A robot that uses artificial intelligence was sent into space on Thursday on its way to the international space station ISS. There, the CIMON robot must help astronauts with various tasks and counter group thinking.

Last year the first version of the Crew Interactive Mobile CompanioN (CIMON) was introduced to support astronauts. At that time, however, the robot was only used to support astronauts in experiments. The robot could then be used as a reference work.

The second version that is now making its journey through space has a number of new functions. In addition to artificial intelligence, the robot also has emotional intelligence. The robot must be able to recognize the emotions of astronauts so that it can respond appropriately.

According to the CIMON developers, this could help prevent group thinking. This is a psychosocial phenomenon where people are influenced by a group. This is at the expense of the quality of decisions made by the group. Group thinking can arise when people spend a long time with each other.

CIMON could possibly counter group thinking in the future by introducing a neutral opinion in a discussion. In some cases the robot can also play the devil's advocate to bring new perspectives to light.

CIMON helps with saving time

The robot must also save time by helping the astronauts with better planning of their activities. This is necessary because time in the space station is very expensive.

An example is that CIMON can answer questions from astronauts who are investigating. This means that the astronaut no longer has to dig through manuals and that saves time.

The robot can also be sent to another location in the space station to take a picture of it somewhere. The astronaut can then see the photo taken on the screen. This ensures that the astronaut no longer has to go to the other location and can continue with the work.