Re: Q: Ant colonies and capitalism?

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Mon Jan 08 2001 - 05:16:24 MST

"zeb haradon" <> writes:

> The experiment to do here would be to see if a rogue ant, seperated from the
> colony, lives longer then the average lifespan of an ant serving the queen.
> I would think that this would be true, since she'd not have to surrender any
> of her food to her siblings.

I seriously doubt it, since ants are very dependent on efficiencies of
scale, labor division and mutual protection. They also spend quite a
bit of energy in maintaining proper microclimates and ecologies. In
many species a warrior ant is unable to feed itself, if I recall

> Another answer: The "colony" is not so much a collection of individuals, as
> it is an individual entity itself, and the ants should be seen as analogous
> to cells that make up an individual's body. The queen is the "brain".

The queen as brain idea seems to be very popular (witness a lot of bad
sf about hive societies). I guess it is a reflection of the
centralistic ideas about societies we have had in our culture until
recently, where the highest power should also be the central decision
maker. In ant colonies there is a much more distributed decision
system; the queen at most regulates the overall chemical "mood" of the
colony and its subsequent behavior, not what is to be done or not done
in different cases.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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