Robobees & the Future


Should we create a new world with technology or preserve the life around us?

Greenpeace created a darkly satirical video about “NewBees,” exploring a dystopic future where we replace dying species with robotic creatures.

Greenpeace explained the video, linking these fictional “robobees” to corporate interests:

If we carry on with chemically intensive agriculture model, it is quite possible that we may affect our pollinating insects to such a degree that we reach a global “pollination crisis.” This is the imaginary future we do not want. This future where bees and the biodiversity they help maintain, have finally fallen victim to chemically intensive industrial agriculture. So, here is the question: should we create a new world or save our own?

Are you scared of this kind of robotic future?

On Reddit, the video provoked a sprawling debate about how we should handle ecology and our future on the planet. One reader wrote: “Greenpeace asks, ‘Should we create a new world or save our own?,’ in stunning new video depicting robotic bees. I ask, why don’t we do both?”

Another reader had this comment:

Maybe that speaks to how wide the gulf between ideologies can be sometimes. It literally provoked no negative emotions at all, like the creators and I have completely different value judgments. I had no clue this ad was supposed to scare me or make me feel unease. It’s like showing an ad for genetically engineered crops… it makes me think we’re making technical advances that can help us overcome the sometimes-irreversible damage we’ve done to our own ecosystem.

The video was meant to encourage people to sign a petition to save the bees:

Bees and other pollinating insects play an essential role in ecosystems. A third of all our food depends on their pollination. A world without pollinators would be devastating for food production. Who would pollinate all the crops? Hand-pollination is extremely labour-intensive, slow and expensive. The economic value of bees’ pollination work has been estimated around € 265 billion annually, worldwide. So, also from a purely economic point of view, it pays to protect the bees. Insecticides in particular pose the most direct risk to pollinators. As their name indicates, these are chemicals designed to kill insects, and they are widely applied in the environment, mostly around cropland areas.

What do you think? You can watch the complete video here:

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