Peter Plantec, a consultant in virtual human design and animation, and initiator of the “Sylvie” project — the first commercially available virtual human interface, has proposed that a virtual astronaut should be sent in the space.
“In a sense, our space probes are a kind of virtual human,” Plantec says. “They are very sophisticated. They have to make decisions on their own…not many, but some. It’s a very primitive stage of virtual human technology.”
Plantec envisions a partnership between human space voyagers and virtual astronauts. “We humans are fairly limited characters. We are very good at soft responses…but not very good at high-speed, highly complex responses. And that’s what virtual humans are really great at. That’s their deal,” he noted.
A virtual human could be set up to monitor highly complex systems in real time. It can interface with the human sojourner, easing that person’s workload, Plantec advised, by monitoring onboard systems and automatically make whatever critical adjustments it has been authorized to do.