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See Amazon’s training to prepare Alexa for space

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When it comes to artificial intelligence with voice control in science fiction, smart speakers like Alexa from Amazon have been ambiguous.

We’ve seen this in everything from 2001: Space Odyssey office Star Trek, and it is the latest example that echoes Rohit Prasad of Amazon, senior vice president and chief research fellow at Alexa. Prasad hopes to embody this symbiotic and optimistic relationship between space travelers and response-responsive technologies in Alexa’s biggest mission: flying to the moon.

Amazon announced in January that his clever Alexa assistant will be roll up aboard the first of NASA’s three Artemis missions, which will return to the moon in the 2020s. From scratch, the Artemis 1 launcher includes a very large, 3.5 million pounds a rocket called the Space Launch System, which will propel approximately 16 feet in diameter Orion’s Space Capsule to the Moon with Alexa built into the spaceship’s dashboard as part of a payload called Callisto. (Here’s a great explainer in The Verge about drama and delays Space launch system.) The Artemis 1 mission will be unmanned and will revolve around the moon rather than land on it.

“The need to communicate with the car was not in vain in fiction,” – says Prasad in Fr. a new mini-documentary after the process, in terms of Amazon, a literal lunar shot. «Star Trek was a big influence on me as a child … the fact that you could just talk to the computer and fulfill your requests was stunning for me ”.

Like the Artemis 1 mission itself, Alexa’s preparation for space travel has posed some unique challenges to Amazon and its partners Lockhead Martin and Cisco. Unlike an environment in which a smart speaker can thrive on Earth, Alexa will no longer be able to access cloud data aboard Orion. This meant that the team had to find a way to transfer the complex stages of voice processing of the system to the device itself. In the future, this learning process could also be used to improve the use of Alexa in remote places on Earth, Prasad says in the documentary.

Even without astronauts on board, Alexa will still test its ability to help people through a virtual crew experience conducted between the Johnson Space Center and the Orion spacecraft in near real time. Perhaps someday for busy astronauts en route to the Moon Alexa will be able to access telemetry data from Orion and answer questions such as “How fast does Orion travel?” or “What is the temperature in the cabin?”

Even further in the future, the Amazon team believes that Alexa can offer companionship and travelers to outer space.

However, despite all the potential benefits of having Alexa on board, the team behind Callisto says preparing for a system failure is just as important as for its success. Thus, even if Alex or Callisto fails, the mission itself is not threatened and does not face 2001– like a crisis.

After a few unsuccessful wet dress rehearsalsArtemis 1 is expected to make Fr. fourth rehearsal attempt in June this year with an expected launch no earlier than August, according to NASA officials on a recent call to the press. With luck, Alexa will debut in space by the end of the year.

Watch the short documentary below and follow NASA’s updates on Artemis in your blog, here.

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