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Animal minds

At Mind Matters News: What does it mean to say bees “feel and think”?

What, exactly, does “consciousness” or “feel and think” mean when applied to a bee? This usage is no remote outpost. Renowned USC neuroscientist Antonio Damasio tells us that viruses are “intelligent.” Similarly, University of Chicago biochemist James Shapiro tells us in a scholarly paper that all living cells are “cognitive.” But what do they mean? Read More ›

At Mind Matters News: Octopuses create an “origin of intelligence” conundrum

The evolution of intelligence in mammals and birds could be dismissed as a fluke. Finding far-distant intelligent life forms suggests a pattern instead. But what is it? Read More ›

AI promotional vid — is the AI future realistic? Is it utopia emerging? Or, dystopian?

Are they already emerging as conscious as complexity rises? Vid: Or, do we need to ask pointed questions about limitations of computation, oracle machines and Smithian cybernetic loops with two tier controllers [can we have an oracle there?]? Does a fancy Si Rubber face — like those used for many years in Sci Fi flicks — make a difference? Smith: Or, Well, do rocks . . . even sophisticated, doped Si rocks . . . dream? And, what does all of this tell us about the potential for design? END

At Mind Matters News: If octopuses are really smart, should we eat them?

At MMN: Octopuses present something of a puzzle. As Canadian investigative journalist Erin Anderssen pointed out earlier this month, “The octopus has already challenged our theories on evolution, intelligence and consciousness ... invertebrates like octopuses were expected to be “naturally” less intelligent than, say, raccoons. But they are not less intelligent. They have been called a “second genesis” of intelligence and the jury’s still out on how they came to be so." Read More ›

At Mind Matters News: Retro future: In a 1960s take on the 2020s, chimps do our chores

It seems such a crazy idea now. Is that because we have greater awareness of chimpanzees as they really are? Let’s hope so. It’s good to think we’ve made some progress in the last half century in understanding that chimpanzees are not “almost people.” We must still work on recognizing that we are not “almost chimpanzees” either. Read More ›

At Mind Matters News: Can squirrels really be socially unjust? Check their privilege?

Takehome: Researchers long assumed that people think like animals. But the equation reads the same in reverse: Animals think like people. Folklore soon trumps reality. Read More ›

At Mind Matters News: The hive mind: Leafcutter ants behave like farmhands but…

Ants’ complex behavior patterns are part of following a colony algorithm rather than making individual decisions. They make immediate individual decisions but the hive mind of the colony makes the big ones. We humans struggle to understand the hive mind because our world is one of uniquely individual minds that can, with effort, be got to work together — for a while. Read More ›

At Mind Matters News: Researchers: Humans process information differently from monkeys

The researchers found that, from an information theory perspective, human brains engage in less redundant and more synergistic processing than macaques. So information theory supports human exceptionalism where Darwinism doesn’t? Read More ›

At Mind Matters News: Asked at The Scientist: Do invertebrates have feelings?

What we are learning is that invertebrate status is not, by itself, evidence of an inability to think or feel — as we used to suppose. In a world full of information and intelligence, it’s not nearly as tidy as our biology teachers thought. Read More ›

At Mind Matters News: Do ants think? Yes, they do — but they think like computers

Navigation expert Eric Cassell points out that algorithms have made the ant one of the most successful insects ever, both in numbers and complexity. Computer programmers use some of the same basic structures. Read More ›

Gene-edited hamsters did not behave as expected

Hamsters from hell. Quote of the decade: “We don't understand this system as well as we thought we did.” One suspects that some of these people are going to learn respect for the design of life the hard way. Hope it’s not too hard on the rest of us. Read More ›