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Would a new space race be good for humanity? Submit your argument for our AI debate series.


Satellite in outer space

As the Distinguished Engineer and CTO for Space Tech at IBM, I think about space a lot, as we enter the new space age. And I don’t think I’m alone in my thoughts. Space innovation and exploration has always been inspiring for humanity. From the time most of us were kids, we’ve asked questions about space: “Are we alone in this universe? Are there other habitable planets in our galaxy? How can we send probes to deep space? How do we get to Mars?”

The need to answer these questions – and more—is driving innovation in the space industry in new and exciting ways. This year alone we’ve seen vast activities in the space industry all the way from launching mega constellations in space to providing broad band connectivity, to the first private crewed spacecraft to reach the ISS and three different nations launching probes and rovers’ missions to Mars. My team even open sourced two new projects – Space Situational Awareness and Kubesat – to take on some of the issues facing space exploration. This rapid expansion of the private commercial companies, public-private partnerships and advancements in technology are defining a new landscape of the coming space era.

I’m always thinking about opportunities in space and new ways to push the boundaries of what we understand about the galaxy. So, I was excited to see that space is the topic of a new debate series called “That’s Debatable”. The series is facilitated by natural language processing from IBM Watson, which analyzes crowd-sourced arguments to provide insight into the global public opinion.

The next episode’s debate theme is “A U.S.-China space race is good for humanity.”

While a space race with another country would undoubtedly be multifaceted with various implications, it will be interesting to hear expert perspectives on how countries can push the boundaries of science and technology, as they prepare to take on:

  • New, private spaceflights for space tourism
  • Missions like going back to the moon (and staying!)
  • Interplanetary voyages to Mars for human exploration
  • Building new space stations

It will be interesting to hear them discuss what technologies will become important in a space race. There will be a push for new technologies ranging from AI for Earth and deep space observation, to hardware and software platforms for building the next generation of satellites, spacecrafts, rovers, landers, gateways and space stations. And, of course, open source technology for space projects will play a crucial role in enabling collaboration across all sectors, academic institutions, and countries.

Just imagine the possibilities for space and science exploration and expeditions. This debate could inspire the next generation of space innovators and explorers on both side of the globe. The sky is not the limit!

So, what do you think? We want to hear from you!

We need your help. As you know, AI only works when it has access to an abundance of data—and so we need thousands of pro-con arguments submitted from around the world. Discourse is better when we include diverse opinions, so that the arguments truly reflect the “voice of the people.” Submit your arguments so that the debater (AI and human) can take sides.

Submit your argument

Join in the discussion by submitting a short argument for or against the motion through October 18 at www.ibm.com/debatable.

Watch That’s Debatable

Then tune into “That’s Debatable” on November 6 to see a debate fueled in part by your submission.