It really is amazing to me what we can learn from "lower life forms." I was also skeptical but according to one web page (benefits-of-honey.com): The bee's brain is oval in shape and only about the size of a sesame seed, yet it has remarkable capacity to learn and remember things and is able to make complex calculations on distance travelled and foraging efficiency.
And remember - these little guys aren't supposed to be able to fly if you calculate their wingspan to body mass ratio - so they obviously know something we don't!
I always assumed the next great phase of industrialization is genetically engineering machines (based on existing plants/animals) that you would grow with seeds like a crop (and power with biomatter) rather than manufacture in a factory and power on carbon derived energy.
Insects are a perfect starting point, since they are simple enough for us to start understanding their operation and they are already autonomous. This is the perfect first step in this path. Only need to know enough about their operation to replace their original "programming" with ours. Insects are hardly "smart", but they are more than capable of carrying out simple tasks.
Of course, this is also how every sci-fi horror movie starts out.
Honey bees are GREAT models for AI for autonomous flight. Bees explore independently, looking for the best food source. When they come back to the hive, they "dance" to precisely communicate the best path to the abundance. It's fascinating and very complex.
If drones could work together, communicating like bees, they could be more effective and used in benign applications.
Hard to think that the tiny brain of a honey bee could hold so much promise in terms of directing autonomous flight. I would think studying the characteristics of migrating birds would have more impact on AI advances in this area.
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.