Of rats and English-speaking men?

This is an airy story. The New Scientist recently reported the following:

An array of rat brain cells has successfully flown a virtual F-22 fighter jet. The cells could one day become a more sophisticated replacement for the computers that control uncrewed aerial vehicles or, in the nearer future, form a test-bed for drugs against brain diseases such as epilepsy

Even more recently, .MIT news reported:

Aeronautics researchers at MIT have developed a manned-to-unmanned aircraft guidance system that allows a pilot in one plane to guide another unmanned airplane by speaking commands in English. In a flight test, the guidance system performed flawlessly in flight tests involving a Boeing F-15 fighter jet and a Lockheed T-33 trainer fighter jet at Edwards Air Force Base in June. The pilotless vehicle (…) responded to sudden changes in plan and avoided unexpected threats en route to its destination, in real time.

Uncrewed, unmanned – we soon won’t need a word for these planes piloted by the brains cells of Rattus Rattus. Maybe RR could be be taught to type virtual English as well, and take over this blog.


Andrew Joscelyne
European, a language technology industry watcher since Electric Word was first published, sometime journalist, consultant, market analyst and animateur of projects. Interested in technologies for augmenting human intellectual endeavour, multilingual méssage, the history of language machines, the future of translation, and the life of the digital mindset.

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