"HAL 9000, the chatty computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey, has come a step closer to reality," New Scientist claims.
"A team crewing NASA's Mars Desert Research Station, a simulated planetary environment in the Utah desert, has been experimenting this week with software that can talk to the crew about the status of their spacecraft's systems."
"Using wireless headsets," the article continues, "crew members ask the computer questions such as Is the generator providing power to the batteries? The computer then interrogates sensors embedded in the spacecraft systems, and provides the answer in spoken form. In this week's trials, the software dealt with simulations of a malfunctioning power system."
Next week: the crew battles inadequate refrigeration of their much-needed beer: Computer, are you providing enough refrigeration for our beer?
Soon NASA faces papal excommunication as their computer undergoes theological breakdown – it doesn't believe it was programmed at all...
Raising the question: is Artificially Intelligent architecture a form of religious heresy?
(Images courtesy of NASA. See also Mars Rover: A New Film by BLDGBLOG, Mars and its stunt double and the very, very old 'Instant City' on Mars).