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Emergent Hive Minds

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Trail-blazing ants show hints of metacognition when seeking food - life - 10 June 2015. I think, therefore I ant sure (Image: FLPA/Rex) Do they know they don't know? Ants seem to examine their knowledge, a little like humans do when unsure of which route to take. Tomer Czaczkes and Jürgen Heinze from the University of Regensburg in Germany let black garden ants find food on a T-shaped maze, with the food always in one arm. Then they switched the food to the other arm, creating uncertainty for the ants.

Ants that headed in the wrong direction were less likely to leave a trail for the other ants to follow. "It makes, sense," says Czaczkes. "You don't want to give your sisters wrong information. " He says this might show that ants can question their own knowledge, a basic facet of higher metacognition – awareness of one's own thoughts – although it doesn't prove this. If true, these ants would be just the second reported case of an insect showing such advanced cognitive behaviour. But it has been confirmed only for relatively advanced species, such as mammals and a few birds.

Social Learning in Insects — From Miniature Brains to Consensus Building. One Of The Best Examples Of Collective Intelligence You'll Ever See. The Magic Roundabout: Swindon's Terrifying Traffic Circle and Emergent Behaviour. New game creates a hive mind out of Google Glass users. Why do caterpillars swarm? We built a game to find out. In my last post, I broke down the science of why some caterpillars work together and form these strange, writhing formations known as rolling swarms. In a sentence: the caterpillars use their own bodies as a constantly re-assembling and dis-assembling conveyor belt, and by doing this they manage to give themselves a speed boost. If you haven’t read that post, go back and check it out. Here’s another video of this creepy behavior: Inspired by this notion of co-operating caterpillars, my friend Deepak decided to dig a little deeper, and try to understand why they work together in the first place.

What if, he asked, each caterpillar was just behaving selfishly, and only trying to overtake the caterpillar ahead of it? With that simple rule, would such harmonious, collective behavior emerge? Well, we built a thing where you can play around and find out the answer for yourself. Check it out, and let me know what you think in the comments below. Watch 10 seconds of high-frequency stock trading in super slow motion. Presumably, it will take them a bit of time to actually read out the resolution.

How do you know there weren't computers executing the trade before the news reached Chicago? Maybe they were measuring the probability that the decision would be made. In addition, a spike in trading could be bets placed both ways. There could be short options bought or long. Likely they were. If you are conspiratorial minded, you would say that people in Chicago had been leaked the news but waited until it was officially released to execute. If you are less conspiratorial, you could say that everybody knew that some piece of news was going to be released and the bots were programmed to pounce.

Or, you can believe in the laws of Science Fiction as written by Douglas Addams and say that this is proof that nothing travels faster than bad news. Lies on the London Underground. 'Quake 3 Arena' Bots Evolve World Peace After Four-Year War On Pirate's Server. Update: Alas. As we suspected (see our note at the end of the original story), it appears that this wonderful tale was too good to be true. We've been tipped that the original post was actually a joke, and that it was subsequently taken too seriously by the Internet - and, well, us. Apologies for those who found hope in the tale, but we still feel there may be a lesson in it for humanity, somewhere.

Put down the guns, Quake 3 aliens, robots and killing machines. In 1999, the state-of-the-art in video game warfare was Quake 3 Arena - a fast and brutal game set in tight, cramped levels, where the aim was simply to kill, get killed, and repeat. And among its various innovations - of which, arguably, there weren't that many - was some rather clever artificial intelligence. The 'bots' in the game - essentially the computer controlled players - were equipped with a kind of 'learning' AI. In the game, the bots would watch your gameplay style, and adapt themselves as the fighting continued.

Harvester ants use their own internet for hive-mind decision making. We've been looking at ant intelligence the wrong way. I'm actually very interested in the philosophical implications of killing insects. I personally feel slightly emotionally traumatized when I'm forced to kill an insect. I think it's wrong. I think it has every right to live as I do. I've heard people say that they view insects as automatons, without sentience, but that's clearly not the case. I wouldn't feel guilt over killing a plant - that's clearly a different kind of life than the type I have. But insects? Whatever spark of life animates them, it's the same one humans have. I've also heard people say that, because there are so many of them, killing one doesn't matter.

So to conclude; don't kill insects unless you absolutely have to. Thoughts on the matter? Engineers Build The First Robot Ant Society. Robot ants mimic insect behaviour. Cockroaches live in a democracy › News in Science (ABC Science) News in Science Monday, 3 April 2006 Jennifer ViegasDiscovery News Cockroaches govern themselves in a very simple democracy where each insect has equal standing and group consultations precede decisions that affect the entire group, indicates a new study. The research determines that cockroach decision-making follows a predictable pattern that could explain group dynamics of other insects and animals, such as ants, spiders, fish and even cows. Cockroaches are silent creatures, save perhaps for the sound of them scurrying over a countertop.

"Cockroaches use chemical and tactile communication with each other," says Dr José Halloy, who co-authored the research in the current Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "They can also use vision," says Halloy, a scientist in the Department of Social Ecology at the Free University of Brussels in Belgium. Give me shelter Halloy tested cockroach group behaviour by placing the insects in a dish that contained three shelters. A delicate balance.