Bees Beat Machines At 'Traveling Salesman' Problem

Gosh, that is one hell of a bee if it has the brain of a piece of corn... or is corn not a grass anymore? At least when you take some idiotic comparison, take one that has a non-changing size. Penny is okay because all pennies at least within a country tend to stay the same. But grass seeds?

Next up is "brain the size of a pinhead". Oh okay, so there are many sizes of pin but at least we can assume some kind of standard. And that is FAR smaller then most grasses I know and see seeds of in Holland.

Otherwise intresting stuff but I loathe this "make it easier" by obuscating the facts.

Number of neurons in honey bee brain = 950,000 (from Menzel, R. and Giurfa, M., Cognitive architecture of a mini-brain: the honeybee, Trd. Cog. Sci., 5:62-71, 2001.)

Now THAT is a fact. We? We got 100 billion. So, while a bee has a tiny brain compared to ours, it is HARDLY simple. And because it is far smaller and far more primitive it doesn't need as as much intelligence to deal with things it doesn't need to. Listening and producing speech is complex, but bees don't bother with that. Living for half a century and remembring everything is complex. But bees don't do that.

This why computers can do math so fast despite being so stupid, because they only do math.

How can the bee do route calculation with close to a million neurons? I have no idea but didn't research show that far fewer rat neurons could fly a plane? I think some people fastly underestimate the complexity of the brain even small ones. We already know that a neuron is far more then a simple transistor so 1 million super transistors would make for a hell of a complex computer. Suddenly it doesn't seem to odd that a bee can do computations far more complex because THAT is what it is designed to do. You could just as easily marvle at the fact that the bee with its tiny brain can fly, while I with my large brain can't. And no I don't just mean I don't have wings, I mean that if you put me in a helicopter you would have a horrible crash in seconds and that is in the passenger seat.

Marvle at nature, learn from it but don't belittle it. It takes us year to program a robot to walk very very slowly. A deer learns it in minutes and this includes learning to control legs locked up in a womb for months. We can either accept that nature is amazing or we are very very poor programmers... as a developer, I choose to believe that nature is amazing.

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