Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13

Thread: Plant Intelligence & Consciousness

  1. #1
    chaotic neutral shitpost
    Type
    xxxx
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    shrubland
    Posts
    7,273

    Plant Intelligence & Consciousness

    i came across this article recently "the intelligent plant" that discusses some of the more controversial research being done in the field of "plant neurobiology" (many plant scientists and neurobiologists object to this term cuz plants don't have neurons).

    the article's from 2013 so i imagine some of it has to be dated by now, but it's very well written and i highly recommend reading it in its entirety. it brings up some interesting philosophical questions about the nature of intelligence and how to define it, the implications of "intelligence without a brain" and possibilities of utilizing this research to build upon the emerging field of "biological intelligence" (contrasted with "artificial intelligence").

    the main controversy stems from the usage of terms from animal behavioral science to describe plant intelligence, communication and behavior. there's accusations of anthropocentrism and reliance on metaphor to make scientific points, which seems like an easy trap to fall into when doing these cognition studies on plants. this presents an obvious problem, and the question of how to interpret this research is an ongoing and contentious issue.

    i'm tempted to quote a bunch of passages from this article, but i'll just let you all read it first if you're interested.

    googling "intelligence without a brain" led me to this more recent interview with dr. monica gagliano, an evolutionary ecologist who's known for her research on plant learning (her experiments testing the "learning" of mimosa pudica plants were mentioned in that first article). her conclusion is that plants do learn. (she uses the term "plant cognitive ecology" to describe this growing field of study.)

    if plants can learn, they can be "trained."

    that's sorta where this is going... it's pretty weird, but think of the possibilities.

    your thoughts?

    @pensive_pilgrim
    i did a quick search and you're the only one on this site who's mentioned leaning towards panpsychism, so what do you think?
    the clouds in the sky caress my mind so tenderly

  2. #2
    Pull the strings! Architect's Avatar
    Type
    INTP
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    516
    Quote Originally Posted by jigglypuff View Post
    if plants can learn, they can be trained.
    Skeptical - unlikely. So far what we know is only a neocortex can learn. Creatures without them (e.g. reptiles, insects) clearly show only instinctual behavior. For example, consider the dung beetle. Rolls up balls of dung with it's hind legs. Do this - take the dung ball away. What does it do? It keeps on rolling, pantomiming rolling a ball. And you can't teach it anything else, it can't learn that deus ex machine can come in and take it's ball away. Same for lizards, only the mammals have a neocortex.

    Plants do seem to show some kinds of, well intelligence is too strong a word, some kind of ... thinking, or something. But pretty simple stuff. Like I planted my garden, but we got a bit of a chilly snap, so they shot up then stalled, and even when the weather got better they didn't pick up. So they somehow have a 'memory' of initial conditions.

  3. #3
    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
    Type
    INTP
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Ceti Alpha V
    Posts
    13,185
    INTPx Award Winner
    Quote Originally Posted by Architect View Post
    Skeptical - unlikely. So far what we know is only a neocortex can learn. Creatures without them (e.g. reptiles, insects) clearly show only instinctual behavior. For example, consider the dung beetle. Rolls up balls of dung with it's hind legs. Do this - take the dung ball away. What does it do? It keeps on rolling, pantomiming rolling a ball. And you can't teach it anything else, it can't learn that deus ex machine can come in and take it's ball away. Same for lizards, only the mammals have a neocortex.

    Plants do seem to show some kinds of, well intelligence is too strong a word, some kind of ... thinking, or something. But pretty simple stuff. Like I planted my garden, but we got a bit of a chilly snap, so they shot up then stalled, and even when the weather got better they didn't pick up. So they somehow have a 'memory' of initial conditions.
    Neither fish nor fowl have a neo-cortex, yet both can exhibit examples of learned behaviors. Same for cephalopods. And flatworms. The neocortex premise is clearly false.
    Most of time, when people ask why something terrible happened, they don't realize they are looking for someone to blame.

    --Meditations on Uncertainty Vol ξ(x)

  4. #4
    Damned
    Type
    INTP
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    3,736
    Somewhere on the forum I said something like intelligence or learning is nothing special and is uninteresting. I still believe that. If the sun casts a shadow and the ground that's exposed to the rays retains the heat in the pattern of the object that blocked the sun, the ground learned but it's not interesting. If you want to go deeper and require some benefit of that pattern of heat, I could come up with something, and it still won't be interesting. Plants being able to learn is slightly less uninteresting.

  5. #5
    Pull the strings! Architect's Avatar
    Type
    INTP
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    516
    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    Neither fish nor fowl have a neo-cortex, yet both can exhibit examples of learned behaviors. Same for cephalopods. And flatworms. The neocortex premise is clearly false.
    Merely out of date knowledge, according to Wikipedia you're correct and fish at least to exhibit some kind of intelligence.

    Good to know, apparently they can even do "if A>B and B>C, then A>C" kind of reasoning. Fascinating

  6. #6
    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
    Type
    INTP
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Ceti Alpha V
    Posts
    13,185
    INTPx Award Winner
    Quote Originally Posted by Architect View Post
    Merely out of date knowledge, according to Wikipedia you're correct and fish at least to exhibit some kind of intelligence.

    Good to know, apparently they can even do "if A>B and B>C, then A>C" kind of reasoning. Fascinating
    Fair enough. I became less dismissive of fish when I met a mad scientist at a makerspace who was working on a system of sensors so his cichlids could control their own environment. He'd apparently already made some things that allowed them to adjust their lighting, and was working on something to allow them to adjust the water temperature.

    For the record, I and everyone I've told this story to are of the opinion such a thing was just going to result in dead fish--but it would be pretty impressive if it didn't.

    Only met the guy once, so I have no idea how it turned out, but it was a fascinating conversation with someone who had an inspiring passion for exploring cichlid intelligence.
    Most of time, when people ask why something terrible happened, they don't realize they are looking for someone to blame.

    --Meditations on Uncertainty Vol ξ(x)

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Type
    intp
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    1,889
    I think if you can argue that plants are intelligent, then you could argue that certain machines and computer programs are intelligent as well as they can display as much (if not more) complexity and learning.

  8. #8
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
    Type
    INTP
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    1,826
    I like this talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/suzanne_si..._to_each_other
    Want to read the links in the OP still.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

  9. #9
    Amen P-O's Avatar
    Type
    INTP
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    768
    A friend of mine believes plants have souls and feel pain and can suffer. She got mad at me for "hurting" a tree by cutting off a part of the branch.

    Some people have such funny beliefs about the world.
    Violence is never the right answer, unless used against heathens and monsters.

  10. #10
    No Thank You Blorg's Avatar
    Type
    INFP
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    near Lidl
    Posts
    3,951
    Here's an article about Gagliano's research: https://www.atlasobscura.com/article...-vernalization

    This is fascinating

Similar Threads

  1. No plant left behind
    By BarIII in forum Projects & Creativity
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-06-2017, 10:15 PM
  2. Augmenting Group Intelligence
    By TeresaJ in forum Math, Science & Tech
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 02-27-2015, 12:36 PM
  3. Artificial Intelligence (aka AI)
    By mhc in forum Philosophy & Spirituality
    Replies: 37
    Last Post: 07-02-2014, 03:51 AM
  4. Animal Consciousness
    By JollyBard in forum Philosophy & Spirituality
    Replies: 32
    Last Post: 02-12-2014, 06:50 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •