Monkeys Plan World Domination
The monkeys learned to feed themselves using the robotic arm and performed subtle movements such as approaching the food with the arm so as not to knock it over. The researchers believe the animals began to regard the arm as part of their own body.
Scientists have previously taught monkeys and human subjects to control a cursor on a screen or a simple grasping hand via their brain activity, but this is the first time experimenters have demonstrated that it is possible to perform complex behavioural tasks this way.
"In our research, we've demonstrated a higher level of precision, skill and learning," said Prof Andrew Schwartz at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. "The monkey learns by first observing the movement, which activates his brain cells as if he were doing it ... like sports training, where trainers have athletes first imagine that they are performing the movements they desire."
The team, who report their research in Thursday's issue of Nature, first trained the macaque monkeys to retrieve marshmallows — a favourite treat — by using a joystick to control the prosthetic arm. Once they had mastered this, the team inserted electrodes into the animals' motor cortex and used brain signals there to control the arm's movement.
Has the whole world gone crazy? Are we the only sane ones left? Since when do monkeys get to eat marshmallows?! Let alone marshmallows plucked by a robotic arm controlled by electrodes in their own brains!! The sheer stupidity of this nonsensical atrocity, despite hiding behind the tired defense of "prosperity in the name of science", is proof that the end of the world is closer than we suspected.
If the great men and women who founded America hundreds of years ago were still alive, what would they about crap like this? Ask any one of those great founding fathers - people like Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Benjamin Franklin, or Barbara Streisand - and they would give you the same answer: "Four score and seven years ago, monkeys was swangin' from trees." Do you think that George Washington ever dreamed that monkeys with robotic arms would be eating marshmallows at our most hallowed of educational institutions?!
If we're guilty of anything here at HPO, it may be the fact that we are too traditional. But hell, he believe that every animal has its purpose on this planet: Dogs are here to be loyal companions. Otters are here to swim around on their backs and do cute little human things with their paws. Whales are here to be hunted by Japanese people. Horses are here to be turned into glue. Dolphins are here to eat balloons. Mice are here to entertain us by playing musical instruments. Lobsters are here because they are incredibly tasty and delicious. And, monkeys are here to do a variety of things, but none of them includes marshmallows or robotic arms.
So, the moral of the story is that we're all on our way to hell. We're in the express lane, and we've got the pedal to the metal. The V12 engine is overheating and spewing out fumes as we careen down that one-way highway straight to the land of fire and sulphur. Leave the monkeys and apes alone to do the things they were put on this earth to do in the first place.