Friday Cephalopod: Behold, our new Cyborg Overlords!

A plexiglass box full of blinking circuitry might be your image of the future of artificial intelligence, but I’ll have you know the real deal will be the achievement of maximum cephalopod density in a convenient cubical container. The tentacles snaking out the sides will just be a bonus.



  1. says

    Truman the octopus saw the locks
    That closed the outer, bigger, box,
    Inside of which, he had a hunch,
    Was one more box, which held his lunch.

    Truman the octopus could have tried
    To break the locks and reach inside
    Or else, he could have set the goal
    Of fitting through a two-inch hole

    Truman the octopus, big and strong,
    Some 30 pounds, and 7 feet long,
    Saw lunch, and would not be denied;
    The tiny hole? He crawled inside!

    Truman the octopus filled the box,
    But never did release the locks;
    He tried for nearly half an hour,
    But found no crabs he could devour.

    Truman the octopus slithered out
    (To plot some more, I have no doubt)
    The truth? I’d give fantastic odds:
    The next world leaders? Cephalopods.

  2. John Phillips, FCD says

    Chris and Fish, read the article at the supplied link where all is revealed. In truth it’s just another cephalopod practising for world domination.

  3. marc buhler says

    I just now happened to follow a link from an old blog post of ‘erv’ I had bookmarked, kind of wondering why I had bookmarked it, and found myself re-living the “Expelled from Expelled” thing. Of course the comments to that post started flagging ‘Digg’ and just being curious about such things, I glanced at that site, too.

    You know what?

    It was 350 days ago that this happened!

    Yes – nearly a year now!

    PZ – I hope you mark the occasion well and put it in a decent perspective.

  4. says

    You should read some of the work of Drs. Roland Anderson (Seattle Aquarium) and Jennifer Mather (U Lethbridge) who have worked with this particular octopus species (Enteroctopus dolfleini). These animals are sentient – they play with toys, have distinct personalities, and remember who does what to them. Generally, I regard them as smarter than the typical undergrad…

    Oh, and for this species, an individual 7 feet long, is a small individual (tentacle length can reach about 18 feet…).

  5. c-law says

    singing “I put my squid in a box!”
    (I know it’s an octopus, but it doesn’t match the song’s meter, sorry)

  6. Chris Davis says

    @ John Phillips, FCD – #5

    I read the article. Not a word about Schrödinger.

  7. llewelly says

    honestly, I was disappointed to read the octopus didn’t open the smaller box that was inside the large box it stuffed itself into. (On the other hand, perhaps it is hiding something)

  8. SteveM says

    It always amazes me how they can squish themselves through such small openings. Even boneless and all, it seems like certain organs (like the brain) would not tolerate being squished like that.

  9. says

    I’m getting a suitcase that looks like that, especially the tentacle hanging out of it.

    I’m wondering, though, how it gets enough oxygen in there. It seems that without a side being open, or oxygenated water being pumped into it, the cephalopod would run out of O2 rather quickly. I assume that the issue has been resolved, I just don’t know how.

    Glen D

  10. Ralph Hartley says

    Maximum Cephalopod density? I would think Truman (the octopus) could fit into an even smaller box if there weren’t a box of crabs in there with him. But then he might not want to.

    According to the linked story, he was supposed to open the outer box, and then the inner one. Instead he squezed through a two inch hole in the outer box, but couldn’t open the inner one (at least not while he was inside).

    After trying for half an hour, he gave up and came out. The story doesn’t say if he eventually figured out how to open the boxes the “right” way.

  11. Kirk says

    Ralph, the indication in the original press release is that this is the normal way of feeding him, so he’s probably figured out the latches before. He normally feeds at night, but he just got impatient, or decided to try it another way!

    His caretaker says he steps up the challenges for the octopi, so Truman previously learned how to just open one box, and he’s stepped up to the two-box challenge.

  12. Carlie says

    I’m trying to imagine what the poor thing thought when he finally got in the box. “God DAMN IT, another fucking box? What the hell kind of sadists are those people out there, anyway? Fuck the crabs, I’m eating Joey the shark and it’s on their heads.”

  13. hubertus story says

    Raivo Pommer

    Caos und Arbeitlos

    Der Machtkampf zwischen Continental und Schaeffler eskaliert. Conti-Aufsichtsratschef Hubertus von Grünberg trat jetzt mit sofortiger Wirkung zurück.

    «Es zeichnet sich ab, dass Continental weiter Schaden nimmt«, sagte der 66-Jährige gestern in Frankfurt nach einer Sitzung des Aufsichtsrats des Autozulieferers. «Wir laufen Gefahr, in das Schaeffler-Problem hineingezogen zu werden.« Von Grünberg kritisierte, die schwer angeschlagene Schaeffler-Gruppe sei der Forderung nach einem tragfähigen Zukunftskonzept nicht nachgekommen und stattdessen auf Konfrontationskurs gegangen.

    Der Herzogenauracher Autozulieferer, der wegen der auf Pump finanzierten Conti-Übernahme hoch verschuldet ist, wies die Vorwürfe von Grünbergs zurück. Grünberg habe das Vertrauen im Aufsichtsrat verloren, hieß es. Die Besprechung eines Zukunftskonzeptes habe bei der Sitzung in Frankfurt überhaupt nicht auf der Agenda gestanden.

  14. eddie says

    I know the recession’s biting, but I didn’t think banks were that desperate.