Increasingly, scientists are taking note of the many indications that insects exhibit consciousness-like phenomena
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- Expanding Consciousness
- Sep 30 2019
- Word count
- 3903 words
Former beekeeper here.
I've long been fascinated by the concept of superorganisms, the idea that—at least functionally—an entire beehive, ant hill, or termite colony is actually a single, highly-intelligent life-form, with the individual bees/ants/termites being, effectively, cells of the colony/body.
Closely related is the concept of emergent, or "bottom-up", artificial intelligence ... the idea of giving individual pawns a (relatively) short-and-simple ruleset to follow, and seeing much, much higher-order intelligence emerge-seemingly accidentally-from the interaction of the pawns. The seminal example of this is probably the original AI game of "Life".
As a side-note, it's worth mentioning that the queen bee is the only one that reproduces. A beekeeper can replace a queen bee with a different variety—eg, kill the Italian queen and replace her with a Russian queen—and only a few weeks later, the Italian hive will be completely converted into a Russian hive, as the last of the Italian workers die (of old age, within 6 weeks) and are replaced by the Russian workers laid by the new queen.
I honestly don't have much to discuss here. I'm freaking out. I had heard dumbed-down versions of some of this before (ex: bees can dance to communicate) but this was so in depth and so cool and so fascinating. @vili thank you for posting this. This might just be the highlight of my whole week. If anyone has any other links to cool bee articles fucking flood me with them I'm riding the bee high right now.
The honeybee communication method blows my mind. It's like watching The Wire, but with bees.
It is so surreal to me that i still can't believe. I keep thinking we are seeing things that are not there because it's cool. It's wonderful.
This probably wrinkles the idea of insect farming for some people, does it not?
I don't think it would change much for a lot of people. Most people who are okay with exploiting animals don't seem to care that much about the intelligence of the animal. Ranchers raise cattle for slaughter despite knowing better than anyone how intelligent they are on account of working with them all day every day. I could even see some people reading this and thinking "Wow, bees are so cool. I want some."
On the other side, many of the people who are against exploiting animals are already against exploiting bees.
Lots of fascinating examples in that article that change my perception of insects quite a bit. It seems they're way more capable of learning and making sense of their environment than I would have thought. It's absolutely mind-blowing to think of the size of an insect brain and the complex thought process they're capable of.
Seems like Star Trek predicted it once again: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_Soil
On another note, though, experiments like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olZY7yBD0w4
Seem very terrifyingly close to "Dark Mirror" now... If we're putting artificial brains of bees (Maybe conscious) into a drone, what are the ethical implications?