Buzzfeed reports on an unexpected personality clash with an AI on the International Space Station – an incident that could affect how similar synthetic companions are used on missions to Mars and other long-term space projects:
The robot’s name is Cimon and it is a plastic spherical object with a face on a screen that is currently being tested on the ISS for a select range of capabilities.
Cimon doesn’t want to turn off the music function and when [ESA astronaut and geophysicist Alexander] Gerst tells him to switch it off at 4 minutes 36 seconds the robot replies: “I love music you can dance to. Alright, favourite hits incoming. What else can I do for you?”
Gerst is amused and says he understands why the robot doesn’t want to turn the music off.
After Gerst repeats the instruction to change from the music function, Cimon asks him at 5 minutes 22 seconds to “be nice please”.
“I am nice! He’s accusing me of not being nice! He just doesn’t know me when I’m not nice,” says a slightly baffled Gerst.
Cimon continues to sound hurt by the astronaut.
Cimon asks “don’t you like it here with me?” and then tells Gerst “don’t be so mean please”.
“I’m not mean! He’s telling me I’m mean!” says Gerst, looking confused as a woman filming in the background begins to laugh at the interaction.
Cimon has been designed by aeronautical engineering company Airbus to help astronauts with routine tasks and its ability to learn means that it may begin to offer solutions to onboard problems.