Slime Is Smarter Than You Think
Researchers are looking at unexpected species for the intelligence to solve puzzles like finding the best route through a maze.
Like slime molds.
“Computers are not so good at analyzing the best routes that connect many base points because the volume of calculations becomes too large for them…but slime molds, without calculating all the possible options, can flow over areas in an impromptu manner and gradually find the best routes … Slime molds…can flexibly adjust themselves to a change of the environment and can create networks that are resistant to unexpected stimulus,” said Atsushi Tero from Kyushu University, in western Japan.
(Yellow slime mold )
The scientific agenda is focused on the slime’s cells, which appear to be able to process and optimize the growth pattern of the mold. These cells also avoid those forces that may damage them, such as light.
“The cells create the most direct root through a maze to a source of food … Humans are not the only living things with information-processing abilities … Simple creatures can solve certain kinds of difficult puzzles … If you want to spotlight the essence of life or intelligence, it’s easier to use these simple creatures,” said Toshiyuki Nakagaki from his laboratory in Hakodate, on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido.
Yellow slime has been on planet for thousands of years, surviving on bacteria, decaying leaves and logs. Its ability to navigate a maze without a brain suggests a transport network design that scientists can learn much from.
Unlike most of us, Philip K. Dick easily identified species that had good prospects for intelligence. In his 1964 novel Clans of the Alphane Moon, Philip K. Dick wrote about an intelligent yellow slime mold:
"Wait," the slime mold said. "One item more; in exchange for my silence ... I would like a favor."
So there had been a catch to it. He was not surprised; after all, Lord Running Clam was a business-creature. The slime mold said, "I insist, Mr. Rittersdorf, that you take the job which Mr. Hentman is offering at this very moment."
"What about my job with the CIA? Chuck demanded. "You need not give that up; you can hold both jobs." The slime mold's thoughts were confident. "By um, moonlighting it."
"'Moonlighting.' Where did you get hold of that term?" "I am an expert on Terran society," the slime mold informed him. "As I envision it, you will hold the job with CIA by day, the job with Bunny Hentman by night. To accomplish this you will need drugs, thalamic stimulants of the hexo-amphetamine class, which are illegal on Terra. However I will provide them; I have contacts off this planet and can procure the drugs easily. You will need no sleep at all, once your brain metabolism has been stimulated by --"
From Asia News via our Friends at Frolix_8.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/15/2012)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Amazing 'Hybrid' Solar-Powered Sea Slug Does Photosynthesis
Thank goodness for Star Trek.
Should You Submit Your DNA To A Database?
Consumer DNA services are often inaccurate.
Humans Evolve Deep Diving Abilities
Sounds like '60s sci-fi to me.
Researchers Create Bowls, Coils, Ripples Of Living Tissue
'... biological robots were not living creatures.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1972.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Las Vegas Humans Ready To Strike Over Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot... had to be compensated.'
You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.'
Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'
Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.
Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.
Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'
First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.
VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'
Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.
Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...
Galini 3D Printed Sleeping Pod Tiny Houses
'The houses are prefabricated units...'
MIT Boffins Create Psychopath AI On Purpose
There's a lesson in this for neural net AI engineers everywhere.
Skin Electronics 3D Printed
'June's body is a tracery of lambent lines, like some arcane capillary circuitry...'
Artificial Sensory Neurons For Prosthetics, Robots
Great for humans and robots!
China Uses Artificial Intelligence To Grade Student Papers
Looks like the City Fathers are starting to take over China's education system.
Electronic Tongues Will Rule The Kitchen
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories