A piece of plastic can learn through training, just like animals

The house of cards that is modern “science” continues to crumble, albeit slowly. Several years ago I made a post on the ability of an “inanimate” piece of matter (dough) to learn simple behaviors through repetitive training, akin to the widely publicized “Pavlov dog”. The dough study references an older one, performed in the 1950s with metals as training subjects, as an inspiration.



That dough study above generated huge controversy  online with “scientific experts” from both sides of the political spectrum universally condemning the study as promoting “animism”. Yet, the findings are nothing new and these principles of learning, fatigue, recovery and hysteresis in general have been demonstrated more than a century ago by JC Bose in Cambridge and other UK institutions of higher learning. Furthermore, there are multiple archaeological artifacts suggesting this property of matter was known to most ancient cultures going as far back as the Babylonians / Assyrians.


Then, just as now, such research was condemned as “vitalism”, “animism”, “reactionary”, “revolutionary”, “subversive”, etc. Well, whatever adjective may be attached to it, the independent confirmation of these phenomena over a span of over a century makes them another adjective too – true. Maybe it is the idea of dualism of matter (i.e. living, non-living) that is false and together with it more than a century of (fake) science needs to go the way of the Dodo.



“…Scientists have trained plastic to walk on its own using a combination of photosensitive bio-inspiration and light-reactive coatings. Look at it go! The scientists use an analogy to Pavlov’s dog, but the truth is more like how a plant bends toward the sun and away from darkness. Light and heat reaction induce constriction or expansion that bends joints and enables motion. For plants, any Pavlovian reaction is built in because the light itself is the food. But the plastic robot is trained to respond to light even after the heat stimulus is removed, which is the Pavlovian side.”

“…To condition a non-coded material to execute commands, scientists used the way plants and animals are conditioned to respond to stimuli like light, other sensory data, and danger. “Learning can be considered as a sequence of processes whereby a biological system or organism modifies its behavior upon past experiences,” the researchers write. By keeping their plastic walker extremely simple and limiting its stimuli very carefully, they adapted natural organism learning to plastic. First, the plastic experienced heat separately and responded to that. The researchers exposed it to light separately as well, and nothing happened. Then the plastic was “trained” by repeated exposure to both light and heat simultaneously. When heat was taken away, the material continued to respond only to light. By combining light arrays with responsive materials, the scientists have taught a plastic item how to learn a very simple, but real behavior. “We propose that concepts inspired by the simplest forms of associative learning can act as a guide to design adaptive functional materials,” they conclude. This complex setup seems analogous to how sensory input and electrical zaps seem to be what guide the human brain, with dozens of “peripheral devices” like nerve-laced skin surface and stereoscope vision combining to form not just a picture of the world, but a plan to interact with it.”

Author: haidut