Could Robots Take The Place Of Animals?

Of course I’m not asking about in general – there will always be a special bond between man and animal, a synergy if you will that will always be devoid of the experience between man and machine. Perhaps it is the difference between actually having a living and breathing life versus looking things up on your hard drive.

Anyway, what I’m referring to here is the idea that two US government agencies are looking at using robots in tests rather than animals – at least in a lot of cases. Not only is this ethically sound, but the robots could well have a higher success rate – something that doesn’t irritate an animal’s flesh could still affect a human being.

Details of the idea were published in the journal of Science and discussed at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Boston. To me, this actually seems a genuine step forward in the right direction.

Part of the setup of the use of robots and high speed testing could well see the use of individual cells rather than animals – reducing the attrition rate and of course giving quicker feedback. I’ve no doubt that we’ll probably not see an end to animal testing per se – but this is certainly a huge step forward in the humane treatment of the creatures we share the planet with.

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