Brain fish 'could be next world chess champion'

f921ae74-92cb-4a8d-8e58-74897dd1c72b

Editor's Picks
Features Post
The brightest pupils
04 October 2021
Features Post
Dealing with egg ‘fungus’
04 October 2021
Features Post
Rathbun’s tetra in the wild
13 September 2021
Fishkeeping News Post
Report: 2021 BKKS National Koi Show results
13 September 2021
Features Post
The World's forgotten fishes
16 August 2021


Researchers at Frankton University in Carolina have released details on a genetic project to create the most intelligent fish ever.

Dubbed ‘Stein’ by the doctors assigned to the project, the (un?)fortunate fish, a heavily manipulated Well’s catfish, has a brain around the same size as that of an adult human.

The fish, a giant compared to most used in research, is the result of a long line of genetic manipulations to increase ‘cranial yield’ which the doctors hope will pioneer future developments in drugs that currently cannot be tested on humans.

"What we didn’t expect was to see the level of salience", writes Professor Hans Denk, head of neuro-research at the uni. "We simply expected to enhance the volume of brain material, without increasing intellect." However, doctors at the establishment started to notice that Stein was brighter than most.

"He’s developed his own methods of communication"states Dr. Netten, who is directly responsible for Stein’s well being. "It started with simple mimicry of our own communication, nodding for yes, side to side movements for no, and since then he’s built up a colossal range of vocabulary for a fish. Comparably, this is the kind of sign language that even a bonobo couldn’t learn over its lifetime."

Researchers from other disciplines involving animal intelligence have been stunned by the results, with indignation all round. The general consensus is that Stein’s intelligence 'doesn’t count' on the grounds of his being a derivative of genetic enhancement rather than having naturally evolved.

"Personally", writes a doctor or animal linguistics who wished to remain anonymous, "I think they should just serve the damn thing up in parsely sauce and be done with it."

In the meantime, the researchers now face an ethical challenge from their creation. With this enhanced intelligence, does he qualify as a person? Opinion seems divided.

"We’re treading carefully for now," states professor Denk. "I suspect that in creating him, we now have responsibility for him. For now we’re assuming that he has the same rights as a person and are treating him accordingly."

And treat him accordingly they do. Over the last month, ‘entertainers’ have been employed for the sole purpose of keeping Stein’s colossal brain active. Through simple techniques he has already learnt the rules and strategy of chess, and the rate at which he’s progressing is currently faster than the development made with the former famed chess computer, ‘Deep Blue.’

"He’s learning fast," reports his entertainments handler. "At this rate he’ll be the world chess champion by the end of the year…"