If you’ve got your shorts in a bunch because the government is wasting your tax dollars on ant science, consider the following:
ONE of the bugaboos that authors of science fiction sometimes use to scare their human readers is the idea that ants may develop intelligence and take over the Earth. The purposeful collective activity of ants and other social insects does, indeed, look intelligent on the surface. An illusion, presumably. But it might be a good enough illusion for computer scientists to exploit. The search for artificial intelligence modelled on human brains has been a dismal failure. AI based on ant behaviour, though, is having some success.
One thing the article only touches on is the tremendous efficiency gained when industries adopt ant-based optimizations to determine the best shipping routes. The company Air Liquide, to cite one example, saves over 6 million dollars a year with ant-based systems. That’s a powerful incentive for continued investment in basic research.