NASA's Twitter-ing robot is no HAL9000 computer.
WASHINGTON – As we have shown, engineers with little or no time on their hands are not big fans of Twitter.
But the machines that engineers create apparently love Twitter.
Case in point is Robonaut 2, or “R2”, NASA’s future space-faring robot. The prototype robot is scheduled to travel to the International Space Station this fall to provide NASA scientists with “a deeper understanding of human-robotic interaction” in space, agency officials explained the other day while attempting to persuade reporters to "interview" R2.
R2 has begun tweeting at his new Twitter account, NASA said, sending updates about its upcoming mission: "Hello World! My name is Robonaut 2….” (…my gears feel great after latest lubrication…).
(Yes, we made up the last part.)
Perhaps a robot aboard the space station for six months is the perfect Twitter application. (Even my kid, “Mr. Facebook,” thinks Twitter is lame.)
If NASA wants to learn more about human-robotic interaction, perhaps they should just rent “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Despite his vivid imagination, science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke never dreamed of giving the equivalent of a Twitter account to the malevolent HAL 9000 computer (@HAL9000?). Instead, director Stanley Kubrick brought HAL to life through the sonorous voice of Canadian actor and narrator Douglas Rain. The choice was perfect since it literally gave voice to the banality of evil.
By contrast, the innocuous R2 has a long way to go in order to top his movie predecessors, HAL and R2D2.
In the unlikely event you have time on your hands, you can follow R2 at: http://www.twitter.com/AstroRobonaut.
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