Upon seeing this article on the Times, I wondered what could possibly be the benefit of artificially recreating one of the most hated, reviled creatures on earth? It's not like they're endangered, or that they need help surviving. Hell, they're supposed to be able to live even after being beheaded, only to die from starvation. They obviously don't need our help.
Then after reading the article, I found out that they were studying collective intelligence in order to reproduce their behavior in AI. Maybe I've seen the Matrix or the Terminator too many times, but I'm a bit pessimistic on the issue of having super-intelligent, adaptive, learning robots.
I always wonder about these scientists and doctors who apply their highly trained minds towards strange goals. "Sure, I'd like to cure cancer, but man, I really want to invent a backscratcher where you don't need to reach all the way back with your arm, cause man that really sucks."
Further collective-thinking robot paranoia can be explored in Crichton's Prey, which has some interesting theories and insights on swarm behavior, with a few killings of humans by nanomachines thrown in.