Researchers have created a robotic link between bees and fish, allowing them to communicate with one another. If there were ever a moment in time in which I felt the Jurassic Park character Ian Malcolm were more appropriate to quote, I now throw that time aside. “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could,” said Malcolm, “they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
There’s a video here that attempts to explain why one of these animals needs to speak with the other. A new ecological connection can be made, they’ve suggested. They’ve created a set of robots for each of these groups of animals, and with said robots, connected wirelessly, they can communicate.
“We have used, for the first time, non-human animals to provide the fitness for evolutionary algorithms,” said Professor Luis Correia, University of Lisbon, Portugal. With the connection they’ve made here, they’ve started down a road that’ll lead to humans being able to better communicate with animals in the wild.
If scientists can grasp the lowest common denominators between different species of animals, they’ll eventually be able to reverse engineer and create robots that can communicate with, for example, endangered species. If we’ve got the ability to communicate with animals, we can potentially lead them away from dangers and toward survival.
“We envision robotic systems that can discover by themselves new properties of biohybrid artificial intelligence toward synthetic transitions and organic computing devices, where robots could passively evolve among animals,” said a release from the scientists involved in this project. Of course this might not all be a good thing, if this data, research, and technology goes down a dark road.
Like the road shown in either of the two currently released Blade Runner movies, where there are animals that look, feel, and act like they’re real, but they’re actually quite synthetic. Why try to keep real animals alive when we’ve got animals we can just make in a lab?
To learn more about this subject, head over to the research entitled “Robots mediating interactions between animals for interspecies collective behaviors” as published in Science Robotics, 20 Mar 2019: Vol. 4, Issue 28, eaau7897, with code DOI:10.1126/scirobotics.aau7897. This paper was authored by Frank Bonnet, Rob Mills, Martina Szopek, Sarah Schönwetter-Fuchs, et. al., and is distributed under the terms of the Science Journals Default License.
On a lighter note, the entire project above reminded me immediately of the following moment from the show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and I think you need to see it: