Neuroscientists studying birds, mice, and fish are landing seven-figure salaries to help advance artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, and more.
Jaguar is a mouse. He lives at Harvard’s Rowland Institute, where, from time to time, he plays video games on a rig that looks like it belongs in A Clockwork Orange. Metal bars position him inside a small platform in front of a metal lever; his mission is to find a virtual box’s edges by feel. To do this, he reaches with his right paw to grab the joystick, which can rotate 360 degrees, and maneuvers it until he feels feedback from the machine. When he reaches the right target area—say, an edge of the box—a tube rewards him with a dribble of sugar water.