"I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."

Those of us familiar with 2001: A Space Odyssey or I, Robot should have a healthy scepticism for charming, intelligent robots.

We have to assume then, that no one involved in the creation of CIMON (the Crew Interactive Mobile Companion) had seen either of these films - or read the science fiction which they were based on - before sending their artificially intelligent robot on to the International Space Station.

The white spherical robot with a smiling face is a collaboration between Airbus and IBM, who developed its simple exterior and complicated interior brain.

The robot arrived on Monday to interact with the astronauts and keep them happy. When they first get to meet CIMON, they will task him (it?) with some simple tests.

But in future the plan is to have CIMON floating around the ISS to monitor the social interactions of the astronauts on board.

A new kid on the writer’s block

Global eCommerce giant Alibaba has unveiled its latest invention, an AI-powered copywriting tool designed for retailers with huge word counts and tight deadlines.

Announced by Alimama, the digital marketing arm of the company, the new tool promises the ability to create precise product descriptions with just click of a button.

The AI analysed millions of existing product descriptions from its website and now offers a ‘Produce Smart Copy’ function which instantly creates paragraphs of descriptive text.

Retailers can specify the length and tone of the copy to ensure it matches their brand, and can then choose from the best draft.

Even for the fastest typists, it’ll be hard to beat this new AI, which can currently spit out 20,000 lines of a copy in just one second.

Just act natural…

Japan – a country hoping to introduce AI-powered ‘predictive policing’ in time for the 2020 Olympics – will soon be the home of consumer-grade AI-powered security cameras.

The 'AI Guardman' is a self-contained AI camera, designed for shop owners. Not only can it record and log the face of anyone who walks through the door, but it also analyses the body language of visitors as they peruse, alerting for dodgy behaviour.

The camera was developed by a Japanese telecom company with software from open-source technology developed by Carnegie Mellon University.

I wish the best of luck to the first customers under its watchful eye as they try to remain relaxed and at ease under its super-powered scrutiny.

 

Natural Horn Killers

A journalist should always try to be impartial, but there’s not much of an argument for killing elephants and rhinos. Just don’t do it.

Whilst we try to get to the heart of this tragic problem, one company is hoping to outdo would-be poachers with the power of artificial intelligence.

Whilst anti-poaching surveillance of the past often meant getting to the scene of a crime too late, AxxonSoft hopes that its deep-learning surveillance tech can catch a poacher before it’s too late.

Its deep-learning means it can identify a poacher amongst the native animals and will send out an alert to nearby help, hopefully before the two ever meet.

AI matches parents with child carers

A London-based start-up is aiming to become the 'match.com for childcare'.

myTamarin, set up by entrepreneur Zarja Cibej, uses dating-style psychology and AI to match parents to nannies and childminders.

Cibej said she was inspired to create the business whilst trying to find suitable childcare for her two young sons, and looked to the dating industry to find out how they matched people.