In a sense, cephalopod intelligence is a form of alien intelligence on this planet. In 1947, funds
from the Marshall Plan – the US program to help rebuild Europe after
the Second World War – were allocated to researchers at Naples Zoological
Station to study the brain of the octopus.
The results of this work, it was hoped, might help US Air Force engineers
design better computers. To this day, however, cephalopod brains remain a mystery (see intelligence,
nature of). Although unusually large, they seem to work along fundamentally
different lines from those of primates, like ourselves. Much processing
in the cephalopod nervous system appears to be done in ganglia distributed
around the body. Part of the reason for this is that these creatures communicate
via fast-changing patterns of body color for which a distributed processing
network is essential.
arms do the thinking (BBC news)
songs of the
FORMS OF LIFE
AND NON-HUMAN INTELLIGENCE