Can genetics to make animals smarter?

Advances in neural implants and genetic engineering suggest that in the near future we will be able to enhance human intelligence. For example. If we succeed, if we should take the brothers with you? The improvement of the human brain is becoming a more discussed topic. Neuroscientist, Duke University’s Mikhail Lebedev said in July that it may take several decades before neural interfaces that enhance the brain will get used outside the medical field. However, he believes that these technologies, as well as pharmacology and genetic engineering will almost certainly enable us to improve our mental abilities.

Cognitive improvements Good or bad, and how we regulate them, these questions should be answered by philosophers, futurologists and bioethics. There is also the question whether we should use cognitive enhancements for the treatment of animals. The possibilities are striking.

Scientists at mit have discovered that mice that were genetically modified for the expression of the FOXP2, the human gene responsible for the education and treatment of speech, faster passed the maze. Another group of Wake forest University, studying Alzheimer’s disease, found that neural implants can enhance evaluation of a rhesus monkey during a test on intelligence.

The concept of “raising animals” is best known from the movie “planet of the apes”. But proponents of less downbeat about the results.

Science fiction writer David Brin popularized this concept in the series of novels “the Rise” where people share the world with other animals and all spread the unique skills, perspectives and innovations to the table. “After several hundred years the benefits are amazing,” said the author in an interview.

Others, such as George Dvorsky Institute for ethics and emerging technologies, I believe that there is a moral imperative. He said that the rejection of the use of improve technologies for animals will be as unethical as the prohibition of their use for certain groups of people.

There are third parties who do not think so. Alex Knapp of Forbes notes that the development of technologies for raising animals will require a lot of invasive studies on animals that will bring enormous suffering to the same animal, we want to help. This presents a problem with conventional animals, and how to deal with those whose cognitive abilities have already been improved?

The whole concept may also be based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of mind. People view intelligence as a single, self-contained metric, which develops linearly and at the top is the crown of man.

Kevin Kelly from Wired argues that in science there is no single scale on which you can evaluate the intelligence of different species. Each of them embraces a set of cognitive capabilities, some of which are considerably below our own, and some much higher. Protein, for example, can remember the exact location of the thousands of acorns for many years.

Attempts to enhance the intelligence of animals may eventually lead not to give our brothers smaller the mind, and to make them more humane. This represents a “kind of benevolent colonialism,” which implies that humanity is good, says Paul Graham Raven, futurist from the University of Sheffield.

There are fundamental barriers that may impede the achievement of animal cognitive abilities of a human, no matter how developed technology to increase intelligence. In 2013, Swedish scientists selectively brought little fish-guppies with large brains. Fish have become smarter, but the appearance of the energy body has led to the fact that guppies have developed a small intestine and produce less offspring.

The rise of animals may require more than just changes in the brain, you might need a complete overhaul of physiology, which can be technically more challenging than the increase in the human brain.

Our intelligence is closely linked to our evolutionary history, our brains more than any other animal; opposing thumbs allow us to use the tools; the vocal cords make it possible to complex communication. No matter how you increase the brain of the cow, it still won’t be able to use a screwdriver or tell you a joke, because she doesn’t have the right tools.

Finally, from a purely selfish point of view, even if we manage to create a level playing field for us and other animals, for humanity it might be imprudent. There is no reason to believe that animals are more friendly than we are.

Can genetics to make animals smarter?
Ilya Hel
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