Remote Agent

What is a remote agent?

Is Remote Agent like robots in science fiction movies?

Yes and no. Most "robot "artificial intelligences" are creations of writers rather than computer scientists, and are thus reflections of human traits rather than computer traits. They also tend to be nearly as smart, or as smart, as human beings and have human-like thoughts, emotions, and foibles.

This is not the case with DS1's remote agent. Instead, the remote agent is very good at some tasks, for instance scheduling a lot of activity or diagnosing faults, but not so good at other tasks, like explaining itself. You cannot yet have a conversation with remote agent. But if you know its specialized command languages, you can ask it to do scheduling or monitoring for you. Artificial Intelligence researchers are slowly making progress at building agents that are more and more broadly capable, but this is a difficult task and it looks like it will take many years.

DS1's role, however, is like the roles some robots play in movies. In Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey, the HAL 9000 computer was a clear example of a remote agent. While the HAL 9000 computer in "2001: A Space Odyssey" could think and talk, it also monitored the spacecraft's system and diagnosed problems. For HAL, these were almost automatic activities, similar to the way our nervous systems control our breathing and heartbeat without conscious thought. So in a way, DS1's remote agent is in important step toward HAL.

Something along these same lines was seen in the movie "Alien," where the ship's basic functions were controlled by a computer called Mother. Likewise, in the television show Mystery Science Theater 3000, Gypsy is an agent that is responsible for keeping the ship running, while Mike and the robots (other autonomous agents, although their goals are more fuzzy) watch movies.

What happens to a ship when its remote agent dies?
What does agent mean?
What is artificial intelligence?
What exactly can Remote Agent do?
What are the advantages of remote agents?
Why was Remote Agent chosen to go on DS1?
How does a remote agent work?

What are the dangers of remote agents?
Why don't we just send astronauts on deep space trips?
Why is it important for spacecraft to be autonomous?
How does Remote Agent enable missions to take advantage of unexpected science opportunities?