Steve Chien interview: Why NASA is inventing curious AI for deep space

Area probes would be the first to discover the furthest reaches of our photo voltaic system and past. To make discoveries like discovering alien life, they might want to assume extra like people, says NASA’s Steve Chien


20 October 2021

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Jennie Edwards

HUMANS aren’t nicely suited to long-duration area flight. We’re too delicate, too heavy and we require far too many assets to maintain us alive. On the subject of exploring our photo voltaic system and the worlds past that, it makes extra sense to ship machines.

Sadly, machines don’t share our innate curiosity. A spacecraft designed to take photos of the floor of a planet wouldn’t be shocked if an alien instantly scurried throughout the display screen and swap its focus, it will simply proceed to take photos of rocks. Steve Chien and his colleagues are attempting to alter that.

Chien heads up the division that appears after synthetic intelligence throughout mission planning at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) – the birthplace of missions similar to Voyager, which ventured to the sting of the photo voltaic system, and New Horizons, which flew by Pluto. In his day job, he creates software program and methods that can enable deep area probes and planetary rovers – the likes of the Rosetta mission to a comet and Perseverance to Mars – to higher emulate the best way people assume and act. He desires to show spacecraft into true explorers, moderately than simply collections of cameras and sensors powered by a rocket motor.

When not engaged on area missions, Chien grapples with AI on Earth. He was lately a co-author on a US authorities report on the way forward for AI. The report discovered the US must reposition itself to grow to be a frontrunner within the discipline or expertise the potential penalties of AI-based cyberattacks sooner or later.

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