Scientists have created an artificial cell that turned out to be so similar to the living that it was misled by these cells, with which they were placed, and the latter began to try to communicate with them. This kind of "option" in a Turing test at the cellular level proves the opinion that someday robots will not only be able to fool people, but will be quite capable to make us think that we are not communicating with the machine, and with their own kind.
"We are interested in the question of the division between living and nonliving chemical systems for quite some time, but until now it was not clear to what extent the level of this difference will be able to hold out" — says one of the researchers Sheref S. Muncie from the University of Trento.
"Indeed, it is possible to create artificial cells that are able to chemically communicate with bacteria."
Proposed over 60 years ago Alan Turing — British mathematician, logician, cryptographer, which had a significant influence on the development of computer science, the Turing test is designed to determine the level of intelligence of a machine by solving a single question: can a machine fool a person and make him think that he is talking with a live person and not a robot?
Modern robots are so technologically advanced that to some extent even their "silence" may one day seem to some too suspicious. Therefore, the researchers decided to use study more primitive in every sense of the type of artificial intelligence – nonliving, artificial cells created in the laboratory.
To obtain artificial cells, Mansi and his team created the cell structure and gave them the basic DNA instructions that they could use for the production of RNA which, in turn, will be able to produce certain proteins in response to external stimuli. This stimulus was in this case, acyl-homoserine-lactone (AHL) secreted by the bacteria. When the artificial cell was placed next to the live bacteria of three species – E. coli, Vibrio fischeri and Escherichia coli — those in response to AHL began to manufacture the proteins that would indicate that an artificial cell "listened" to their neighbors.
However, just listen to what others say, is not enough. If you want to convince someone that you are as lively as they are, then you need to learn how to engage in bilateral dialogue. So as soon as scientists were convinced that they have created artificial cells are perceived by others as living, the researchers gave them the ability to communicate. This kind of communication was the production of cells of the AHL, which could be perceived by the bacteria.
This process mimics the way by which simple life forms communicate with each other in nature – bacteria with the bacteria, bacteria with algae and so on. In addition, it theoretically proves the possibility of creating cells that act as mediators for organisms who have problems with communication.
"Artificial cells can feel substances usually produced by bacteria. In response, they synthesize and release chemical signals back to the bacteria" — said Mansi.
"Such artificial cells can perfectly cope with the work on simulation of the natural cellular life. They can even be programmed to operate in an intermediary making the communication path between organisms that in natural conditions among themselves not to communicate."
Artificial cells is not yet ideal. Still requires a huge amount of work. Especially in terms of self-sufficiency of such cells. Mansi explains that at the moment the "mode of communication" is also created by artificial means and then integrated into the artificial cells. Ideally it would be as if an artificial cell was able to create a means of communication.
However, the fact that live bacteria are able to detect these differences, says that such artificial cells on a larger scale can be used in a more comprehensive and coherent networks of microorganisms that usually do not have the habit to communicate. Moreover, scientists suggest that in some cases, an artificial cell can be used as a mediator to "negotiate" with pathogenic organisms. With the help of them you can neutralize entire colonies of harmful bacteria in the body.
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