Future Environmental Threats, let’s see…….

Reynard the Fox Red Fox was introduced in Australia from Europe in 1855 for recreational purposes – mainly for hunting. Its scientific name is Vulpes vulpes. But what happened afterwards is that, it turned to a predator. Predator of native animals and livestocks – an invasive species!!

Scientists in Australia have developed a virus to control the red fox – genetically engineered virus. The virus will infect and sterilise the fox. It is yet to release into the wild. But does this novelty means a solution or points to a potential future threats to the environment if it spreads beyond the target population. This could be a B-I-G question. Whatever it is, Newscientist puts it in the list of future environmental threats – one point among the 25 potential threats to our environment in future.

Last year corn production was amazingly high. Reason? – Biofuel. It’s an alternative energy source. But this has caused a rise in food price and more and more farmers have joined the caravan for corn production. Obviously it brings more money than traditional crops. But who will bear the consequences – it’s the mass population. It is not happening right at the moment but if this trend goes on, it will hit the local food supply. It’s another point in the list.

What about marine ecosystem. Offshore wind and wave power generation can be a future environmental threat as well. Artificial intelligence, the biomimetic robots, can be a potential threat and might eventually being categorized as invasive species like the red fox. Biomimetic robots means robots that look alike animals such as humans or insects or any other animals, and having sensory ‘organs’ (of course artificial). These could have a far-reaching impact on humans and on the whole ecosystem in general.

But whatever concerns, research should not stop due to fear of future threats, rather research should include it as part of the work. May be we really don’t need robots in our everyday life. Earth is becoming full of human species. There is enough work force available. Leaving this potential work force behind and looking for an artificial alternative can not be the outcome of superior human intelligence. In some cases, where it is extremely dangerous, like in some industrial units, deep sea research or in space missions robots are welcome. But do we need a robot to wash our dishes. We have to think solid and precise. Not everything is a fun. We can do this or that, does not mean we should.

A “sustainlable development” is probably the best answer of any future changes in our mentality and behaviour. But we need to explore this field more extensively alongside the scientific developments. That will be a green chapter in the book together with all the developments we have achieved so far and are going to achieve.

 

A biomimetic robot: a Fish

image source: Reynard the Fox: Wikipedia

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