Said Rand Paul, and Princeton professor Iain Couzin protests.
It's not goldfish, it's golden shiner fish. And: "Our work aims to understand the principles of collective control in animal groups and what this can inform us about collective robotics. It has nothing at all to do with human politics."
"If you think about it, schools of fish have been on the planet for much longer than we have and they’ve evolved to find solutions to problems. They can sense the environments in ways that we simply didn’t know how to do that.... From ant colonies to schooling fish, it’s not that complicated but the feats they can achieve are extraordinary. The collective of a whole can solve problems in ways individuals cannot."I'm glad he mentioned the ants, because if there is one tag that I love to get the opportunity to use on a blog post, it's "insect politics." The tag is based on the 1986 movie "The Fly," in which a scientific experiment — which I doubt Rand Paul would vote to fund — merged a scientist with a fly. Toward the bitter end, the fly/scientist — played by Jeff Goldblum — started raving about insect politics:
Have you ever heard of insect politics? Neither have I. Insects... don't have politics. They're very... brutal. No compassion, no compromise. We can't trust the insect. I'd like to become the first... insect politician. Y'see, I'd like to, but... I'm afraid, uh...But now, apparently, the human politicians are funding not just insect politics but fish politics (and robots!). I'd love to see a movie called "The Fish," in which Jeff Goldblum does a science experiment that turns him into a crazy, raving Goldblum/Goldfish* and rants about fish politics.
Or... oh, wait!... was that already a movie with Don Knotts? "The Incredible Mr. Limpet"! Knotts is a little man who tries to enlist in the Navy in 1941. Rejected, he wanders down a pier, falls into the water, and turns into a fish. As a fish, he's able to join the Navy, and he helps locate and torpedo Nazi submarines. How do you like that, you doubter of science, Senator Paul?
Ah, but Mr. Limpet was a heroic individual superfish, and Professor Couzin is interested in fish because of the way they act in the collective. Typical left-wing elite university ideology. The value of studying fish is that they've evolved past individualism. They give us a way to look at how the collective of a whole can solve problems in ways individuals cannot. But this has nothing at all to do with human politics. This is about collective robotics. Nothing to worry about here. The collective. Robots. Nothing to do with humans.
*Yes, I know. It's not goldfish, it's golden shiner fish. That makes me think of a movie too.