Sci-Fi in Ag: The Waging War of Plant-Internet Bots
Article Notes: This monthly column takes some crazy sounding ideas and applies them to the field of Ag Tech. The purpose of this is purely entertainment, but hey, if we can spread ideas or ignite imaginations, how awesome is that?
Early Indoor Gardening
A new discovery in North Africa at one of the Libyan Saharan archaeological sites found ficus trees preserved alongside pottery. It wasn’t because those early humans had corner offices they needed to furnish, but instead because these trees were added to pots so these early humans could eat them. Today’s modern plants are bred for easy harvesting; no such luxury existed 10,000 years ago. Humans at that time had to deal with plants that had great defense mechanisms.
This North African site is now the earliest direct evidence of humans processing plants for food, and it occurred thousands of years before any evidence of the domestication of plants and animals. The endless benefits of processing your own food has led researchers to believe that these tools helped humanity through the hunters and gatherers phase and into a food producing culture.
Internet Bots Get Smart…And Go To War
Earlier this year a group of researchers at the University of Oxford published a nine-year study on Wikipedia internet bots. Bots are created to help with the endless little alterations that need to happen to support Wikipedia’s 40 million articles written in 293 languages. These bots can do everything from adding links, undoing vandalism, flagging copyright violations, checking spelling and grammar, and a plethora of other tasks.
The problem that came to fruition (yes, pun intended) is that language ‘rules’ in particular are not so black and white. What did these researchers find? That the bots waged war on each other, silently, in the depths of the internet, changing, unchanging, doing, and redoing the work of the other bots.
And this went on for years and years, relatively unnoticed; it continues yet today.
Dust Particles Give Intelligence to Plants
Hormonal Sentience is a process in which plants can, to a degree, communicate with each other. Several months ago I wrote an article about Nueral Dust Motes that can wirelessly communicate data about plants to an artificial intelligence platform. The platform can make specific recommendations about the plant and optimize it without human intervention when it deploys robots to deposit water, nutrients, etc. Basically, every plant will have its own wifi connection.
“Each neural dust mote possesses a piezoelectric crystal that can convert mechanical power from ultrasonic pulses broadcast outside of the body into electrical power…electronics in the neural dust motes can alter the pulses that get scattered outward, and so can wirelessly transmit data…in experiments with rats, the researchers found that neural dust motes implanted in the nerve and muscle fibers in the leg could record and transmit electrical data.”
Plants compete for survival against other plants, biologically, for nutrients, water, sunlight, and territory. Ten thousand years ago it would have been unimaginable to think that in the year 2017 we would have 30-ton machinery driving itself via satellites in outer space, while we talk to each other over invisible radio waves. Sourcery, no doubt. In my mind, it is not impossible to have plants connected to the internet to communicate with artificial intelligence. Then, over time, plants wise up enough and become their own bots to trick artificial intelligence into giving itself more nutrients and water.
Plants Evolve Into Creating Bots…And Wage War with Each Other
Are we at a anthropological turning point? From hunters and gatherers, to a food producing society, to unleashing technology where plants grow themselves and wage war over the internet like wiki bots?
It’s not outside the realm of possibility.