Ethical Robot Fish

Researchers at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University have been studying the dynamics of fish schooling behavior and how it can be influenced. Their published results suggest that robotic fish can “steer” a school of fish in a desired direction.

Fish by themselves only display the most simple of ethical behavior (basic survival of self) and probably rely mostly on pre-programmed instincts instead of actual ethical analysis of a situation. A robot leader fish could be programmed to offer a school of fish a more advanced level of ethical behavior.

The ability to influence groups of animals with robotic or animal android (animaloid?) leaders can be expanded and used in many productive ways. A more interesting proposition will be investigating and applying the same techniques to humans. When our ethical advisor agents become as commonplace as spell checkers, the ethical level of the human species is likely to increase.

Real Fish Welcome Robotic Overlord Into Their School – [wired.com]

To help investigate the dynamics of fish schooling, Marras and Porfiri designed a robot inspired by Notemigonus crysoleucas, a species of Golden shiner. The plastic-covered robofish was twice the size of the real fish but mimicked its back-and-forth tail motion.

When the researchers plopped single Golden shiners into a water tunnel meant to simulate a stream-like current, each fish swam in school-like positions near their robotic counterparts for several minutes (video below).

Want Consensus? Look to Fish – [poly.edu]

A flock of birds. A school of fish. An army of ants. Glance at these groupings and they appear to move in unison effortlessly. Take a closer look and you’ll see an intricate symphony of leaders and followers, cues and signals, consensus building and decision-making.

Nicole Abaid, a PhD student in the Polytechnic Institute of New York University’s (NYU-Poly) Mechanical Engineering program, is helping to better understand how agents (the bird, the fish or the ant) in such systems influence the collective actions of the group. Scientists and engineers can use the information to protect animals by steering them away from hazards like an oil spill by introducing a robotic animal to the group that mimics the movements of its natural counterpart.

SEE ALSO:
Ethical Advisors

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