(Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction slightly based on real-world news and events)
Recently, the scientific community was surprised by studies in which small fish showed signs of self-awareness and self-recognition. These signs are usually associated with some degree of intelligence. Scientists are debating two major questions due to the discovery: is the test enough proof of self-awareness? And, what does the future of humankind will be in partnership with our water-friends?
Regarding the test, some universities are already employing more advanced mechanisms to test the animal’s brains. A small research group from California has conducted research to allow sea animals to “play” games using a grid of light sources as joystick inputs and a big TV screen with simple games for kids, such as the famous Tetris and Pong. However, the gaming community is protesting that those games are otherwise very complex and surely not for kids.
On the other hand, a psychology research group from Utrecht, in the Netherlands, discusses the impacts of sentient fish and how it affects their well-being. Moreover, there are branches of the research on fish therapy that encompasses Freudian-projects (“what’s the concept of fish parenting and sex?”), Behaviourism-projects (“bomb-fish?”), Jungian-projects (“zodiac for fish and the sign of Pisces”), among others. Jung Eman, an interviewed researcher from the university, said that “studying (fish) will allow humanity to reach a new level on self-understanding.”
“You can taste the difference in intelligence. A simple sea bream with two or three weeks of pre-school training tastes almost like chicken, compared to its uneducated companions.”
Following the success of the scientific discovery, a start-up in São Paulo, Brazil, provides clients with a variety of “smart fish dishes” where you can eat a delicious dish made of fishes of your chosen IQ. The core idea is that people can experience the nuances in taste that the fish-fillet has according to how developed the fish brain is. “You can taste the difference in intelligence. A simple sea bream with two or three weeks of pre-school training tastes almost like chicken, compared to its uneducated companions”, said the entrepreneur Marcelo Peixoto. The restaurant is completely full all week long, requiring clients to make reservations up to a month ahead. It also has long queues in front of the building where customers can see the education aquaria, in which fish are taught pre-school, school, and even high-school classes. There are, indeed, plans to introduce university-level teaching for the fish.
In Sweden, an old and famous tradition of Surströmming, the fermented fish, has received negative criticism from the Fish-Rights Movements, declaring that the fish are “knowingly being condemned to rot eternally in a can,” a phrase later used by a South African Slam Brutal Death Metal band Fishosectomy, as their debut album title.
If you are curious to know what will happen next, keep on following this thread. The News from the Future Journal will update it as soon as discoveries and announcements are made on this topic.
Update 1: Breakthrough research has been done on the topic of Smart Fish. A university in China has proved that fish can also learn and communicate with humans using a newly discovered technology that uses lights and grids to create a conversation-environment. It is very similar to the Californian scheme of fish players. Still, it introduces the concept of Fish-Language-Camera (FLC), a smart camera trained using Machine Learning Algorithms that translates the fish movements into words. “The main problem with the previous iterations was that we wanted to create a unique language between man and fish, but we found out that fish talk through gestures and listen through light,” explained Shi Fei, the research head professor. When asked about the FLC technology, the scientist answered that the complex mechanism was entirely made using Neural Networks and Deep Learning, subfields of Artificial Intelligence. No one can understand them — we can only use its results.
As expected, the first phrase exchanged by humans and fish was, “Can you understand me?”. After a long first communication between species, the animal started to question simple questions such as “when is it time to eat?”.
The new technology brought Fish Studies, as it is called now, to a new level, and the prospect of humans and fish-holding hands and gills is definitely closer.
Update 2: A recent paper published by the International Scientific Reports in Fish Studies journal unraveled a lengthy list of discoveries made using Chinese fish-communication technology. The list includes the new category of e-sports for aquarium-dwellers, Fisheudian psychology, and Aquatic Music (the recently announced Underwater Compatible Spotify version). But the most acclaimed one is the new Cerebral Amplifier Research Program (CARP) announced by the Submarine Universal Scientific and Humanitarian Institute (SUSHI), an international organization focused on Fish Studies.
The CARP wants to overcome the fish brain's limitations and allow the submarine creatures to achieve human-like intelligence. “In fact, as proposed by the initial studies, fish are capable of some levels of intelligence, but their brains are very limited and incapable of grasping more complex human concepts,” said Dr. Herr Fischemann, leader of the program. Recent results allowed a group of wrasses to access the internet and browse through learning websites, such as the Wikipédia and Yahoo Answers. Allegedly, the animals were already questioning about World History and the concept of Memes.
Update 3: The CARP initiative proved a controversial success. On the one hand, the wrasses were able to learn at a fast pace about History, Geography, Mathematics, and other school subjects. They successfully proved some simple mathematical theorems. However, one of the fish argued that they would never be able to use Sine and Cosine in a real-world situation. However, all subjects were deemed addicted to social media. The FinBook website noted the most impact, a social network to connect submarine creatures from all over the water bodies around the globe.
Although humans themselves are also addicted to the internet phenomenon, some fish started to deny scientific research in the light of fake news spread on the FinBook websites alike. The biggest hoaxes known currently are different oceans' existence, and if the “surface” is real or not. As “surface,” they mean the non-water environment in which humans live.
Update 4: You can forget everything you’ve read so far. It was all based on lies. Aquatic beings have always been intelligent, and there was never something as humans or the surface. These are lies created by the media to force us, hard workers, into a communist regime! We won’t allow it to happen!!
[Last Update Written by Searbius F., new Head of the Future of the News Journal and proud Catfish, father of 300 and Swimming Coach].