Technology 3 min read

New ISS AI Robot Calls out Astronaut for not Being 'Nice'

CIMON | Horizon Science - CIMON | European Space Agency

CIMON | Horizon Science - CIMON | European Space Agency

The new ISS AI robot just showed displeasure during a demonstration with its astronaut handler.

“Be nice, please,” was what CIMON, the new ISS AI robot aboard the space lab, told its handler, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst during Friday’s demonstration. In a 7-minute video clip of the demo released by ESA, the robot showed its displeasure when Gerst asked it to stop playing music.

The video began with Gerst and CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile CompanioN) floating inside the International Space Station while facing each other. NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor is also in the background watching the duo.

Gerst asked CIMON some basic questions which the ISS AI robot willingly answered. The white, ball-like robot with an animated face was able to tell Gerst its name and the place where it came from. It did this while demonstrating its ability to tilt itself while smirking.

At first, everything appeared to run smoothly. Gerst asked the robot to tell him something about space, and it offered some interesting facts about Mercury. He then asked CIMON to do a 90-degree turn, which it did slowly. CIMON was also able to help Gerst with a scientific procedure.

ISS AI Robot Gets Overly Sensitive

However, everything turned awry after Gerst requested CIMON to play his favorite music. The robot immediately played Man-Machine by Kraftwerk. At around the 4:08 mark of the video stream, Gerst asked CIMON to stop playing the song, but the robot didn’t respond.

Gerst let the music play on the background and instead issued another command, asking the robot to turn on video recording. The ISS AI robot did as asked while continuously playing Man-Machine. At this point, Gerst has asked CIMON to cancel the music again to no avail.

While Gerst was reporting the issue to ground control, CIMON suddenly talked and told Gerst to be nice. Gerst, amused by the interaction, answered the robot and said “I am nice! He’s accusing me of not being nice! He just doesn’t know me when I’m not nice.”

However, CIMON took it a little further and told the astronaut “Don’t you like it here with me?” and “Don’t be so mean, please”. The video ends with Gerst sharing a laugh with NASA astronaut Auñón-Chancellor.

CIMON was sent to the ISS last June and is currently being tested to accompany astronauts in space to potentially help in future interplanetary missions.

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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