Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Origins of Cognition?

Bacteria are not the solitary, simple organisms as they are usually depicted. Under natural growth conditions, certain bacterial species self-organize into hierarchically complex structured colonies containing from a billion to over a trillion organisms. To coordinate such cooperative ventures, these bacteria have developed and utilized various methods of biochemical communication, by using a variety of mediators, which range from simple molecules to polymers, peptides, complex proteins, genetic material, and even "cassettes of genetic information" such as plasmids and viruses. The resulting colony patterns reflect cooperative survival strategies. The colony behaves much like a multi-cellular community. It has been proposed that these fundamental cognitive functions, the colony can perform collective sensing, distributed information processing collective gene-regulations of the individual bacteria. And consequently it can change its spatio-temporal organization (engineered self-organization) for better adaptability to changes in the environment. In addition colonial internal sensing is crucial since the complex patterns emerge through the communication-based interplay between individual bacteria (the micro-level), as well as sensing characteristics of the collective, i.e., the colony (the macro-level).

What is the difference between the meaning-based natural intelligence of organisms vs. information-based artificial intelligence?

Are the two essentially different?

If so, what are the special features of organisms that afford them capabilities beyond current man-made machines?

Wht information-based or meaning-based capabilities exist at the level of very small, very, very, ancient genomic organisms?