There are a large number of animal species that are on the brink of extinction.
Although a few so-called “charismatic megafauna” have attracted human support with their cuteness / photograph-worthiness, many endangered species are ugly or boring (e.g. “oh look, another slightly different type of deer”).
What is needed is a general method for animals—even non-photogenic ones—to attract support from people and avoid extinction.
The easiest method is for these lazy endangered animals to get jobs (Figure 1)! If they had a specific niche in daily society, then people would be more likely to value them and work to ensure their preservation.
Now that these animals are earning their keep, maybe they will be valued by society a bit more (at least for a few decades, until robots replace them).
PROS: Increases labor participation. Adds to a country’s GDP and overall economic health.
CONS: Might be difficult to train a venomous snake to reliably clean a gutter. May provide unsettling existential questions when a person asks if a robot will also replace their job, not just the drain-cleaning-snake’s job.
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