Inching us ever closer to a world in which HAL 9000 says it can't open the pod bay doors, the International Space Station has been living with their first mobile robot companion since July. The robot's name is Cimon and the astronauts aboard ISS have been testing its usefulness on their mission. In a video from the European Space Agency, however, Cimon threw a bit of a tantrum while the astronauts were attempting to show off its functionality, resulting in a fairly hilarious exchange.
In the video, German astronaut and geophysicist Alexander Gerst asks the floating robot to turn 90 degrees and begin playing his favorite music. Both actions go off without a hitch, and Gerst tells Cimon it's done a good job.
"I am happy you like it."
Horizons science – Cimon youtu.be
Then Gerst asks Cimon to start taping him...but the AI isn't very excited by the idea of turning off the music.
Instead of turning it off so it can begin taping Gerst, Cimon says:
"I love music you can dance to. Alright, favourite hits incoming. What else can I do for you?"
Gerst then insists that Cimon turn off the music and follow instructions, at which point Cimon tells the astronaut to, "Be nice please."
Gerst is flabbergasted:
"I am nice! He's accusing me of not being nice! He just doesn't know me when I'm not nice."
Cimon continues to guilt-trip the scientist, saying, "Don't you like it here with me?" and, once more, "Don't be so mean please."
Gerst doesn't know what to do!
"I'm not mean! He's telling me I'm mean!"
Some Twitter users were on Cimon's side:
Others were a bit more disturbed by the AI's debut...
Cimon was created by Airbus with the hope that its ability to learn may lead to solutions to onboard problems. It uses a complex system of 12 fans to navigate through the ISS's zero-gravity environment, though Gerst notes that Cimon seems to fly towards the ground most of the time.
Airbus hopes that, someday, Cimon will aid in a manned mission to Mars. Before that can happen, however, the robot will have to grow a thicker skin.
It's not going to be a "nice" journey.