: What do you mean, "yes"?
      Bit: Yes.
      Kevin Flynn: Is that all you can say?
      Bit: No.
      Kevin Flynn: Know anything else?
      Bit: Yes.
      Kevin Flynn: Positive and negative, huh? You're a Bit.
      Bit: Yes.
      Kevin Flynn: Well, where's your program? Isn't he going to miss you?
      Bit: No.
      Kevin Flynn: *I'm* your program?
      Bit: Yes.
      Kevin Flynn: Another mouth to feed.
      Bit: Yesyesyesyesyes!

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt00... [imdb.com]

  • https://pre00.deviantart.net/d222/th/pre/f/2011/130/a/d/space_core_wallpaper_2_by_deathonabun-d3eta23.jpg
  • This is really impressive. I was wrong about AI. If NASA thinks it is ready for the ISS, then it must be useful. They wouldn't put something up there for just marketing purposes. After all: this is NASA. The same people who brought us the EMDrive.
  • Save your energy. The answer is 42
  • CIMON (Score:4, Insightful)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @09:21AM (#56199449) Journal

    Volleyball shaped, with a simple face?

    How is this NOT named Wilson?

    • Volleyball shaped, with a simple face?

      How is this NOT named Wilson?

      Copyright. The MPAA would bankrupt IBM. Just sending the attorneys and judge to hear the case in the ISS's jurisdiction would cost a fortune.

      • Volleyball shaped, with a simple face?

        How is this NOT named Wilson?

        Copyright. The MPAA would bankrupt IBM. Just sending the attorneys and judge to hear the case in the ISS's jurisdiction would cost a fortune.

        Could have been worse. What if they had called it Mickey?

  • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @09:47AM (#56199565)
    I was curious, so I looked it up on Wikipedia:

    One of Cimon’s greatest exploits was his destruction of a Persian fleet and army at the Battle of the Eurymedon river in 466 BC.

    Is this really the android we want to be sharing the confined space of a space station with.

  • by e3m4n ( 947977 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @10:02AM (#56199629)

    "It's called CIMON, an acronym for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion, and it's headed to space to do science stuff."

    C rew
    I nteractive
    M obile
    C ompanion

    looks like it spells CIMC to me. If they really wanted it to have a name out of an acrony why not CARLIE for Crew Autonomous Robotic Lifelike Interactive Entity?

    • by hawkfish ( 8978 )

      "It's called CIMON, an acronym for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion, and it's headed to space to do science stuff."

      C rew
      I nteractive
      M obile
      C ompanion

      looks like it spells CIMC to me. If they really wanted it to have a name out of an acrony why not CARLIE for Crew Autonomous Robotic Lifelike Interactive Entity?

      I was wondering that too, but it's an acrostic [dictionary.com], which is definition 3:

      C rew
      I nteractive
      MO bile
      companio N

      But the real question is "Is it a bum looker [hulu.com]"?

  • You know, the volleyball-shaped AI droid from Portal 2? I can't say I'd parallel CIMON with Wilson, a rudimentary game ball.
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    Gerty was an AI Robot with a face much like this volleyball one that served to assist the human responsible maintaining He3 mining on the Moon the in the 2009 film Moon.

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead

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