Monday, May 02, 2016


by JASmius

Where does artificial intelligence fit into this equation if this droid is supposed to eventually take the place of astronauts on deep space missions?  Just how "smart" is the Valkyrie?:

MIT engineers have unveiled a six-foot, three hundred-pound robot designed to one day replace NASA astronauts on long and dangerous space missions.

According to Tech Insider, the Valkyrie humanoid designed by MIT's Computer Science and AI Lab – introduced last week at the New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation Center – can walk, climb, and navigate a room using two hundred sensors, including thirty-eight on each hand, and four body cameras.

That is impressive.  Depending on the sophistication of its programming, it would be coulee labor for astronauts on lunar or Mars missions or even expeditions to the moons of Jupiter eventually.  But in order to operate and function without on-site human supervision, wouldn't it have to be able to, in effect, think?  To adapt?  Particularly if it was going to replace human crew?  Valkyrie isn't exactly Data, after all.

MIT will keep working on the Valkyrie bot for two years with a research grant from NASA to get ready for its trip to [Sol IV] to maintain equipment in anticipation of the arrival of astronauts, the Boston Globe reports....

"Humanoid robots will be part of the pre-deployment mission to Mars and will maintain equipment prior to the astronauts’ arrival."

The bot will start work as an assistant to astronauts, but eventually could replace them altogether for more dangerous missions, Tech Insider reports.

I think we can rest easy about any Skynets or Matrices or Borg Collectives in our near or even moderately distant future, because at the rate at which the U.S. debt is logarithmically expanding and the U.S. economy is correspondingly plummeting, not to mention the fact that we have no manned space program and haven't for years, America isn't going to Mars or Luna or anyplace else any time soon, or, more likely, ever.

That does not, of course, mean that the Russians and/or ChiComms won't be.  Which means that, after they conquer us, the "Singularity" will be their problem.

Exit question: Did NASA skip right over R2D2?  I'd have liked to have seen their version of him.  Maybe he'd have had a secret message stored in him saying, "Help us, Ted Cruz; you're our only hope".

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