[ExI] Ants to spike

Anders Sandberg asa at nada.kth.se
Mon Oct 19 20:10:34 UTC 2009

jameschoate at austin.rr.com wrote:
> There are lots of papers on arxiv.org about ants, their behavior, and how
> they apply it to traffic analysis.

But most of them are about ant algorithms rather than real formicids;
learning how Spike's garden ants behave from them is like trying to learn
psychology from the robotics papers on arxiv.

Besides it is much more fun to actually do experiments oneself. Which laws
of physics have we actually tested at home, lately? (I think my latest
experiment was when I tried to extract lead from paint chips by boiling
them in vinegar and identify it by precipitating it with salt; the
experiment failed but smelled wonderfully of Chemistry)

That said, I think Spike should check out this paper:
"Here, we present an experimental study of ants confronted with two
alternative routes. We find that pheromone-based attraction generates one
trail at low densities, whereas at a high level of crowding, another trail
is established before traffic volume is affected, which guarantees that an
optimal rate of food return is maintained. "

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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