This experiment featuring robotic ants illustrates how a simple principle of conductivity can elaborate into intelligently adaptive behavior without the benefit of advanced hardware or software. An ant-bot’s “mind” is organized around a principle of flow through which collectivized action spontaneously emerges as the solution to a foraging problem. Here again science demonstrates that the principles of physics are the basis of the animal mind’s evolution rather than rationales of gene proliferation as is maintained by modern behaviorism. It is therefore incumbent on behaviorists to explain how a rationale of gene replication requiring a population of randomly varying organisms, is a simpler explanation than the principle of flow which informs these ant-bots.
In the “mind” of an ant-bot, “emotion,” the motive for action---is an attraction to light. Light equals flow----dark equals resistance to flow. Additionally each ant-bot is a source of light, “secreting” it as its essence so as to create a trail detectable by other ant-bots. Eventually, their combined trails average out as a computation of the most efficient route to a resource. Alignment along this common line of travel produces the most amount of food for the least expenditure of energy. Ant-bot behavior evolves to be adaptive because its attraction to a resource is synonymous with its attraction to its fellow ant-bots. In an ant-bot every state of mind is a state-of-attraction. The essence of an ant-bot, in conjunction with a state-of-attraction, promotes deflection along a common line of travel.
If ant-bots were to evolve beyond this simple core the quality of light would still reside as the seed of the more complex ant-bot mind. A sense of self would emerge as the coupling of a light within, and the perception of same within those elements of the external world that are resonant with its makeup and relevant to its requirements. Furthermore, its attraction to its fellow ant-bots as a function of light also computes for how ant-bots move relative to each other. Peer-to-peer attraction implies alignment rather than mere contact because being connected isn’t enough, an attraction to light is synonymous with a common line of travel. Thus, social motive equals access to a resource. This common denominator is universal to all ant-bots and no matter how complex any ant-bot social behavior or structure might evolve to be, it will nevertheless always be predicated on this simple module of conductivity, which is also the basis of a self and which is also affiliated with the mechanics of ingestion and motion. The construct-of-a-self simultaneously constructs-a-path through the environment.
More ant-bot bodies moving a shorter distance to acquire resources faster is the flow that evolves into an improved state. This is a state-of-light and no matter how advanced and elaborate the social relations between ant-bots might evolve to be, the basis of every relationship and the entire social structure would remain a function of light. How an ant-bot recognizes its “self” so as to preserve its individual integrity, is simultaneously how it integrates with its surroundings so as to participate in the improvement of the flow. Thus, if ant-bots were to evolve more complex physical bodies, we can further extrapolate that the systems dedicated to ingestion and motion would serve double duty in the expanding capacities of its mind, in particular, as its means of recognizing its self (essence) in the way other bot-organisms move, since the current around which the ant-bot mind and body evolves is the capacity to move their bodies in a manner that will improve the flow of all ant-bot bodies. All physical attributes and mental capacities would derive from the number one need to align along a common line of travel. This would be the template around which everything about an ant-bot would evolve. All characteristics of an ant-bot exist to enable an ant-bot as a constituent of a current. The physical adaptations of ant-bots would evolve as improvements of the flow by serving to induce corresponding motions in others since collectivized action is the core component of an individual ant-bot’s self.
Due to the principle of conductivity, the parameters of the external world would determine the workings of the ant-bot’s body and mind. All ant-bot behavior would have the same motive irregardless of context. Context would be dependent on flow parameters and the “qualia” of experience would be the degree of flow the individual experiences via its recognition of its “self” in its external surroundings so as to heighten a state of resonance.
The mind would configure around the current so that an ant-bot would evolve to recognize its “self” in the body shape and movements of other organisms since certain motions are the equivalence of light, i.e. a degree of conductivity. In conformance with a principle of conductivity, they would evolve a bi-polar physical and emotional makeup so that they are viscous by nature (form moving currents) and soluble with their surroundings (import objects-of-resistance into the configuration). Ant-bots would develop markings that conform to the light/dark polarities of flow versus resistance and an ingestive impulse as their primary means of assessing the conductivity of various objects and situations. The front end of an ant-bot would evolve to be the dark (-) or “negative” polarity, the rear end of an ant-bot is the light or (+) “positive” polarity. This pattern indicates the direction of the flow, the emotional key to physical alignment. The apprehension of light, which is the same as the perception of the self, would be equivalent to a conductive manner of movement, a body language, a readiness to align with others along a common line of travel. Since light equals food, we can expect that ant-bots in possession of food would exhibit in their manner a brighter light, i.e. a more conductive body language, which would then induce other ant-bots to follow that light and achieve a quorum cascading effect of collectivization.
The value of conductivity would evolve into ant-bot “personality.” To an observer it might appear that one ant-bot is fundamentally different from another because ant-bot society would be characterized by variations, for example a caste system of specialized workers. Nevertheless even profound differences would be a function of a universal common denominator. The colony would be configured around the current just as the mind is configured around the current.
Any interpretation of ant-bot behavior (and any animal behavior that is qualitatively and quantitatively akin to ant-bot behavior) should be articulated by that same flow logic rather than abstract principles such as gene replication and survival strategies. If ant-bots had genes that could evolve, they would exist not to effect change, but to lock in successful flow patterns in order to transmit them into the future. Genes would be the physical embodiment of light, the essence of an ant-bot transcribed into a mechanical method of implementation.
Since the environment determines the flow pattern, and since there are many environments within a hierarchy of multi-scaled flow systems, there would be a great biodiversity across a spectrum of bot organisms participating in the vast diversity of niche flow systems. Ant-bot genes as the mechanism of heritability would not be the agency of change. The source of change is the actual improvement of flow. The need to survive so as to propagate genes falls outside the scope of information, thus such a need cannot exist within ant-bot consciousness, or for that matter within any consciousness that demonstrates a flow dynamic.
Complex coordinated activity is a more elaborate restatement of the simple principle of conductivity, light = motion. There is no “black box,” input-throughput-output (perception-processing-behavior) on its most basic level of sheer architecture can be fully explicated in terms of a flow principle because what’s going on internally is perfectly mirrored by what’s going on externally; the same physics underwriting both realms. This principle of conductivity would be a constantly repeating module so that all activity faithfully replicates the underlying substrate of ant-bot “consciousness,” i.e. light = flow. No complex capacity could emerge from this substrate as an independent faculty of mind, harnessed to its own ends separate and distinct as to how the substrate functions, which is how modern behaviorism posits the cognitive processes they claim are underwriting complex behavior in social animals. It would not be possible for an ant-bot to evolve a cognitive process that is not predicated on this fundamental module of conductivity. The principle of flow comprises the total scope of all information. New ant-bot mental or physical capacities could only emerge as an improvement of flow.
Thus if ant-bots had genes that could evolve, the shifting of the ant-bot genome would follow the adaptive intelligence of a flow principle. Certain genes would persist not because they are more profligate due to a competitive advantage over other genes by virtue of some random variation, but because they encode for the adaptation that evolved through its inherent flow value in terms of all ant-bots. Ant bots do not vary at the substrate. They are all the same because only as a whole can they generate adaptive behaviors. One ant-bot does not become a little more adaptive at exploiting a resource, or relating to a fellow ant-bot in a more adaptive way as if these are separate phenomena under different selective pressures. Light is the fundamental means for an ant-bot to apprehend its reality, and anything an ant-bot might evolve to perceive and respond to, would have light as the seed by which it can be apprehended. And because light equals motion, and collective motion leads to the exploitation of a resource, the perception of light means that all interactions are reducible to a transfer of momentum which immediately factors in a dynamic of variability between ant-bots. To wit: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Variability would follow from the laws of motion and thermodynamics. In this way flow improves as a whole, not in terms of one individual prevailing over another just because individuals within a population innately vary, and thus eventually the whole changes.
The question is; what is the “light” in the Canine Constructal Mind? It must serve as a mechanism for aligning around a common line of travel due to the principle of conductivity, and involves the biomechanics of locomotion and ingestion. (I believe this principle of emotional conductivity manifested in human and dog body language is what informs Moscow’s subway dogs as they commute along a common line of travel.)