Can a single-celled organism 'change its mind'? New study says yes

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sciborg2

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« on: December 17, 2019, 04:08:15 am »
Can a single-celled organism 'change its mind'? New study says yes

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In an effort to replicate an experiment conducted over a century ago, systems biologists at Harvard Medical School now present compelling evidence confirming at least one single-cell organism—the strikingly trumpet-shaped Stentor roeselii—exhibits a hierarchy of avoidance behaviors.

Exposed repeatedly to the same stimulation—in this case a pulse of irritating particles—the organism can in effect "change its mind" about how to respond, the authors said, indicating a capacity for relatively complex decision-making processes.
The results are published online in Current Biology on Dec. 5.

"Our findings show that single cells can be much more sophisticated than we generally give them credit for," said corresponding study author Jeremy Gunawardena, associate professor of systems biology in the Blavatnik Institute at HMS.

TaoHorror

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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2020, 03:06:19 pm »
I'm mulling over whether these findings assist in our search for source of thought or muddy the waters, hee hee! Pretty cool, fry your brain, research these people are doing. Anything can be explained away, but does learning have to denote consciousness?
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2020, 06:17:05 pm »
Anything can be explained away, but does learning have to denote consciousness?

I'd definitely say "no" to that.  You can have something like a RNN "learn" but the neural network is, seemingly, not at all what I could call conscious at all.  In fact, it doesn't even have a mind, in any way I could think to define it.
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