The Intelligent Octopus: Background information when reading The Mountain in the Sea

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The Mountain in the Sea

A Novel

by Ray Nayler

The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler X
The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2022, 464 pages

    Jun 20, 2023, 464 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
David Bahia
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The Intelligent Octopus

This article relates to The Mountain in the Sea

Octopus on the ocean floorIn Ray Nayler's The Mountain in the Sea, the characters Ha Nguyen and Evrim discuss at length the extraordinary neurological traits of octopuses and how they are likely the key to unlocking a model of consciousness completely alien to humans. Ha mentions, for one, that two-thirds of an octopus's neurons are not even in its brain but spread out across all of its eight limbs; the tentacles each do their own thinking and receive commands from the central brain only some of the time. To loosely borrow a human phrase, we might be led to believe, based on this information, that the octopus's left hand might not know what the right hand is thinking, or the next right hand, or the next…

In neurobiology, this uniquely decentralized nervous system is referred to as "embodied intelligence." The term is taken from "embodied organization," a holistic approach in the field of robotics to designing robots that must be able to process massive amounts of information in order to independently ...

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