For many years, science has attempted to develop machines to mimic everything from human thought patterns to human behaviors, with ever-increasing levels of success. The goal is to find new and exciting ways to understand not only technology, but also ourselves. The thing is, when you get right down to it, we humans are sort of awful.
Here are some emerging technologies suggesting that we might just be fast approaching the technological asshole-arity -- that theoretical point in time when our machines become bigger dicks than we are.
5 They Created a Robotic Bully to Harass Rats
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Rats are the go-to animal for testing treatments for human maladies because their biological and behavioral makeup resembles humans' way more than you'd think, and also because ew, rats. Even the staunchest PETA-head's convictions get all wobbly when the animal in question is just plain fucking gross. But let's say what you're testing is a new treatment for depression -- how are you supposed to test something like that when all of your subjects are chipper little filth spreaders?
Well, you whip yourself up some depressed rats, that's how. Typically, this is accomplished by severing the rats' sense of smell or forcing them to swim for cruelly long periods of time, but some researchers at Waseda University in Tokyo found that this just wasn't quite achieving true "Hot Topic Shopper" levels of depression. Enter their new brainchild, the WR-3 -- a tiny robot designed to be an asshole to rats:
Takanishi Lab/Waseda University via New Scientist
Representing the cutting edge of solid-state douchebaggery.
Much like that kid you went to school with who was perpetually half a foot too tall to be in your grade, this robotic nose-twitcher's sole purpose is to make the lives of its companions a living hell. It constantly harasses rats in an attempt to push them closer and closer to using their freakishly oversized front teeth to carve a cheese-based suicide note, without ever quite pushing them over the edge. The researchers found that the best method to achieve bona fide, Grade A, fuck-my-life depression is for the bully bot to attack an adult rat intermittently, after harassing it nonstop as it grew up.
In other words, science successfully programmed a machine to learn the exact pattern of dickishness required to ruin the mental and emotional well-being of a living organism. Thanks in advance, science! There's certainly no way that's going to be used against us in the future.
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"I know now why you cry. It's because you're a little bitch."