Scientists create remote-controlled rats

Oh, I want one of these! Where can I get one?

Anyone wanna take bets on how long it will be before we hear about another Richard Gere “incident”? :wink:

It sounds kinda oogy/weird to me. But that was a really cute little rat!

3,700-mile-long ant colonies, “mice-stronauts”, and now roborats

It’s a weird, weird world we live in.

Well, all I can say is if they send one of those critters to find my ass, they’d better get on a loudspeaker and let me know it’s comin’. I have a pathological fear of rats.


And, how long before somebody does this to a human being?
Throughout history, if a thing can be done, somebody has done it.

Everything that this rat can do, could be done by a real robot, without opening up the abuse possibilities.
So, how long before some bored, abusive, cynical judge or legislator decides this is a good idea?

This is nothing to celebrate.

I don’t really see a major ethical problem, we’ve been training animals to do things they wouldn’t normally do for centuries. Dog trainers use verbal or audio commands (like whistles and clickers) to get the dog to move in a particular way, and food reward for a job well done. The wiring in the rat is just a different mode of communication from human to animal.

It’s totally different than training an animal to do a task. Animals that are trained have the “free will”, so to speak, to choose not to do something, even after they’ve been trained or conditioned to do it. This is taking any self-determination away from teh animals. There is a big difference between choosing to do something (even if you have a gun to your head, you still have the choice of whether you want to take a certain action) and being made to do it without any way to defer action.


If I recall, the Japanese akready did the same thing with cockroaches.

It still paints an interesting picture. Will the remote-controlled cars that kids play with be replaced by hyped-up radio-controlled rats? Kids running them around race tracks… setting up ramps for jumping, and of course the inevitable demilition derby.

[sub]oh i’m so going to hell for that one[/sub]

Not to split hairs, but as I understand it, the electrodes stimulate three sections: the pleasure/reward center of the brain, the left wiskers sensation nerve, and the right wiskers sensation nerve. If you stimulate the pleasure center of the rat, he runs. If you stimulate the right wiskers, he turns left. If you stimulate the left wiskers, he turns right. Insofar as the rat itself could make decisions, it can still do so. It’s just receiving different input now.

Kinda like putting a well-built, scantily-clad woman on that cigarette billboard. That stimulates the pleasure center of the male brain. It doesn’t force the man to buy the cigarettes.

Nonsense. If we want to abandon every technology that has the potential for abuse, we’d better just go back to living in trees and eating bugs out of each other’s hair.

The potential life saving and medical benefits of this technology far outweigh the possibility of some science fiction zombie scenario.

I think Cheney implanted one of these in Dubya’s head, but they cut out a few bits in the operation. Oh well, not that bad for a first try…