Learning from other organisms

If something works, it’s probably been developed already by natural selection. So we humans can learn from other organisms.

My fellow blogger Anthropogen drew my attention to bee-brained robots. I like it that these tiny robots might prove useful as pollinators. But that shouldn’t be a substitue for fixing Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) which has been devastating hives of the honey bee (Apis mellifera) in several countries. We need real bees.

Also, as with any new technology, I’m concerned about people who might lose their jobs. Life is hard for migrant farm workers in Britain and in the States before even considering how things are in poor countries. Migrant farm workers generally aren’t employed to pollinate crops: more to harvest and pack the crops. Without pollination there’d be no crop to harvest.

Still, it’s cheering to consider that the bee-brained robot isn’t purely for use in war. This blog isn’t about war but we’ve been seeing news stories about robot spies and robot pack mules. We humans keep on learning from other organisms. Sometimes the outcomes are benign.


About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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