Re Robot With Bacteria Brain Stalks Food, Is Your Worst Nightmare
This whole idea definitely gets my sci-fi motor running; it sounds like a potential setup for a Marvel superhero's origin story. The robot get zapped with some kind of extraterrestrial lightning bolt, and a feedback loop causes it to merge with the human scientist nearby, turning him part-man, part-robot, and part-microbe (well, more microbe than the 90% he already is), with psychic powers. In seriousness, it reminds one how far we've come since the days when just throwing 'nano'-this or 'micro'-that into any sentence made it sound sci-fi - now, that's the reality. Looking at the video, I can recognize some of the devices, processes, and terms at work, but others are way over my head. These researchers are combining new developments in robotics, AI, etc., and peeking into the next level.
The stories you linked, Dave, are a nice primer for a topic it appears we still have a lot to learn about. I got curious and took a longer look at the article about toxoplasma gondii, and it looks like quite a rabbit hole. It mentions large camps of skeptics and doubters who avoid the research just on principle (re: because it's unsettling). That article is from 2012 - I wonder how much has changed since then? The article on stomach bacteria (which is from just last year) still uses lots of 'may's 'might's and 'could's. Like many areas of the human brain, it seems a lot of inference is still used to predict *how* something happens. This robot could be a great step towards filling in those blanks.