Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Aunt Colony

"I am beginning to see things from two different vantage points. From an ant's-eye point of view, a signal has no purpose. The typical ant in a signal is just meandering around the colony, in search of nothing in particular, until it finds that it feels like stopping. Its teammates usually agree and that moment the team unloads itself, by crumbling apart, leaving just its numbers but none of its coherency. No planning is required, no looking ahead, nor is any search required to determine the proper direction. But from the colony's point of view, the team has just responded to a message which was written in the language of the caste distribution. Now from this perspective, it looks very much like purposeful activity."

"Prelude...Ant Fugue", Douglas Hofstadter
in The Mind's I, Hofstadter and Dennett, eds., 1981

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