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Advanced Technology

China Acts Like an Existential Threat To America

Let me begin this article by stating that I like the people of China. The people I have known are smart, well-educated, industrious, and hard-working. On top of that they are a beautiful people – physically and socially.

 

The Chinese government, however, appears to  act like it is an existential threat to America. The government in the last few years appears to have been arming itself like an aggressor, using unfair trading practices, flooding our country with spies, hacking into our government and business systems, requiring American businesses to transfer intellectual and commercial property to them. There are several other apparent situations which I will discuss in this article.

 

Following are some but not all of the items I will cover in this article. Then I will expand a bit on these items and expanding greater detail in other articles.

 

  • China launched more rockets into orbit in 2018 than any other country.
  • China launched secret military satellites in October 2018.
  • China is poised to deploy stealth fighters in the South China Sea.
  • The Pentagon confirmed that the Chinese Fired Lasers at U.S. Pilots in Incidents near Beijing’s Djibouti military base injured American air crews flying nearby.
  • The DIA says the Chinese will deploy an ASAT Laser by 2020.
  • China showed off its next generation of destroyer as Xi was in review of it.
  • China is militarizing the deep sea
  • China is targeting control over the Internet of Things
  • China’s impact on the U.S. Education System
  • FBI director Christopher Ray warrants that China is America’s most significant intelligence threat
  • China’s Economic Aggression Threatens the Technologies and Intellectual Property of the United States and the World

 

  

 

As of December 15, 2018 China, made 35 successful orbital launches as compared to 30 for the U. S. In January China launched and succeeded in landing of spacecraft on the far side of the moon. They are working on an equivalent of the space shuttle, and the International Space Station (ISS).

 

In the first part of October 2018, China launched two secret satellites designated Yaogan 32 – 01 and Yaogan 32 – 02 stating pro forma that they were for agricultural research. China watchers say that when they say it’s for agricultural research it’s their way of saying they don’t want to talk about it. Most people believe it was for signal intelligence (SIGINT).

 

China does not sit idly by. They continue development of advanced weaponry such as the J–20 Stealth Fighter Aircraft which they are attempting to make competitive with the U.S. Air Force F-22 and F-35 Fighter Aircraft.

 

A few of the characteristics of the J-20 include:

A chiseled nose section similar to the F-22 adding stealth capabilities.

 

A frameless canopy.

Front canard wings helping to generate lift.

It has an Electro-Optical Targeting System. There is speculation about what kind of radar type is used.

 

The East China Sea has been an area that China has tried to claim for itself in many locations that are considered international or that other countries have long claimed as theirs. China claims to have a “maritime militia” of Chinese fishing boats to contestant air defense identification zone that Beijing has declared theirs in 2013. Both American planes and Australian planes in several instances have had lasers shined at their cockpits from these Chinese “fishing boats”.

 

There has been damage to the eyes of some of these airmen and crews. According to Euan Graham of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Australian pilots told him they were targeted multiple times by Chinese boatss during South China Sea missions. Australian forces have noticed an increase use of lasers according to an Australian Defense Department spokesperson. That is rather vicious and evil.

 

According to CNN “China has claimed almost the entire 1.3 million square mile South China Sea as a sovereign territory. In recent years it has aggressively asserted its stake in the face of conflicting claims from several Southeast Asian nations.”

 

According to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) “the PLA is acquiring a range of technologies to improve China’s counterspace capabilities. China is developing antisatellite capabilities, including research and possible development of directed energy weapons and satellite jammers, and probably has made progress on antisatellite missile system that tested in July 2014.” Furthermore, China is developing a directed energy weapon to destroy our satellite system from the ground and from aircraft.

 

Additionally, China has been equipping its ground forces in China and friendly states with mobile ASAT weapons.

 

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additionally, China has been arming North Korea with Chinese made ballistic missiles. Hear the Rick Fisher podcast about this.

 

 

 

China is also aggressively upgrading its Navy. In April 2019, China showed off its new Type 055 guided missile destroyer Nanchang with President Ji Jinping in review. He said “Salute to you, comrades. Comrades, thanks for your hard work.” This was televised live in damp foggy weather.

 

According to Wikipedia and other open sources, the Nanchang is equipped with 112 vertical launch cells with the ability to fire HHQ-9 surface to air missiles, YJ-18 anti-ship cruise missiles and CJ-10 land attack cruise missiles.

 

To make it clear, Xi is implementing a plan to renew the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) with everything from stealth jets to aircraft carriers to an advanced Navy. Many compare the Nanchang to our Zumwalt class stealth destroyer.

 

 

Besides his development of space warfare and aerospace and seaspace stealth technologies, China has disclosed that is begun to build up deep-sea capabilities for warfare.

 

And according to state-controlled media, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) have the ability to operate in deep waters. This is considered between 3300 feet below surface to more than -13,000 feet.

 

According to the Washington Times newspaper, the Chinese are developing underwater aircraft carrier systems, underwater robotics, and deep-sea troops. This sounds like James Bond’s nemesis SPECTRE.

 

Starting in 1978 China began its upgrade of its PLAN to the present time. In the last few years has significantly increased its building and funding.

 

Whether it is by design the Chinese or it is by economics alone, China is becoming dominant in the Internet of Things (IoT) and has dangerous implications for the people of this nation. This is because, whether by accident or by design, many of the products that are getting into our homes and our businesses do not have security designed into them.

 

 

 

 

The concept of smart homes is expanding rapidly thanks in part to Amazon and to Google with their Alexa and Hey Google Internet connected products. The Google and Amazon products are not the ones I’m talking about that have security problems but many of the products that would connect to them are unsecure. Download and read the report by Dark Cubed.

 

Dark Cubed did extensive testing of IoT products such as light bulbs, video cameras and microphones not only to be unsecure but to be directly connecting to companies and servers in China. In addition, the same devices are connecting with up to 40 different companies and their communications.

 

Do you want companies or governments knowingly your children are home alone or what they’re watching or saying to each other?

 

There will soon be 20 billion Internet of Things devices connected to the Internet. And that will double, and it will double again.

 

Dark Cubed is not alone in his clarion call about the dangers that China poses to the Internet of Things. A report by the U.S.- CHINA ECONOMIC and SECURITY REVIEW COMMISSION says “China’s unique approach to the development of IoT and its enabling infrastructure poses significant challenges for U.S. economic and national security interests.” It further says, “The highest echelons of the Chinese regime view IoT development and deployment as critical matters of China’s economic competitiveness and national security.”

 

“Aside from industrial control systems, unauthorized access to health care devices could kill patients and exploitation of smart car vulnerabilities could kill drivers and pedestrians alike, among other examples of possible misuse of data and devices that could have dire consequences,” the report warns.

“The future destructive potential of unauthorized access to IoT devices appears potentially limitless.”

 

 

This past week I was channel flipping and came across Maria Bartiromo on the Fox Business Channel having a conversation with an executive from Huawei. As you may be aware the United States government has banned all purchases of equipment from Huawei and has told some of our foreign partners that if they continue to buy while equipment we will not share intelligence with them. Ms. Bartiromo was asking the Huawei representative about this and he denied that they would ever have to provide the Chinese military with information derived from its equipment.

 

In mid-June a cybersecurity research company called Finite State came out with a report about the vulnerabilities and lack of security of Huawei products. It said, “The Chinese National Intelligence Law of 2016 requires all companies ‘to support, provide assistance, and cooperate in national intelligence work.””

 

“Even if Huawei may be technically correct in saying that Chinese law doesn’t explicitly ‘compel’ the installation of backdoors, China’s intelligence and counterespionage activities tend to be so expansive that these provisions could be used to justify activities extending well beyond China’s borders.”

 

Finite State studied Huawei equipment and discovered that 55% of Huawei hardware devices tested contained at least one backdoor access point.

 

You can read the report here: https://finitestate.io/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Finite-State-SCA1-Final.pdf.

 

 

On February 22, 2019 the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations  Committee on Homeland Security And Government Affairs published a report CHINA’S IMPACT ON THE U.S. EDUCATION SYSTEM.

 

It was written as a result of several sources having become concerned about activities of the Chinese government using funding to schools to propagandize about China and reports of China threatening to pull funds if the schools don’t play ball.

 

Figure 1: Confusius School in San Francisco (Xinhua)

 

Some of the information in the report and others such as DW.com is as follows.

 

Since Confucius, ancient Chinese philosopher, is synonymous with morality, justice, and honesty, the Chinese government chose to capitalize on his rich legacy in established Confucius Institutes on college campuses around the world beginning in 2004. In the US first Institute was at the University of Maryland. Now there are more than 100 Confucius Institutes in the United States.

 

The Chinese government funds Confucius Institutes and provides Chinese teachers to teach language classes to students and nonstudent community members. In addition to the language classes, the host culture events like Chinese New Year’s celebrations, cooking classes, speakers, and dance and music performances they are to depict China as approachable and compassionate. Confucius classrooms are currently in 519 elementary, middle, and high schools in the United States. Continued expansion of the program is a priority for China.

 

 

There is reason to suspect that some schools and/or districts play for pay. To quote from the report

 

 

“The Cost of Confucius Institutes. The investment by China in U.S. Confucius Institutes is substantial. Since 2006, the Subcommittee determined China directly provided over $158 million in funding to U.S. schools for Confucius Institutes. A number of U.S. schools, however, failed to properly report this funding as required by law. The Department of Education requires all postsecondary schools to report  foreign gifts of $250,000 or more from a single source within a calendar year of receiving them. Despite that legal requirement, nearly 70 percent of U.S. schools that received more than $250,000 from Hanban failed to properly report that amount to the Department of Education. The Department of Education last issued guidance to U.S. schools on foreign gift reporting requirements in 2004, the same year the first Confucius Institute opened in the United States. As China opened over 100 additional Confucius Institutes in the United States over the last 15 years, the Department of Education remained silent.”

 

Read the linked report and you will see several other instances that could generate multiple grand juries.

 

Rachelle Peterson, the lead researcher for the Heartland Institute and Policy Director at the National Association of Scholars wrote a piece in The Hill in February 2018 about how she spent a year and a half studying Confucius Institutes and how they “pressured American scholars to keep quiet about China’s unsavory policies.” She also pointed out that of 103 Confucius Institutes in the US, only 16 have reported Confucius Institute’s gifts to the Department of Education since 2010.

 

Director Christopher Wray of the FBI in April 2019, in an interview with President  Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations said that China is stealing its way up the economic ladder. He specifically called out the Chinese government is a threat landscape ranging from terrorism to cybercrime to espionage.

 

You can read his very direct talk at the FBI website.

 

I expect to periodically update you on this very important subject.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brand New! Alexa in Your Car

A few months ago I saw on Amazon that they would be introducing an Echo product that would reside in my automobile which got my attention. I have four active Amazon Echo products in my home. In my living room I have an Echo Fire TV Cube for my Samsung 4K Smart TV, in my office I have a Second-Generation Echo with Alexa, and in my bedroom I have an Echo Show, and on my Samsung Galaxy S8 I have the Amazon Alexa Application which makes it a part of that intelligent group and is the intelligent app to drive that group.

 

To continue,  I learned that I could opt in to receive an invitation from Amazon to be one of the first people to buy and get the Echo Auto. Four days ago I got an email from Amazon saying I was selected to buy the new Echo Auto and because I was part of that select group it was offered to me at a significant discount. I think that was pretty cool. But, as excited as I was, I didn’t jump in immediately.

 

This is because between the time that they brought up there being a new product coming and my getting an invitation, I experimented with using the Amazon on my phone by interfacing with my car system. In January, I leased a brand-new 2018 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback. It has an intelligent control panel and system including navigation, analog radio, FM radio, High Definition (HD 1 and HD 2) radio, Bluetooth access to my phone, and hands-free calling which also has my contact list from my phone. As part of that I had learned that it actually uses my phones Alexa App to perform quite a few Alexa applications but not as many as I would like. Additionally, I have stored on my phone thousands of songs that I bought from Amazon either from direct download and/or CDs and can play those on my car system.

 

There was one more potential deal killer. The Echo Auto sits on the dashboard in a position where I can talk to it and thus do all the other neat Amazon echo things I can do at home. It sits, however, on a molded piece made exactly for the Echo Auto that has an adhesive bottom to attach it to the dashboard. My concern was if I wanted to remove the holder for the Echo would I damage the dashboard? I called Amazon and they put me in touch with the group that is responsible for that device and I talked with a really helpful lady named Taylor who let me know that any residue that was left on the dashboard could easily be removed with a Clorox wipe.

 

I thanked her and let her know that as soon as our call was finished I would be ordering the new Echo which I did. Happily, I received it the next day. I waited until yesterday to install my Echo Auto and with little difficulty got it running beautifully. Just for kicks, from my car I asked Alexa what the temperature was in my home and Alexa told me. Is that neat or what?

 

Other things I can do from my car include:

  • set the temperature in my house
  • turn the lights on and off
  • see  who is at the door
  • record a TV show and/or a movie
  • whatever I can imagine.

 

I definitely recommend getting Amazon Echo Auto. It’s like living in the sci-fi world I could only read about, only it’s not sci-fi anymore.

The Geek Squad is One of My Prized Assets

 

 

I made the decision two or three years ago to add a solid-state drive to my computer as my C//: drive in order for my computer to process information faster. I bought a 256 GB  Solid State Drive (SSD) and thought that would be as large as I would ever need. In the last year or so I discovered that it seemed my SSD drive was beginning to develop and I was beginning to try to find ways of getting rid of information on it.

 

In the last 90 days I was struggling with that and last week I finally gave in and called my IT department (i.e. the Geek Squad) to see if they could help me. I got Agent Bradley who was a great choice. I had seen some things on the web that indicated I could move applications from a C:// Drive to my hard drive to free up my drive. The Windows 10 set up is such that the C:// Drive contains the Windows operating system and my programs.

 

Prior to calling the Geek Squad, I did research about moving those programs over to hard drive in videos about being able to do it but it appeared a little sketchy to me. Hence my calling the Geek Squad to find out if that could be done. Agent Bradley understood what I was asking him and was able to explain why that is not a good idea in as much as moving the wrong files could mess up Windows. I’m pretty techy but by no means an expert on the Windows 10 operating system.

 

What Agent Bradley did was run a proprietary Geek Squad application and go through my SSD and identify files that can be safely moved to the hard drive. I have a friend so there’s a lot of room on it for expansion. He went over with me, section by section, which files could be moved without impacting Windows and causing a disruption or breakage. It was like watching a maestro at work and discussing with him how he’s does what he does. Continue reading

NASA and SpaceX Launch First Dragon Test Flight on March 2

The nine-day period between near the end of February and the first part of March was a busy period for NASA and for SpaceX. On February 21 SpaceX launched three satellites. The first launch was an Indonesian Nusantra Satu communications satellite, a small experimental satellite for the United States Air Force, and the Israeli Beresheet Lunar Lander.

 

 

On March 2, the Crew Dragon, also known as Dragon 2, was launched to meet and dock with the International Space Station. This was the first test in the evolution of the Dragon supply vessel to a manned vessel capable carrying seven people. It is America’s return to carrying its own people to space since July 8, 2011.

 

When the Dragon 2 passes its abort test it will be qualified to carry astronauts from earth to the International Space Station. It is built to carry seven people and can be used for carrying supplies to the ISS on future missions. Two of the improvements over previous Dragon models  are the solar panels are mounted on the outside of the trunk and the nosecone can now be opened to access the spacecraft stacking port.

 

Dragon 2 also incorporates eight SuperDraco thrusters which are hypergolic propellant liquid rocket engines designed and made by SpaceX. In a configuration of eight SuperDraco engines fault-tolerant propulsion provides redundancy as a launch escape system and propulsive landing thrust for the Dragon 2.

 

SuperDracos power the Dragon 2 spacecraft’s evolutionary launch escape system which is the first of its kind. If an emergency occurs during launch, eight SuperDraco engines built into the Dragon sidewalls will produce up to 120,000 pounds of axial thrust to carry astronauts to safety.

 

According to SpaceX, SuperDraco rocket engines utilize storable (non-cryogenic) propellant which allows his engines to be fired many months after viewing and launch. Draco is a family of hypergolic liquid rocket engines designed and built by SpaceX. The original Draco is a small rocket engine for use on the Dragon spacecraft. SuperDraco is derived from Draco but is over 100 times larger in terms of delivered thrust. In addition, the SuperDraco engines can be restarted many times and be precisely controlled during propulsive landing of the Dragon capsule although SpaceX has announced that they will not be using propulsive landing on the Dragon 2.

 

When Elon Musk builds a SpaceX product, his goal is to build the very best of class at a lower cost, often at a much lower cost, and his competitors. He does this by bringing the product design, testing, and manufacturing in-house we SpaceX as total control of the process. He continually proves that he is right about this. In order to meet these goals musk ascertained that SpaceX needed to utilize 3D printing. In 2013, SpaceX successfully fired a SuperDraco engine at full thrust using a 3D printed engine chamber evolved entirely in-house.

 

To quote SpaceX, ” The chamber is regeneratively cooled and printed in Inconel, a high performance superalloy. Printing the chamber resulted in an order of magnitude reduction in lead-time compared with traditional machining – the path from the initial concept to the first hotfire was just over three months. 

 

During the hotfire test, which took place at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas, the SuperDraco engine was fired in both a launch escape profile and a landing burn profile, successfully throttling between 20% and 100% thrust levels. To date the chamber has been fired more than 80 times, with more than 300 seconds of hot fire.

 

The Dragon Version 2 spacecraft represents a leap forward in spacecraft technology across the board from its Version 1 predecessor. When SuperDracos are flown on a demonstration of Dragon’s launch escape system later this year, it will be the first time in history that a printed thrust chamber has ever been used in a crewed space program.”

 

The success of the Dragon 2 space vehicle is an important milestone in immediate and future space travel. Elon Musk will tell you that he was one launch short of giving up on the whole business and thus his lifelong dream of putting mankind on different planets throughout the galaxy. SpaceX is proving that it can do better than giant corporations and governments i.e. United States, Russia, and China and put a man into space sooner and at a lower cost than they thought could be done.

 

In the future people will look back and say “Damn! You people were lucky to have been there to see that really cool stuff happen!”

 

Israel has a new Lunar Lander on its way to the Moon

 

On February 21, 2018, a SpaceX Falcon 9 carried three satellites into orbit. The most significant one was the launch of the Beresheet (“In the beginning”) Moon Lander scheduled to land on the moon in April. It is the result of a nonprofit group named SpaceIL and as Yonatan Weintraub stated it is “going to be the first private inter-planetary mission that is going to go to the moon.”

 

So, instead of a superpower (United States) or the two secondary powers (Russia and China) landing a spacecraft on the moon it will be Israel and Israeli investors.

 

Who are these investors? Beresheet was paid for by the Israel Space Agency and SpaceIL started by billionaire Morris Kahn, who like Elon Musk, was born in South Africa, Sylvan Adams, and Sheldon and Miriam Adelson as well as other investors.

 

SpaceIL is an example of an exceptional institution founded and staffed by 200 members with 95% of them being volunteers. It has grown to nearly 250,000 pupils all over Israel. The Beresheet lunar Lander was built by Israel Aerospace Industries I expect to provide more information about SpaceIL as time goes on.

 

Morris Kahn

 

Morris Kahn and his family moved from South Africa to Israel in 1956. Kahn made his own fortune primarily with Amdocs one of Israel’s largest and established high-tech companies with 26,000 employees worldwide. He also is the founder of Coral World which has underwater observatories around the world. In 2017 he gave $1 million to the Genesis Prize Award Fund which was presented to actress Natalie Portman who regifted it announcing that it would be granted to programs focusing on advancing women’s equality in all aspects of human behavior.

 

 

                                                        Philanthropist Morris Kahn,  Genesis Prize Laureate Natalie Portman, and Co-Founder and Chairmann Of the Genesis Project Prize Foundation Stan Polovets

 

Coincidentally, another name for the Moon Lander is Genesis.

 

Sylvan Adams

 

Another large contributor is billionaire Sylvan Adams who in the last couple of years moved from Montréal Canada to the luxury apartment overlooking Tel Aviv beachfront property. His father, Marcel Adams, a Holocaust survivor began the family’s real estate empire and Sylvan grew it to the size it is today. His son Josh now heads Iberville Development (the real estate business).

 

Adams has always had a passion for sports and physical abilities. He is a co-owner of the Israel Cycling Academy. As a cyclist himself he has won international competitive awards in the sport. Margaret and Sylvan established the Margaret and Sylvan Adams Family Foundation for the support of educational and medical projects in Israel and in Canada. He donated $80 million for the purpose of bringing the Giro d’Italia to Israel.

 

Adams has always had a love for the Jewish people. He made a substantial financial and time commitment to the Young Men’s – Young Women’s Hebrew Association YM-YWHA which is now called the Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA. To quote their press release:

 

As Mr. Adams stated, “The Jewish people are a gift to the world, having provided the foundational principles which shape our modern Western culture.  In order for the Jewish people to continue to make positive, disproportionate contributions to the societies where we live, we need to keep our institutions strong. Since the Y is an integral part of the Montreal Jewish Community, it is my greatest pleasure to provide support in any way I can.”

 

Andrea Rosenbloom, President at the Y, stated that the Y’s Board of Director is completely aligned with Mr. Adams’s philosophy.  “Our vision is securing Jewish continuity and now with Mr. Adams’ magnanimous gift, not only will our beloved Y survive, it will also thrive for future generations to come!”

 

 

Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson

 

Sheldon Adelson was born in 1933 in Boston Massachusetts into a low-income family. He now lives in Las Vegas Nevada and is 85 years old. It is currently worth around $36 billion.

 

Adelson is quoted as saying “an entrepreneur is born with the mentality to take risks though there are several important characteristics: courage, faith in yourself, and above all, even when you fail, to learn from failure get up and try again.”

It is a born entrepreneur having started a business at the age of 12 when he borrowed $200 from his uncle and purchased a license to sell newspapers in Boston. At age 16 he borrowed $10,000 from his uncle to start a candy vending machine business he attended city College of New York, did not graduate and joined the Army by his mid-30s he had built and lost a fortune twice and over the course of his career is created almost 50 businesses of his own.

 

In the 1970s, Adelson and others developed COMDEX which became the top computer tradeshow of the 1980s and 1990s. In 1995 he and the others sold COMDEX in the related businesses to Softbank Corporation of Japan. Adelson made more than $500 million in the deal.

 

In 1988 Adelson and his group purchased the Sands Hotel and Casino of Las Vegas. The Sands is going on to build casinos and resorts around the world. The Singapore Marina Bay Sands includes the third most expensive building in the world. The Marina Bay Sands which opened in 2010 is said to have cost $5.5 billion.

 

For a couple of decades Sheldon has been involved in supporting politicians and was a major contributor to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. He tends to support Republicans because they align more closely to his love of business and of Israel. Sheldon and his wife Miriam gave, according to the press, $24 million toward the Beresheet Lander.

 

Dr. Miriam Adelson was born in Tel Aviv in 1945 after her parents had fled to Poland in 1945. As a young woman she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology and genetics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and then her medical degree at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Medical School. From there she became the chief internist in the emergency room at Rokach Hospital in Tel Aviv.

 

She married Ariel Ochshorn a physician and had two children with him. They were divorced in the 1980s.

 

In 1986 as part of an exchange program, she went to Rockefeller University in which he specialized in the medical aspects of drug addiction. While there she met Sheldon Adelson who became her husband in 1991. She founded a substance abuse center and research clinic and they opened the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G Adelson Research Clinic in Las Vegas, Nevada.

 

On November 16, 2018 Dr. Miriam Adelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her generous financial and humanitarian support.

 

Back to the launch. On Monday the 25th, Beresheet missed a planned maneuver. The spacecraft’s computer unexpectedly went into reset causing a maneuver to be automatically canceled. The ground control launch team went into fix-it mode and provided Beresheet with corrective measures and performed the maneuver putting the Lander back on track for landing which is now expected to occur on April 11.

 

In the meantime, the spacecraft will do a series of  “phasing loops” that will raise the orbit until Beresheet can be captured by Lunar gravity. So for the next four weeks we will patiently anticipate a great event.

 

 

 

 

 

We just might want to keep an eye on this robot

In July I wrote a post “NASA has Launched a sort of HAL-like Robot to help an Astronaut on the ISS” about the cool new floating robot the European Space Agency (ESA) sent to the ISS. Its name is CIMON (pronounced Sigh Mon) and it was fun to watch and speculate about how it would help astronauts in the future.

 

It has now been six months and there has been a potentially disconcerting change as CIMON matures. According to the Quartz publication’s Nicholas Rivero, CIMON has gotten a little testy for what is supposed to be a friendly helping assistant. Astronaut Alexander Gerst asked CIMON to play some of Gerst’s favorite music. Instead CIMON played a song called “The Man-Machine” which annoyed Gerst and he asked the robot to please stop playing.

 

What followed seemed to be a tug of wills. It became reminiscent of HAL 9000. It may not be quite as creepy but I’m just sayin’.