The internet archives abound with videos of space rocket launches and shots of the interior of the International Space Station. What’s been missing were videos of spacecrafts falling down to earth. Until recently, high definition video cameras needed a human operator, and most returns of spacecrafts return from orbit were empty.
Portable video recorders like GoPro are a game-changer in this respect. On June 5, SpaceX released a GoPro video shot from the inside of a Falcon 9 rocket as it hurtled back to earth, set to the Blue Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss II.
As background music, the Blue Danube Waltz has a curious pedigree: it was featured extensively in Stanley Kubrick’s scifi classic, “2001, A Space Odyssey,” a film that has thematic resonance with one of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s deepest concerns: the threat of artificial intelligence.
In the film, the computer system Hal 9000 goes rogue on the human pilots of the Discovery One, tricking one astronaut to leave the spacecraft with false reports of an antennae malfunction, then murdering him by severing his oxygen tank in outer space.
In recent months, Elon Musk has spoken repeatedly of the need to conduct research on how to make artificial intelligences, which he believes will only day surpass humanity in intellect, “friendly” to its flesh-and-blood creators.
Worth reading Superintelligence by Bostrom. We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 3, 2014
It’s unclear if Musk choose the soundtrack for the GoPro video, although history shows that the CEO has often taken a hands-on approach in marketing his companies’ achievements. In Ashlee Vance new biography of Musk, time after time the SpaceX founder hectors on his engineers to make minute changes on prototypes to be displayed at the expos and other media events.