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.
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…
I am excited to share a new study led by Shachar Givon & @MatanSamina w/ Ohad Ben Shahar: Goldfish can learn to navigate a small robotic vehicle on land. We trained goldfish to drive a wheeled platform that reacts to the fish’s movement (https://t.co/ZR59Hu9sib). pic.twitter.com/J5BkuGlZ34
— Ronen Segev (@ronen_segev) January 3, 2022
…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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