It’s been many months since the European Space Agency announced that it was building an AI for testing aboard the International Space Station. Named “CIMON” (short for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion), the digital helper is finally up and running aboard the ISS, and space station crew are getting a chance to test it out.
No, we’re not in for a HAL-9000 type of scenario (at least not yet), but CIMON definitely still has some quirks to be worked out. In a hilarious debut, the smiling artificial face gives astronauts a good chuckle as it starts to act a bit wonky, and it was all captured on video for us to enjoy.
The tiny robot, which has fans that allow it to push itself around a room as well as maintain position in the zero-gravity environment of the ISS, shows some impressive capabilities to start. It responds to voice commands and makes suggestions just as it should, but then things start to get a little, well, weird.
After using its music feature, the tiny bot refuses to stop talking about music. It also begins to drift towards the floor of the spacecraft and handler Alexander Gerst has to reposition it. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, CIMON begins to get emotional, asserting that Gerst is “mean” and asking “Don’t you like it here with me?”
Gerst can do nothing but laugh at the abrupt change in tone. CIMON then suggests that Gerst must be hungry and asks if Gerst would like to be reminded when it’s time for lunch.
It’s honestly one of the funniest videos ever to come from the ISS, not to mention slightly creepy. The robot clearly has some emotional baggage that it brought with it for its stay aboard the space station, but I’m sure ESA will hammer out the kinks in time.