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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Biology ")

Oil from Algae - Can It Be Done?
'We dump everything that's waste into the tanks, pump the oil off the top.' - Hal Clement, 1950.

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.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Flying Dragon Robot Transforms In Mid-Air
Terrific prototype video.

Negative Matter Fluid Theorized In New Paper
'Of course, being negative matter, when you push it, it comes toward you..'

Grow Structures Upon Planetfall - Myco-Architecture
'They'll also start pulling in gases and liquids from the local atmosphere...'

MXene Hydrogel Skin For Robots Flexes And Senses
'The plastex swam and whirled like boiling toothpaste...'

EXPLORER, The First Total-Body Scanner
'The object is built up of an infinite series of plane layers, at the focus of the ray...'

UK Police AI To Stop Criminals Before They Strike
'... the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material.'

Sonitus Audio Interface Positioned Beyond The Noise
'... an instrument having relatively small bit pieces adapted to be gripped between the teeth.'

Volvo's Self-Driving Mining Trucks
'A procession of automatic ore carts was racing over the bleak slag'

Audi Pop.Up Autonomous Electric Flying Car
'The cab was an egg-shaped bubble of light metals and plastics...'

Music Not Impossible (MNI) Vibrotactile Wearable Experience
Don't you want to experience the 'feely' effects?

Chinese Face Recognition Mistakes Bus Ad For Jaywalker
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'

A Look Back At Apollo's Emergency Escape Vehicle
'A simple mechanism... it drove the iron ball through space like a ship.'

InMotion Glide 3 Electric Unicycle For The Last Mile
'...gyro-stabilized on a single wheel.'

China's Social Credit System - A Facebook-1984 Mashup
'Prestige, face, mana, repute, glory: the Sirenese word is strakh.'

Musk Declares Tesla Supercharger Capacity Will Double By Next Year
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'

Drywall Robot Looking For Sheetrock
Sheetrockers have sure changed since my day.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.