#esiStateOfTheArt

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Decoding the Superorganism: From Collective Cognition to Artificial Intelligence

#esiStateOfTheArt talk by Dr Thomas O'Shea-Wheller

An Environment and Sustainability Institute seminar
Date30 January 2023
Time13:00 to 14:00
PlaceEnvironment and Sustainability Institute

This will be held at the ESI Trevithick Room. If you prefer to attend this talk online, please email esidirector@exeter.ac.uk for a Microsoft Teams link.

Dr Thomas O’Shea-Wheller, Research Fellow with the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) and the Centre for Ecology and Conservation (CEC), is our Featured Academic for January 2023

Abstract:

Colonies of social insects are biological benchmarks of adaptive self-organisation. Unlike human societies, they function absent centralised control, and are instead regulated primarily through interactions at the local level. This facilitates the emergence of complex collective behaviour from simple rules, while enhancing network flexibility and system redundancy. Notably, certain highly eusocial species function as integrated ‘superorganisms’—societies that are conceptually analogous to single multicellular bodies. Indeed, processes usually organised at a cellular level—such as the differentiation of germ and soma, or the formation of neural networks—may occur across discrete individuals, presenting unique opportunities for both observation and manipulation. Here, I outline the consequent utility of social insect models when addressing fundamental and applied challenges in biology. Additionally, I summarise how recent advances in artificial intelligence and automated tracking are enabling unprecedented insight into these complex systems.

More about Dr Thomas O'Shea-Wheller here.


Registration informationThis will be held at the ESI Trevithick Room. If you prefer to attend this talk online, please email esidirector@exeter.ac.uk for a Microsoft Teams link.
CostFree
OrganizerEnvironment and Sustainability Institute
Tel+4401326259490
Email

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