Children love to tear bugs limb from limb. Eventually, however, the rush of sadism gives way to the pity one has for the lifeless form crumbled beneath their hands. The fragility of life, the small plane between being and nothingness has been revealed to the young individual and they turn to the heavens and reflect on the next few decades of struggling to accept their demise... Or they forget all that and strap on an electrode and control the insect's body through a cell phone App.
The Backyard Brains company has released a new device that allows children to strap on an electronic backpack to a cockroach and control its movements through instructions sent on a cellular phone. For the backpack to be placed on the cockroach, the cockroach must be placed in icy water before the child sandpapers its head, removing most of its shell.
Then children glue an electrode onto its exposed head and use a needle to put a hole through its body where they then insert a wire. Essentially, the cockroach is dead at that point. But wait! The child then cuts off their antennae and electrodes are inserted into its brain, giving it full control over its body. All for science, claims the company.
A spokeswoman told the BBC that the App and device is meant to help children learn about neuroscience. It's not meant to encourage gleeful nascent sociopaths from indulging their darkest desires.
Queen's University philosophy Professor Michael Allen told the BBC that the device would "encourage amateurs to operate invasively on living organisms" and "encourage thinking of complex living organisms as mere machines or tools."
But aren't organisms just imperfect machines, awaiting the technological Disruption that solves the problem of death once and for all?