On the joys of vegetable intelligence

On the joys of vegetable intelligence

Summary: If there's a plausible reason for light bulbs to have intelligence, then why not everything else?

TOPICS: Collaboration

Fujitsu has developed a light bulb that will send you an SMS when it dies(which is kind of creepy when you think about it--sort of a message from beyond the grave). If you get the message at work, you can buy a bulb on your way home and thereby 1) minimize the time you spend in the dark, and 2) avoid having to stock bulbs in your cupboards. Don't smirk: square feet are at a premium in Tokyo and any extra closet space is probably appreciated.

So what?

So, okay, I have a confession: my boss, whom I respect immensely, once forced one of his researchers to make a talking plant. We're not a wet lab: it was just a potted rubber tree plant with a microphone and speaker concealed in its branches. You could ask it how things were, and it would respond with something plausible ("My roots feel a bit dry; could you water me?") if a little self-centered. My boss's contention was that one day everything was going to have intelligence, so the only question was what behavior these things would exhibit. Which I thought was like saying, a century ago, that "motors are the heart of the industrial revolution--every object will have one," which rather overstates the case. But...lightbulbs. I mean, who would have thought? If there's a plausible reason for light bulbs to have intelligence (to wit: tightening up your personal supply chain so you don't have to carry inventory), then why not everything else? Why shouldn't trees know when they're on fire and be able to dial for help? Why shouldn't my beer stein signal the bartender when it's empty? Or "clam up" when I've had enough? And, yes, boss, I finally admit it, why shouldn't my philodendron shout up the stairs, "I think I have aphids; could you spray me?" just as I climb into bed at night?

Why spaghetti does not break in half...100 GB of storage for your cell phone....Algae to fuel our cars....In his Emerging Technology Trends blog, Roland Piquepaill explores a wide range of new technologies that are modifying our way of life.

Topic: Collaboration

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  • Creepier

    Carrying with you a piece of electronics that announces a lightbulb has expired.

    Daring words these days, It can wait.
    Anton Philidor
    • I find lightbulbs tend to die as I turn them all.

      So, something that tells me the lightbulb has died is pretty useless unless my lightbulbs are on while unattended. Would not the logic be smarter to have the lightbulb not on and thus not consuming electricity if there was no one to observe that the light was out in the first place?

      Not that there are no applications for a lightbulb being able to inform someone that they've burned out. But I cannot rightly think of a home market for such a technology.
      • That would be turn them on. (NT)

      • I've endured debates...

        ... between people holding that turning lightbulbs off saves energy and those holding that turning lightbulbs off costs energy because the shock of turning them on and off causes them to burn out sooner.

        I am very polite.

        I wait until the debate grows quiet for a moment, then turn the topic to something interesting, like the anticipated number of versions of Office to go with the anticipated number of versions of Windows.

        Both sides of the lightbulb dispute are united in their response to the introduction of this topic. If I have accomplished nothing else, I have found common ground.
        Anton Philidor
  • Better put them on pets!

    Why worry for something as robust as a lightbulb? The humble fridge needs some more attention! Hey better still put all those devices in pets or babies.. No more hearing them whine... Heaven...
  • We want to believe things are intelligent

    but actually they are not:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Weizenbaum and the link to ELIZA in particular, perhaps the origin for the talking plant idea.
  • Why shouldn't my beer stein signal the bartender

    Now that's technology that we could really use.