ISS gets new HAL like computer

Written by Jason Cundall

June 28, 2005 // 1:18 p.m.

Tags: #2001 #clarissa #hal #international-space-station #iss-to-get-new-voice-operated-computer-assistant #nasa

The ISS is to recieve a new voice activated computer to assist astronauts onboard the station. Much like HAL, Clarissa will "talk" to the crew as they run through tests of the ISS water system, replying to queries spoken to 'her'. But unlike HAL, there's no AI to go mad and run amok:

A voice-operated computer assistant is set to be used in space for the first time on Monday – its operators hope it proves more reliable than "HAL", the treacherous speaking computer in the movie 2001.

Called Clarissa, the program will initially talk astronauts on the International Space Station through tests of onboard water supplies. But its developers hope it will eventually be used for all computer-related work on the station.

Clarissa was designed with input from astronauts. They said it was difficult to perform the 12,000 procedures necessary to maintain the ISS and conduct scientific experiments while simultaneously reading through lengthy instruction manuals.


More from New Scientist here.

Now, if they can get this working spot on, and combine it with their mini AERCam.... Well, you can see where I'm going with this: "Fetch me the Hydrospanner, R2"

Discuss the possibilities of maniacal talking computers getting bored with water sampling and taking over orbital outposts in our news forum.

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