Scientists report in the journal eNeuro that they’ve built an artificially intelligent ocean predator that behaves a lot like the original flesh-and-blood organism on which it was modeled. The virtual creature, “Cyberslug,” reacts to food and responds to members of its own kind much like the actual animal, the sea slug Pleurobranchaea californica, does.
Unlike most other AI entities, Cyberslug has a simple self-awareness, said University of Illinois molecular and integrative physiology professor Rhanor Gillette, who led the work with software engineer Mikhail Voloshin.
“That is, it relates its motivation and memories to its perception of the external world, and it reacts to information on the basis of how that information makes it feel,” Gillette said.
Cyberslug knows when it’s hungry, for example. It also has learned which other kinds of virtual sea slugs are yummy to eat and which are less desirable.