Scientists are developing an AI to control a space colony

Space Agency NASA somewhere in the 2030-ies wants to send a manned mission to Mars. In order to safely reach the red planet, the Agency will require the most advanced and reliable space technology. One of such technologies may be artificial intelligence that will be used to control virtually all systems of the spacecraft, and future space of the home, which people will be equipped on our planetary neighbor. Development of AI of this level is already underway and, interestingly, the prototype for it was perhaps the most infamous car of science fiction – the computer HAL 9000.

Robotics and expert in the field of AI, Pete Bonasso of the company TRACLabs (Houston, USA) said that he developed a new system prototype CASE (cognitive architecture for the space of agents) in technical terms is completely similar to the computer HAL minus such is clearly unnecessary for machine hell, sociopathy, paranoia and izmenitekst.

If you do not take into account these psychological disadvantages, advanced computing power and abilities of the cult character from the science fiction of the late 60-ies made a very vivid impression on Bonasso half a century ago.

“The first time I saw “Space Odyssey 2001″ by Stanley Kubrick in 1968, when I was in my senior year Academy West Point”, — writes Bonasso in an article published by the journal Science Robotics.

At that time the students had access to only one computer of the Academy. Not for any whim of the teachers or Director, just for the whole University had only one computer. Such machines were rare at the time. This computer was the station of the General Electric 225 with only 125 KB of RAM. Despite the limitations of the machine, Bonasso quickly figured out how to program it to play virtual pool. But when a young student saw the potential of the computer HAL, to him it was a real revelation.

Some decades later, already being a specialist in the field of AI, developed Bonasso what I saw in the movie the 68th year.

Prototype AI created Bonasso able to control a computer-simulated environment conditional space station for the entire four hours, but the results have been encouraging: the program for the simulation did not kill a single virtual astronaut.

Render the virtual planetary stations under the control of the system CASE

“Our colleagues, as well as representatives of NASA, with whom we cooperate, is not worried that HAL can get out of control. Why? Because out from under the control of the system fails. She does only what has been programmed”, — says Bonasso.

The main function of the CASE system in the future will be to manage all activities and operations of a space colony that worked like clockwork. The system architecture consists of three layers. The first manages the hardware, for example, life support systems, power grid, planetary Rovers and, Yes, theoretically, the doors of the sluice compartments.

The second layer is designed to control the software, which will operate the hardware infrastructure. In addition, this cluster will be responsible for compliance perform daily routine tasks, for example, conduct daily health checks of all systems of the station, and prevent and solve potential emergency situation (gas leak, fire, broken generators, approaching dust storms and so on).

Presumably the third layer of the architecture of the CASE to address the issue of alien monolith, if he’ll suddenly appear next to the colonists, however, the published article made no mention of that.

In addition to the layered architecture CASE will have an ontological system that gives AI the ability of reasoning and analysis that will do it using interfaces of interaction of machine and human (e.g., visual displays and interactive digital Windows that react to speech).

Most all of the above functions prototype, of course, at the moment can only perform in a virtual environment, however, Bonasso and his colleagues at TRACLabs, a company that cooperated on development of new high-tech systems, for example, with the same NASA and other government agencies, I hope soon to move the test system from the virtual world into the real one.

“We are working with experiments aimed at modeling systems. In such tasks people come together and simulates the environment and life on distant planets or the moon. I hope that step by step, but we will be able to bring the CASE in reality and to evaluate its significance for future space expeditions,” — says the article.

Looking ahead, if such a real system will prove its worth in the real tests and ultimately will be used within the colonial missions on the moon and Mars, in the opinion of Bonasso, they really can significantly simplify the exploration of deep space.

Again, scientists believe that worries about the risks of rebellion, as it was shown in the Kubrick film, not worth it. The capabilities of such systems will be limited to only the functions that were programmed in them.

“Ability is the same CASE even in a virtual environment is very limited and focused on the events that will occur at the planetary station. A real AI will be able to manage a life-support system, but the concept would not have who won the last presidential election,” adds the developer.

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