The London Aquarium's latest attraction is a display of robotic fish. The fish, designed around carp, are very lifelike and can swim around their tank all by themselves. From the article:
Future generations may be used for seabed explorations, detection of leaks in oil pipelines, or even as spies.That's all well and good, but I think they are missing out on much better potential applications. What if they became fully autonomous and we're released into the oceans? They could be armed with weapons and used to patrol beaches, keeping away sharks, armed dolphins, and fat hairy men in Speedos.
What if they were built so lifelike that you couldn't tell they weren't real. They could fill aquariums with them and you'd never know the difference. We could pollute our rivers, lakes and oceans beyond repair, and just stock them with robofish. If we could do the same with lifelike robotic animals, there would be no need for conservation.
Think of it: 20 years from now, you could go to a zoo, and the animals would really be lifelike robots, and you'd never know the difference. Just like the first time you went to the Hall of Presidents, and had no idea that wasn't really Grover Cleveland up there, on display like a performing pony. I actually knew then I never wanted to be president, as you spent your retirement performing for overweight tourist with dirty sticky children.
The robofish will be named by local schoolchildren in a contest. The current favorites are "Fishinator 5000", "Extremerobotfish.com", and "Steve".