In the annals of really bad ideas there is a scale. The are really bad ideas (like Microsoft Bob or Meg Ryan’s plastic surgery) and then there are really really really bad ideas. This story most definitely fits into the latter category.
Now, regular readers of this feature are aware that Matthew and I are always warning about the potential for robot inventions to go terribly terribly wrong. Well, this robot idea starts out terribly terribly wrong and then invents it’s own new and trademarked avenue for apocalyptic suckiness.
Now someone, Brit James Auger to be precise, has done the unthinkable. He has created robots that power themselves by feeding on…FLESH! No, I am not making that up. No, I am not exaggerating. The robots actually digest mice and flies to power themselves so that they can attract more mice and flies to power themselves further.
The question here is not what could go wrong but rather what could possibly go right.
Futuristic-looking robots like Honda’s sleek humanoid Asimo don’t cut it for designer James Auger, at the Royal College of Art, London. Believing that they need to fit unobtrusively into the home, he has built robotic furniture. And, believing they need to be useful and entertaining, he has given the furniture an appetite for vermin, like mice and flies.
But the robots also have a taste for flesh. They can gain energy by chomping on flies and mice, an idea inspired by researchers at Bristol Robotics Lab, UK, who built a fly-powered robot and have also suggested that marine robots could feed on plankton.
“As soon as there is a predatory robot in the room the scene becomes loaded with potential,”
Loaded with potential you say. I agree. Loads of potential…for the robot. What happens when there are no more mice or flies around, huh? What is the potential then?
First it’ll be hamsters and kittens. But pretty soon we are all merely hairless batteries hooked up to a giant computer dependent on bad actors in leather and latex to rescue us while being chased by Hugo Weavings. Thanks, but no thanks. Been there, done that.