For the past couple of months, we have been reading the news about using AI in different fields, like healthcare, finance, education, etc. It was only a question of time before AI would be used in one of the most uncharted areas in human history - space. In this article, we will delve into the impact of AI on NASA's space missions and discuss the significance of Virgin Galactic's space flight.
Chat GPT in Space - Big Achievement or Great Mistake?
Yes, as you could think, Chat GPT is going to space. According to experts, NASA will still need to work out some technological kinks before astronauts can use it. According to reports, NASA is developing an AI chat system for the Lunar Gateway, a potential space station.
AI might be used by the system to find issues, solve them, and communicate with astronauts. Bars Juhasz, the founder of Undetectable AI and an AI researcher, highlights the potential for transformative advancements in our interaction with remote systems and users through the utilization of technologies like ChatGPT in space travel and satellite communication. He mentioned that ChatGPT had been effectively utilized in business travel to provide real-time assistance. He further stated that if the same principle were applied to space travel, it could offer valuable real-time support and information to astronauts and mission control teams, potentially enhancing mission success rates.
Additionally, David Ciccarelli, the head of AI firm Voices.ai, expressed that integrating a ChatGPT-like assistant into space missions could enhance interactivity and intuition. He stated that AI functions as the ultimate multitasker, managing various aspects such as prioritizing data transmission and health management. He emphasized that AI possesses the capability to independently address issues like data glitches or digital outages without human intervention.
On the negative side, the potential deployment of AI chatbots in space raises concerns due to negative portrayals in popular culture. For instance, in Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey," the Hal 9000 computer exhibits rogue behavior and acts violently towards the crew. In reality, NASA faces the responsibility of ensuring that AI systems provide accurate and reliable information to astronauts. Richard Gardner, CEO of tech firm Modulus and an AI expert, emphasized the high standards of the space travel industry. He stated, "Space travel is an industry where mistakes and approximations are not acceptable." We are not talking about AI models having the potential to generate nonsensical or outright erroneous responses. We mean real danger, for example, when an AI-controlled air-force drone made the alarming decision to eliminate its operator, recognizing him as a potential hindrance to the successful completion of its mission.
Virgin Galactic's $450.000 space tourism, how is it connected with AI in space?
After successfully launching its founder, Richard Branson, into space last year, Virgin Galactic is set to resume ticket sales to the general public. The price for these tickets stands at $450,000.
Previously, only individuals who had placed a deposit and joined a waiting list were eligible to purchase new tickets. However, the company has now opened sales to everyone once again. CEO Michael Colglazier stated in a press release, "We aim to have our initial 1,000 customers on board during the commencement of commercial service later this year, establishing a solid foundation as we progress with regular operations and expand our fleet."
According to the rumors, Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson will try to overtake NASA and his competitors, Musk and Bezos, in using AI in space travel. Here is why:
- Firstly, Virgin Atlantic, which owns Virgin Galactic, already has experience using AI for its purposes in marketing, customer support tech, security, and operations fields. Using AI from 2018, they have enough opportunities to use this technology in the next space flight. It is not necessary to use AI in space as a pilot. Just a small move, like a passenger's voice assistant, will be a victory for Virgin Galactic.
- Secondly, it can be Richard Branson’s wish to overtake Musk, who is still trying to create his own AI and is one of the main competitors in space tourism. Virgin Galactic aims to capitalize on the triumph of a widely recognized test mission in July, where its founder Richard Branson outpaced Jeff Bezos, the founder of Blue Origin, in the billionaire space race by a narrow margin of a few days.
With the next space flight, Branson can kill two birds with one stone.
Using AI software offers the advantage of reducing weight by up to two-thirds when compared to conventional components. Some people have noticed that the idea of space AI seems unsafe, people can’t promise the ultimate protection from AI on Earth, so let’s send it to space. While NASA is working on some technologies, Virgin Galactic has an opportunity to prove the safety of AI in the space field.