slime mold intelligence transfers (Introduction)

by dhw, Wednesday, December 28, 2016, 12:49 (1289 days ago) @ David Turell

David’s comment: dhw and I will have the same battle when he returns from his Christmas fun. Is this process a series of automatic chemical reactions which a taught mold teaches to a naïve mold or is here some sort of nebulous 'intelligence' at work here, with no evidence apparent in the cellular chemistry.
Yes indeed, the battle continues, but thank you again for your integrity in presenting yet another example of cellular intelligence and how it can be tested.

Cellular chemistry will not reveal intelligence. Only by setting new problems and observing the response can scientists establish whether there is or is not “intelligence”. Even in your own comment you cannot avoid the obvious fact that if one mold is naïve and the other has learned a new trick, the very fact that one can teach and the other can learn indicates the desire and ability to communicate, and an increase in knowledge first by the teacher and then by the pupil – all attributes of what we call intelligence, though not to be equated with human intelligence.

DAVID: The communication is chemical since they are semi-attached. The teacher contains chemical knowledge, not neuronal knowledge. The pupil is taught chemically as the new molecules fill the gaps in the pupil's chemistry.

"Neuronal knowledge" takes us back to the question of whether intelligence is only possible in organisms that have brains. The answer according to some scientists is that it IS possible. How can we tell? Not by examining chemical processes, because even in humans the chemical processes cannot reveal the intelligence that drives them. The only way is by testing, but first we must define what we mean by intelligence, and in doing so we should bear in mind the distinction between natural and artificial intelligence, and the fact that there are different degrees of intelligence, with human self-awareness marking the highest degree that we know of. And so by intelligence I mean the autonomous ability to absorb and process information, learn, communicate, cooperate, and take decisions based on the information absorbed, processed and learned. By my definition, slime mold and bacteria are intelligent. Perhaps we can end this discussion once and for all if you give us your own definition.

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