• Question: Mike in your research do you ever harm animals and if so what good comes of because you shouldn't harm animals for no reason???

    Asked by sumners1235 to Anil, Blanka, Cees, Emma, Mike on 29 Jun 2012.
    • Photo: Michael Cook

      Michael Cook answered on 29 Jun 2012:

      I don’t harm animals in my research – like a lot of Computer Science all of our research is done programming and on machines.

      However, I have met researchers involved in games who use animals. Some developed a videogame that visitors to a zoo could play. The games would activate different machines inside an enclosure so that the animals could be played with (if they wanted to be)! I’ve also seen research which watched animals moving around a maze and made them appear inside a game so players could play against them.

      I agree with you that harming animals for no reason is bad. But I think animal research and testing can be a great thing, saving huge numbers of peoples’ lives and helping us protect humans (and animals, in some cases!) in the future.

    • Photo: Blanka Sengerova

      Blanka Sengerova answered on 29 Jun 2012:

      My obvious thought was Mike doesn’t come anywhere near animals because of his work being involved in coding. so i was interested to hear that some computer scientists DO actually work with animals…

    • Photo: Emma Trantham

      Emma Trantham answered on 29 Jun 2012:

      I had assumed computer scientists wouldn’t be involved with animal research too so this question/answer has taught me loads.

      As Mike showed with his zoo example, a lot of animal research is actually done to help animals. We don’t always know what kind of conditions they will like the best: we have to actually try different conditions out and see which they prefer. This is another part of ‘animal research’ but a very important one.

      You are right though, we should never harm animals for no reason.