On the joys of vegetable intelligence

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

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.