Meet Goldy, the Neurological Researcher

Wait, what?

No really: just wait until you see what they’re doing with your kid’s fishbowl.

This actually relates to the “Headline of the Week” in this week’s newsletter:

Self-Driving Cars Arriving Just in Time
Ben-Gurion University Researchers
Teach Goldfish to Drive

Jerusalem Post headline

Of Course You Want to Know why Israeli researchers are teaching goldfish how to drive.

May not be an accurate representation of the research. (Car: Clker-Free-Vector-Images, Fish: OpenClipart-Vectors, both via Pixabay. Overall composition: RC.)

Let’s start with how.

“The goldfish were placed in a camera-operated motorized vehicle across several different sides of a room and had to reach a target area marked by a red line.”

Of course the first thing to know is, can they see a red line from across the room? (Apparently!)

And have reason to go there? That is, the reward? (Food, of course, but then how do you get that across to a being that’s so often flushed down a toilet?!)

But then again, the university posted the study on Twitter, complete with a video, which is worth a watch…

…so I think the real reward isn’t for the fish, but for the researchers: a retweet. 7,100 as of this writing. And 15,500+ likes.

They (the goldfish) “were able to operate the vehicle, explore the new environment and reach the target, regardless of the starting point, all while avoiding dead-ends and correcting location inaccuracies,” the authors said.

OK, but Still, Where’s the Why?

Not until almost at the end: “The way space is represented in the fish brain and the strategies it uses may be as successful in a terrestrial environment as they are in an aquatic one,” they said. “This hints at universality in the way space is represented across environments.”

I don’t know about you, but that’s not really enough for me. See what you can fish out of the article in the JPost, and let me know what you get out of it.

Bald-faced humorous lies are, of course, completely acceptable.

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8 Comments on “Meet Goldy, the Neurological Researcher

  1. Clearly self driving cars are way too scary for most people to even contemplate. Now Goldfish driving cars are the bowl of the future!

  2. I think the real agenda is that they are grooming the next generation of Israeli politicians. In case you are too young to remember, one of their more successful Prime Ministers was a goldfish. Golda Meir.

  3. The first thing that struck me was, why do they have a lidar on a camera controlled device?

    The link in the tweet seems to say that the lidar is to stop the fish crashing into walls. Maybe. I think it’s more likely that they are training fish to outsmart lidar. In the not too distant future we will probably see self driving cars come equipped with little fish tanks to help get out of traffic jams in ways that lidar cannot.


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