Robophobic #22 - Cyborg Cockroaches to the Rescue?

This engineer on The Takeaway podcast insists that science can't make insect-sized robots to take on missions that require itty bitty remote-controlled automatons (yet). Unfortunately, I still won't be sleeping at night, 'cause they're building cyborg cockroaches to get the dirty little jobs done instead...

"We have benefited from the muscle power of animals," says Alper Bozkurt, assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University. "Now we are looking at the same strategy, using cockroaches to carry our payloads for us." Using precise electrical stimulation, researchers can give the cy-bugs visions that lead them around like Jor-El in Man of Steel. The plan is to fit the creepy crawlers with equipment to help detect radiation leaks in reactors, find survivors after disasters, and other heart-warming stuff like that.

Uh-huh. Two words:
Military. Applications.

Besides the obvious espionage and surveillance uses, I'm sure the capability to carry tiny explosives into sensitive places or spread weaponized biological payloads in terrorist camps sounds pretty sweet right now to our drone-war-obsessed military. The "ethics" do not concern me at all. How long before the government points hallucinating weaponized insects at the hood on some Patriot Act shit. Only a matter of time before Dallas PD is buying laser-fitted cyborg water bugs at the Pentagon Garage Sale, know what I mean?
And I don't even want to THINK about the fact that swarms of these "beautiful creatures" (yeah, Bozkurt is one lab accident away from being a Spider-Man villain) will be controlled by computers, not by human handlers. No way THAT can go wrong...
Ugh... I'm feeling pretty robophobic right now. Click here for more of my pop-culture-fueled paranoia.

Samax Amen draws people, places and things for fun and profit. He is the artist of many great comics you never heard of like Herman Heed, Champion of Children, The Brother and The World As You Know It. He even writes and draws his own comics, like Dare: The Adventures of Darius Davidson, Spontaneous, and Manchild when he gets around to it. Because making comics is hard and stuff, he started GhettoManga as a blog in 2006 and as a print magazine in 2008. 
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