Garlic is a lovable cat with a pink nose and tiny gray ears. He looks identical to his original.
“My cat died of urinary tract disease,” Garlic’s owner Huang Yu told the Global Times. “I decided to clone him because he was so special and unforgettable.”
Garlic may be biologically identical to his original, but he’s not the same cat. He has his own personality and he has his own memories.
While they have successfully cloned the cat (which is the first cloned cat in their country, by the way), China’s Sinogene Biotechnology Company is not content with just cloning the body. They state that the next level would be using artificial intelligence to transfer the original’s memories over to the clone.
Sinogene’s general manager told attendees at a press conference on Monday that “to make the cloned animal share the same memories with the original, the company is considering the use of artificial intelligence or man-machine interface technology to store them or even pass the memories to cloned animals,” wrote the Global Times, a paper run by the Chinese communist party.
While there’s no telling whether that’s even technologically possible, the fact that Sinogene is even looking into it could be taken as a sign that there’s a demand for pets that are identical — in both body and spirit — to their predecessors.
And that’s disturbing on a number of levels.
Cloning pets is already controversial — scientists have claimed that cloned animals aren’t as healthy, with shorter lifespans than naturally born animals, while some animal activists have argued that cloning pets is unethical given the number of shelter animals in need of homes.
What are your thoughts on this one?
(Image Credit: Seanbatty/ Pixabay)