There is no doubt that honey bees have the possibility of going extinct. This creates a problem that has many people scrambling since bees are responsible for pollinating most of the plants in the whole world. Many researchers have been attempting to come up with the idea of creating bee-like drones to help the bees pollinate. There are problems to this idea: drones are extremely expensive, they are ineffective, and they would be dangerous to real bees. The mistake lies in thinking technology can solve problems that nature is made and supposed to do.
The bee-drones will cost about $100 each. Each drone is controlled manually and will require a person to man it. MIT Technology Review points out, “the almond industry in California alone requires 1.8 million hives—containing around 35 billion bees”. The money to replace all these bees would be astronomical and inefficient. Biologist David Goulson from the University of Sussex writes, “I would argue that it is exceedingly unlikely that we could ever produce something as cheap or as effective as bees themselves. Bees have been around and pollinating flowers for more than 120 million years; they have evolved to become very good at it. It is remarkable hubris to think that we can improve on that. Consider just the numbers; there are roughly 80 million honeybee hives in the world, each containing perhaps 40,000 bees through the spring and summer. That adds up to 3.2 trillion bees”.
Researchers posted a video that showed the drone in work. Within three landings the drone picked up about 41% of the pollen and could pollinate somewhere around 50% of the time. The researchers say that within a decade the drones would not be controlled manually, but who could know that for sure? That’s not a great success rate. Their idea to use artificial intelligence becomes ineffective when you add the cost, the research, and manpower it would take to get these drones up and running at an efficient rate.
If the bee-drones are released in the same area that bees live, the motors and blades could cause more harm to bees than the attempt at pollinating could cause good. With most of the community focusing on how to live in a world without the bees, the solution isn’t to come up with a technology to prevent the problems but to avoid the problems in the first place. In this case, the decline of bees and loss of species.
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