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Surprisingly efficient snail brains could help make robots smarter

Snails use two brain cells to make "complex decisions"... about whether to eat or not.
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How snails think about eating could inform future robot decision-making designs. University of Sussex researchers have discovered that the creatures use just two brain cells for complex decisions: one cell told the snail if it was hungry, while another told it if food was near. Scientists attached electrodes to the snails' brains to measure activity -- which hopefully looked adorable. The takeaway is that it could help design efficient robot brains using the least possible number of components yet still capable of performing complex tasks. Lead researcher Professor George Kemenes added that it: "also shows how this system helps to manage how much energy they use once they have made a decision."

Searching for (and consuming food) is a surprisingly complex goal-directed behavior, essential for survival. It appears snails are particularly efficient at processing these decisions. According to Kemenes, the study was also able to show "how this system helps to manage how much energy they use once they have made a decision." Then again, snails have never had to decide whether to get Animal Style fries or not.

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