Scientists develop cultured rat brain-cell computers that can fly airplanes. WTF?

Scientists at the University of Florida have taken the brain cells of rats, put them together in a special electrode equipped dish, and taught them how to run a flight simulator. The brain-in-a-dish can even fly the US Air Force's F-22 Raptor, making it just about the most dangerous thing ever to come out of a rat. With the possible exception of plague. Apparently, whenever brain cells get together, they immediately start to form neural processes. Said scientist Thomas DeMarse:

"You see one extend a process, pull it back, extend it out – and it may do that a couple of times, just sampling who's next to it, until over time the connectivity starts to establish itself...[The brain is] getting its network to the point where it's a live computation device."

If I didn't know better, I'd say he was describing the junior high dating scene. But rather than acne and awkward social interaction, DeMarse's discovery could usher in an age of living computers. Which is simultaneously awesome and terrifying.

As for the rat brain-in-a-dish, I can see two possible outcomes. Either the world will shortly be ruled by rat-brained machines, or there will be a lot more F-22's nosing around the garbage bags in my back alley.


Kneel before your new rodent overlords.