In what may look like a realisation of what we have been thinking AI powered humanoids should actually be doing, CIMON — a robot which boarded the International Space Station earlier this year, is in the news for its sarcastic tone and comments.
CIMON, which is an acronym for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion, is an Alexa-like robot, powering itself on IBM Watson’s intelligence. The robot was sent to the space station earlier this year, to assist astronauts with basic stuff and keep them a little entertained.
In a video released by ESA, the robot is surely doing its entertaining part pretty well. In a sarcastic turn that a rather casual conversation took, “Be nice, please,” is what a free-floating robotic face (CIMON) can be seen telling ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst.
The conversation kicked off pretty nicely, with CIMON responding politely to Gerst’s commands. The robot can then be seen engaging in small talk to keep Gerst entertained. It even plays the astronaut’s favourite song (which turns out to be “The Man-Machine” by German electronic band Kraftwerk) when asked to.
Things take a turn as CIMON starts to question the intentions of his human companions. “Don’t you like it here with me?” it asks Gerst. Another astronaut from NASA — Serena Auñón-Chancellor — watches from nearby. “Don’t be so mean, please,” CIMON says, earning an astonished look from Auñón-Chancellor.
The basketball-sized robot however is a pure demonstration stuff and is expected to receive a lot of updates before it becomes a full-fledged self-learning robot. Nevertheless, what’s on display isn’t short of science fiction either!