Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/16/belgian_robot_roach_agent_provocateur_terminator/

Lifelike, sexy robot infiltrators influence Belgian mobs

And so it begins

By Lewis Page

Posted in Science, 16th November 2007 15:16 GMT

Brussels boffins have finally cracked one of the most elusive and long-sought of all technology achievements - that of deploying lifelike robot agent provocateur infiltrators using realistic sex pheromones to influence mass psychology.

In this case, the population to be manipulated by droid love agents was a group of cockroaches residing at the Free University of Brussels, rather than the inhabitants of present-day Los Angeles*. For now.

Apparently Dr José Halloy, a top Belgian robot cockroach sex pheromone mob-psychology researcher, wanted to see if a few droid impostors could influence large groups living in democratic societies. (According to the New York Times.) Seemingly he had little interest in stratified, hierarchical polities like those of ants, bees, communist China, Britain etc.

“Cockroaches are not like that,” said the robo-roach quisling boffin overlord.

“They live all together.”

Halloy and his team figured to mould the opinion of the meritocratic, classless arthropod disease-carrying pests. To this end, they fashioned a force of facsimile droid sleeper agents.

Fortunately cockroach eyesight isn't good, and the refuse-gobbling multilegged rabble were easily taken in by undercover mechanoids more reminiscent of small golf buggies than actual bugs. The only thing necessary to complete the imposture, according to the Times, was a quick squirt of "eau de cockroach sex hormones".

Having been welcomed by the roach hordes, Halloy's mechanical traitors were soon able to influence their unsuspecting insect dupes into doing things obviously contrary to their own welfare. The Belgian fifth-columnist puppetmasters didn't push it too hard - they weren't able to get the roaches to commit suicide, for instance - but it was easy to make them do things they found uncomfortable and worrying, like a human being voting for an obviously insane megalomaniac.

According to the Times, Halloy now plans to see if he can subvert chickens using larger droids.

Sure - chickens.

“We are not interested in people,” he added, unconvincingly.

The research paper can be read here (subscription required). ®

*Memorably penetrated by saucy yet murderous mechanoid sexpot assassin Kristanna Loken in Terminator III, which now turns out to be a documentary film.