‘Be nice please’: New International Space Station bot CIMON likes Kraftwerk and astronauts who are not mean

  • European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst interacted with CIMON on the International Space Station
  • As Gerst interacts, the artificial intelligence bot follows commands and engages in small talk 
  • Gerst asks it to play his favotire song, CIMON plays  ‘The Man-Machine’ by German electronic band Kraftwerk
  • But then CIMON doesn’t listen to a command to get out of music mode
  • It tells Gerst ‘Be nice please,’ out of nowhere and then adds ‘Don’t you like it here with me?’

‘Be nice, please.’ That was the message a free floating space robot had for European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst as he interacted with it on the International Space Station.

CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile Companion) was brought on board the space station earlier this year. The robot assists crew members with tasks while also supposedly boosting morale, but things took a rather odd turn as Gerst interacted with it.

Gerst asks CIMON, which is brought to life by IBM Watson artificial intelligence, to perform different commands and engages it in small talk throughout the demonstration. 

Alexander Gerst interacts with CIMON aboard the International Space Station 

As Gerst interacts with CIMON, things take an odd turn when the robot starts reprimanding the astronaut and telling him not to be mean 

American astronaut Serena Maria Auñón-Chancellor, is in the background and also recording the interaction at various points. 

CIMON answers politely and follows commands such as use the front facing camera and to play Gerst’s favorite song which, appropriately is ‘The Man-Machine’ by German electronic band Kraftwerk.

Soon after Gerst asks CIMON to stop playing the music. While it does stop playing the music, and performs the next command which is turn on its front facing camera, it remains in music mode.

It says, ‘I love music you can dance to,’ the robot does not listen.

It then creepily says ‘Be nice please.’

Auñón-Chancellor shoots Gerst a shocked look. 

Then it says ‘Cool.’ Then it says ‘Don’t you like it here with me?’

Then it says ‘Don’t be so mean please.’

Gerst excuses its odd behavior saying CIMON is a little sensitive today.

Gerst ends up praising the robot’s ability to fly in microgravity, but CIMON has some insecurity kinks to work out.   

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