Swarm

Jul 28
2009

Mike Hatton

Mike Hatton


Swarm

Consider the ant. A single ant is not very big or very smart compared to a human. An ant does not even have senses that are as sophisticated as us. Yet by some measures, ants can be considered the most successful animals on the planet. Some estimates say that ants form 15-25% of the biomass of land animals, far more than any other animal. They live on every continent except the ironically named Antarctica, and without them the whole ecology would collapse.

So why are ants so successful? To answer that question it is best to not consider individual ants but entire ant colonies. An ant’s brain is miniscule, but an entire ant colony has as many brain cells as a human. Ant colonies tend to act more like a single animal than you would first suspect. Ant colonies have been called superorganisms because they act more like one unified being than individuals. Scientists have noticed that old ant colonies act differently than newer ones, much like an old man does not act like a child. Even though all of the ants are the same age in both colonies, the older colony has learned a lot and acts as someone with experience. An ant colony can solve problems that are difficult for a computer to solve.

An ant colony has enough brain cells, so could it ever be self aware like a human? It is hard to believe that something made up of individuals could be self aware as a group without the individuals knowing about it, but this has already happened. A human being is made up of individual cells, which have no concept of being human, but when combined make up the human organism. Biologists think that there were cells that used to be individual animals that started to hang out together as colonies and eventually developed into multi-cellular animals. If single cells with no brains of their own can combine to be an intelligent creature like humans, what else can be combined?

Cell phones might be good candidates; they even have “cell” in the name. Each cell phone is complex enough to act as a cell in a superorganism. For a society to form, there needs to be a means of communication between its members. Biological cells communicate with chemical signaling and ants use pheromones. Cell phones are practically infested with communication methods. They could use cellular, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology.

Not much information has to be passed between members for a complex society to form. Ants do not really say that much to each other. Even brain cells do not have to say that much. The important thing is the number of connections. There are over 4 billion cell phones in use and they can all talk to each other by one means or another. Could we be working on building an intelligent creature out of cell phones?

Maybe this has already happened. There have been some recent studies showing that house cats control their owners more than the owners control the house cats. http://www.livescience.com/animals/090713-cats-cry.html As if that is not disturbing enough, not only are the cats controlling their owners, but they seem to be taking over the internet. Have you seen how many pictures and videos of cats posted on the internet?

What if the cell phones are controlling us too? They certainly seem to be controlling us. When a cell phone rings you answer it, no matter what else you are doing. Even when it doesn’t ring, you check your messages just in case. Who is controlling who? It is like the phones are in control with people only existing to help the phones by charging and acting as the reproductive system by building them.

I for one, welcome our cell phone overlords. Hold on I am getting a call…

One Response to “Swarm”

    Eric Lee says:

    Hello.

    I would like to put a link to your site on my blog roll if you want to do the same for mine. It would be a good way to build up both of our readerships.

    thank you.

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