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A robot with artificial intelligence has gone to space and this isn't going to end well

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Gary Ogden
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CIMON is the first artificial intelligence robot to head into space - what a fantastic, brilliant, not dangerous idea

So, you’re an astronaut, and you’ve been training for years - really tough, testing stuff - and you’re finally ready to head into space, your dream realised. Ecstatic doesn’t even begin to describe it. And then they tell you:

“This is a first - you will be making history on this mission!” and the swell of pride inflates your chest - you are a true trailblazer.

“Why, may I ask?” you say, intrigued and excited.

“We are sending the first robot with artificial intelligence into space with you.”

“No, I…” you stutter, but it is too late. You hear an ominous whirring sound.

“**{::YOU will DIE::}**” it says. Your fate is sealed. Say your goodbyes.

Presumably that is exactly what happened when the astronauts over at SpaceX were informed of CIMON, an AI-based robot that zoomed up to space to meet the crew of the ISS early this morning. CIMON, which stands for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion (does it?), is a floating ball of fear that if you squint, is basically one of those big flying red demon heads from Doom. Look:

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German Space Agency physicist Christian Karrasch, the project manager, told The Associated Press:

“He’s a friendly guy and he has this hard power-off button.”

Yeah, good one, like it’s gonna let you get anywhere near that off-switch. Either way, German astronaut Alexander Gerst, who is already up in space, will be acting as its human ‘companion’ (read: conspirator), as it already has his face and voice implanted into its memory.

The ‘purpose’ of CIMON is to offer assistance to the astronauts on board - so it can help them perform complex procedures by flashing up helpful images and video. This all seems pretty innocent and progressive in its design, but what seems more sinister and pointless, is that it has a big fucking face on it that will smile when it senses conversations are upbeat, and frown when they’re not.

Yeah, cool, one of our astronauts has just exploded in the decompression chamber, we don’t need you frowning to tell us it’s bad. In fact, it’s making it worse.

And what if everyone’s having a lovely time round the dinner table and suddenly you notice that CIMON is frowning? Can you imagine? Something’s about to burst through someone’s stomach isn’t it? CIMON can absolutely do one.

$5.8 million for a terrifying disembodied head that you know would 100% be smiling as it knocked you out of the airlock to your freezing death. Waste of money.

(Image: Getty)

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Gary Ogden

Gary Ogden

Shortlist writer and "the least woke person in the office", Gary Ogden, likes horror movies, Cheestrings, tapping his leg under the desk, "having a drink", hiding from responsibility, screaming into the mirror whenever he is alone, and assorted other things. Mainly the screaming thing though. @garyblogden

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