Columnist Abishur Prakashat at RoboticsBusinessReview writes, “It’s clear that a new space race is underway between world powers–and AI and robotics could define who wins. Facing large ambitions from numerous countries, robotics companies have a huge opportunity in front of them. Governments need ways to achieve their space-race goals, and robotics and AI will increasingly be the main way to do this.”
“Because the 21st-century space race isn’t just between two countries (originally the U.S. and Soviet Union in the 1960s), robotics companies have more options to work with governments from around the world. The China National Space Administration has a multi-decade plan to guide its space exploration. By 2050, China wants a base on the moon, operated by robots. The European Space Agency (ESA), which said in 2016 that robots might entirely replace humans in space missions. Russia has plans for humanoid space robots.”
In my opinion, Ms. Helsel states the obvious in that artificial intelligence and robotics are going to be the most viable resources for exploring space. Robots will be able to physically endure the long hours and rigors of space travel along with the long months and years they could spend stationed in orbit somewhere or on a moon or planet base. Robots will also be able to perform without any of the emotional shortcomings humans would experience, i.e., robots don’t leave spouses, children, relatives, pets, etc. at home. And artificial intelligence will be the brains behind (or inside) these robots.
I find the concept of a “new space race” fascinating. I was not aware that the “old space race” was over, least no one told me it was. No press announcements either.
The concept “space race”, in the context of the article above, is somewhat disappointing in that it’s not the collective people of earth reaching out together into space to learn more about and improve our mutual existence. It focuses on individual countries and companies in competition with each other to be the first out there and to establish what amounts to little more than colonies, which will again be in competition with each other as they were here on earth.
I guess the reason for that is the same for why most of earthly outer-space science fiction depicts superior beings coming to earth to either destroy the planet or take us over. Maybe, with artificial intelligence, the robots will have a different mindset.