Wikki definition : ‘In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is a phenomenon whereby larger entities arise through interactions among smaller or simpler entities such that the larger entities exhibit properties the smaller/simpler entities do not exhibit.’
This is similar to a social network on the internet. Its similar to a colony of ants or bees, or a flock of birds, where by working together they are capable of greater things.
Its also similar to a plant.
Plants have no central brain or command centre but have multiple data processing centres and intelligence is distributed. What ‘intelligence’ you may ask?
Much of the research on plant intelligence has been inspired by the new science of networks, distributed computing, and swarm behavior, which has demonstrated some of the ways in which remarkably brainy behavior can emerge in the absence of actual brains.
Darwin was the first to identify what he called the ‘root brain’. He realized the decision making and directing capacity of roots was more than ‘look for water’ and ‘grow downwards’. Roots do not grow only as directed by their genes. They assess conditions and needs and then ‘decide’ which way to grow. The environment is experienced through the epidermis of the probing cells at the root tips, they then direct the genes to switch on and off, influencing the plants behaviour. The recently defined science of Epigenetics in action.
Even a very small plant has over 15 million root tips! A tree has 100s of millions. Because plants are modular they distribute risk by having their parts dispensable. Unlike animals who have their functions in vital organs and have very limited regeneration, plants can have 90% of their structure removed and still regenerate.
Megacomputers are similar to a human brain with a central processor, but the internet is similar to plant and insect societies. The internet was conceived as a modular system to increase security, distributed intelligence means survival even if parts are destroyed in an attack.
Darwin identified the area just in front of each root tip which he wrote ‘acts like the brain of one of the lower animals’. Here electrical signals closely resemble signals sent by an animals brain neurons.
Now called the ‘transition zone’ each tip is a data processing centre in a network. Each plant is like a living internet. Instead of ‘brain,’ think ‘network.’
Like a colony of ants the root tips are not connected physically, so how do they communicate? It is still unknown. Scientists have speculated that it’s a chemical process, or electro magnetic fields - but maybe its sound or vibration? http://www.livescience.com/27802-plants-trees-talk-with-sound.html
Plants can breathe without lungs, nourish without a mouth or stomach, are erect without a skeleton and make decisions without a brain. They can sense, despite lacking sensory organs we recognize. So why do we doubt they can think?
If intelligence is as plant biologist Stefano Mancuso defines it - ‘the ability to solve problems’ - then plants win hands down. 99% of the planet is covered with plants, plants are the dominant species and humans could not survive with out plants.
Scientists seem more happy with the term ‘intelligent behaviour’ and a group led by Mancuso are researching what they for now conservatively call ‘Plant signaling and behaviour’ http://www.plantbehavior.org/
Mancuso thinks we’re willing to accept artificial intelligence because computers are our creations, and so reflect our own intelligence back at us. They are also our dependents, unlike plants: “If we were to vanish tomorrow, the plants would be fine, but if the plants vanished …” Our dependence on plants breeds a contempt for them, Mancuso believes, plants “remind us of our weakness.”
Bruce Lipton PhD’s revolutionary research has uncovered the missing connections between biology, psychology and spirituality. Lipton states that our individual mind like an individual cell has far less awareness than the consciousness of the whole group.
When a cell fulfills its evolution, it assembles into colonies with other evolved cells to share and expand the capability of consciousness. There’s a “no cell left behind” attitude and the economic appropriation of resources to support the whole.
Lipton says we would do well as a collective to evolve to such a high level of consciousness as our cells.
He writes, “Science suggests that the next stage of human evolution will be marked by awareness that we are all interdependent cells within the super-organism called humanity.”
The Power of Movement of Plants, Charles & Francis Darwin https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20514226
Great article by Micheal Pollen
Bruce Lipton - Initiating Global Evolution: The Science of Emergence