It’s the Matrix, but for locusts.

From Tom Scott.

At the Department of Collective Behaviour, part of the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, researchers are putting locusts into simulated worlds, both virtual and physical, in the hope that they can figure out how devastating swarms form and move. ■ About the Centre:

Edited by Michelle Martin
Thanks to David Walter for the suggestion

This is the most uncomfortable I’ve ever felt while filming, for a few reasons. First, of course, because of the locust swarm itself. Second, because animal research — even on creatures as simple and pestilent as locusts — always raises ethical questions. Now, the researchers are careful with the locusts, and I don’t think many people could have a problem with this. Indeed, most of the world currently has zero ethical restrictions on insect experimentation — but it’s still worth interrogating whether this is okay. And finally: because if we can do this so easily to less intelligent creatures… what’s to stop something more intelligent coming along and doing the same to us?

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