Learning from Bacteria about Social Networks

Uploaded by GoogleTechTalks on 10.10.2011

>> Welcome everybody. It is my distinct pleasure to host professor Eshel Ben-Jacob and Zann
Gill who helped us arrange this, I mean, Zann is our friend for a long time, she runs the
Microbes and Mind forum which I do recommend that you look it up using your favorite search
engine and you will find a lot of interesting information on her website.
>> GILL: Well, we are really fortunate to have Professor Eshel Ben-Jacob here from Tel
Aviv University where he is a--he holds the Maguy-Glass Chair of Physics and as past presenter
of the Israel Physical Society. The significance of his work is that he has uncovered basic
principles in physics that have a broad range of applications. So, he's not only co-developed
the first hybrid neural memory chip which was named by scientific American as one--in
2007, as one of the 50 most important achievements in all fields of science and technology for
that year. He--his principles have been applied in such diverse areas as neural networks in
the brain, the immune system search--next generation search by a social network and
stock market volatility and collapse, so we're really looking forward to what he has to say
and to your questions. And please put your comments also on the sign up, that's all.
>> BEN-JACOB: Okay. Thank you. Good morning to everybody. It's not going to be a formal
talk so please ask questions during the lecture. So, let's go. Okay. So what you see, and I'll
take you through some of the recent and let you form thinking, I'll tell you what you
think you see, and then I'll give you some hints to convince you that the bacteria are
intelligent and not just as intelligent but we can learn from their social intelligence
about many things and including maybe things that you could hear and do [INDISTINCT] okay.
So let's go. Okay. So just introduction, and people like to think about themselves. So
the first thing is to show you something that we can define as clashes or fundamental intelligence.
What you're going to see here happens in this very moment in the body of each and every
one of you. These are red blood cells, this is a white blood cell, this is a bacterium.
The white blood cell wants to eat the bacterium, the bacterium would like to survive. So, now,
you see what happens and try to see that it runs away, but try to figure out if it really
runs away, it knows what it's doing or it's just making a random walk, okay. To help you,
there will be another bacterium that will be here on the side which is not chased and
then look what it does, okay? So let's play the movie. The music is not going inside your
body now. Look at this bond here, the one which is [INDISTINCT]. Okay, sorry about that.
I forgot that there are some words that's not supposed to be mentioned on the YouTube,
but since this movie is from YouTube, I guess it's okay. Now, what you saw here, that it's
running away, the bacterium, it's funny but it's very serious; because it means that the
bacterium is able to sense chemicals or sometimes even rippers formed by the white blood cell,
keep memory of what happens before, process the information and react accordingly. If
you noticed from time to time it makes 90 degrees angle, around the way, at the same
time the white blood cell has to be able to sense chemicals that's created by the bacterium,
her memory process that information and react accordingly. And you can play games like this,
when I say a game, it requires some work to model the emotion of the white blood cells,
I don't have time to get in to it but there's some movies like this that they're chasing.
And you see this is the case that eventually who will win. Some of you might tell that
one of the leading health problem in the world is the fact that we have multiple drug resistance
bacteria, and this is one of the highest risk on our health. This is on one hand, on the
other hand, bacteria are also best friends. Some of you don't know, although here you
have some nice food--healthy food, but bacteria in our guts process eventually the food, we
would not be able to live without the bacteria in our guts, they also communicate with our
brain, they decompose all our waste products and so on and so forth. But, let's talk about
the risk of bacteria and what we realize then last year, the bacteria strikes back. After
the error that we saw that we use antibiotics, we can get rid of all the bacteria-caused
diseases. All of a sudden, we--these diseases re-appear and the death rates in hospitals
in the west from bacteria is number three. In the west. Okay, so how come? We just saw
how the white blood cell won, how can it be? Apparently, we overlooked something when we
treated bacteria and what we did is a basic mistake that people do when they have clashes,
we under mind the capabilities of our opponent. And what I'm trying to convince you is that
bacteria form social networks, not only one colony from a big social network but different
colonies of different species form social networks and they form social network long
before Google appeared, they formed social networks all over the globe. When we developed
antibiotic, it takes us about five to seven years, hundred and millions of dollars, the
bacteria develop their resistance within a year or two and they share their resistance
in cassettes, genetic cassettes called plasmates to other bacteria all over the globe within
a year or two, okay. So let's just introduce you to bacteria and the wisdom of the colony.
What you see here, as I mentioned before, it's supposed to be a circle, okay. This is
real life, the pattern is the real pattern, the colors are artistic colors that they change
and translated the colors from blue to dark blue to light blue, to red and white, these
are high concentration and the red is lower concentration, and actually, the bacteria
here, this is a stain that I've discovered and then they expand outward. This stain is
specialized in moving on very hard surfaces. What you see here, many things that are discussed
to you, but to give you real idea or to shock you, is that this is about 14 centimeter or
six inches, the size of the bacterium is about one micron. The number of bacteria says here,
is about 100 times the number of people on earth. And each one is both an ecto and spectator
in this big global village, which is many folds larger than the number of people on
the earth. And they all know what they doing, you see how symmetric it is? They send these
pioneering parties, that I'll show you on a second. This pioneering party are also the
production organ of the bacteria, the bacteria that turn around like merry goes around, in
this way they paved their way for the rest of the colony to expand. And let's look, zoom
in, at the beginning when they just start. You see each about here is a [INDISTINCT]
bacterium, they rate, its real rate and the magnifications is 500 times magnification.
This is from my movie, I have to mention, that I made for the BBC so I can take extra
permit and some of a sound that you will--here it's not my sound, but of an English movie.
>> Their ability to organize and adapt to change explains why bacteria threaten our
health, even when we use antibiotics against them. It also explains why they've made such
a good job of colonizing the rest of the world. From deep in the earth's crust to the edge
of space, maybe even beyond. Bacteria are smart bugs all right.
>> BEN-JACOB: The last part that you saw here is a not real time but is accelerated one
times sixty, one to sixty. Okay. This is how they go, the same bacteria on a very hard
surface, so they have to work as a group and pave the way. If you 'got them on a surface
which is not so hard, this bacteria I forgot to mention, they are also lubricating bacteria.
In order to move on the surface, they have to secrete lubricants that enables them to
swim together and that's--yeah. >> Do they rotate differently in the [INDISTINCT]
>> BEN-JACOB: Good question. These are not, they form the rotation is, innate rotation,
they--it's not due to the magnetic field on earth, they are also Magnetotactic bacteria,
that are sensitive to the magnetic field and they behave differently in the north and the
south hemisphere. Okay, thank you. Okay. When you got them on a surface which is not so
hard, what they do, instead of having these groups--pioneering group that pave the way,
they send swarms. Okay, I'm sure that many here, because we are in California are marathon
runners. So, I'll give you an idea of this swarm, that you'd see what happens. Okay.
So, this is a swarm. To get a prospective to human being, each dot is one bacterium,
so think about it, that this is a swarm of a group of thousands or hundredths of thousand
to form a marathon runners, because they move quite fast. They move it to a speed of about
10 seconds per a hundred meters. In order to move, they have to pave the way, so all
these marathon runner take buckets of oil, maybe skater, I should say, that they put
down and they move. That's what keeps them together. This is just a free motion that
I'll show you and then I'll show you what happens when they find food in the vicinity.
Okay, so look at the motion. The motion is quite complex. You see some come here, go
back, and come from here and go back and this huge swarm is moving on, okay? Now, let's
see if they are really smart. What does it mean really smart? Let's go to [INDISTINCT].
Now they move along and what I do, I add here a food source. Think about it, that each one
of the marathon runners is also blind. He cannot see that there is a pizza stand about,
let's say five miles away, okay? What they can do is smell the pizza in it's local location.
And calculate the changes in the smell and communicate with the other guy. Now, so this
is the swarm moving and you'd see what happen, now for you to be able to sync freely as they
say, I tell you, that in order to do what they do, you must save collective or distributed
information processing and social networking by chemical tweeting. Okay, so now, let's
see what they do. So, you add this thing, okay, so the food diffuses, and then look
at it, they move, it takes them sometime, they don't carry a lot of wisdom, so it takes
them sometime to do the processing, okay. And they go and go and slow. There are some
signals going on, and then collectively, they go to the food. Now, think about it. I don't
know here in the U.S. but in Israel if we'll have a group like these of marathon runners,
then we will eat pizza and they smell the pizza, they all rush over and there will be
a big mess. Here, they have to coordinate because in order to make this turn, the bacteria
over here have to communicate with the bacteria over here and all of them, the ones which
are farther away have to run faster so the entire swan will turn. Yes.
>> Is there a--do you see any type of leaders per se or is it just a group?
>> BEN-JACOB: Okay. That's a--again, excellent question. One of the special things about
the bacteria and that's maybe why it is so important for social networking that we see
right now. In the world, human being now try to imitate the bacteria, there is no leader.
They all change but we will see later, there is a diff--a distribution of tasks. So each
one can play as a role, but when they play a role, there is a distribution of task, cell
differentiation and they maintain it over some time. But there is no pre-born leader
or elected leader, although, there are some bacteria in some condition that are differentiated
between adventurous and social. Those that like to take risks and those that like to
stay back. Yes? >> How do communication hubs expose that all
[INDISTINCT] >> BEN-JACOB: Okay. There is--there are communication
hubs that a--in the picture that I showed before, that you have this centers, some of
the center is communication hub, they are less active in looking for food, eating and
reproducing, so they invest less in reproduction and more in communication than the older one
that stay there in the colony at the beginning and then send messages to the kids, how to
behave themselves. And if they get messages over there, there's antibiotic, what they
do, they tell the colony, move over there. But we'll come to it. Okay. Thanks for the
question. Very important. Yes, I don't remember who was--yes.
>> Do you know whether [INDISTINCT] greater to do the communication?
>> BEN-JACOB: In some cases we know, in many cases we do not. I'll mention it along the
lecture, further on. >> What defines the boundary of this one?
>> BEN-JACOB: What? >> What defines the boundary?
>> BEN-JACOB: The boundary, because they--what define the boundary? Is that they create a
lubricant and this is again I'll show, they are smart enough to secrete the lubricant
that will not be--that will be sufficiently viscous so it will form a boundary. Okay.
So, let's move on. Now let's--we decided--when I was younger I was interested in philosophy,
so, I knew about this dilemma of choice is very popular that you give a donkey two pieces
of food not spinach but--and then, it cannot decide which one to eat and he die from hunger.
If we try to imitate the same thing for a bacteria, now, it sounds like a simple experiment,
relative to the high-tech experiments that people do nowadays but it is not. When you
have a swarm like this moving under the microscope, you want to put two pieces of food at the
right distance, the right amount, it's hard. Sometimes the kitchen look a bit messy and
luckily so, because what we've discovered is something that we didn't expect. So, you
have two pieces of food here and then we got something here and a little pieces here and
what we expected to see, that the swarm would go over here and then go over here. Instead,
the bacteria turn out to be smarter. So first they behave like we expected but then, there
was a change. They even noticed this little piece here and they noticed this little piece
far away and look what they do. Good. Yes. This something--the most--one of the most
exciting thing I ever saw. And we spend--and looked at it and looked at it and looked at
it. We now feel that we have some ideas how--I cannot say that how--how the hell they do
it. Just to show you again in full glory, and then you see that they slow and digest
the food. Slow down after they have the food like an animal that swallow this thing. Okay.
And these are the messages. Bacteria are smart and communicating beasts, unlike people thought
before. Advance communication. Their communications is very advance, I'll show you. Those of you
that will leave, later on I'll show that from one top of decision they use 12 different
messages. And they form messages, a combination of them that are far more complex than the
Twitter messages ahead coffee or the coffee was good or other types of Twitter messages
of 140 characters. If you think about each of the chemical is--has a quite complex structure
and you have all the combination of the chemicals, so the messages, I say tweeting but it's far
more advanced than the usual Twitter messages. And it is important that the communication
and that was very hard to convey that has to do with social networking, that their communication
convey semantic messages; meaning, not only information. And they carry dialog using their
communication and eventually they can make collective--make decisions in a collective
way. And this is essential in the communication for their Social Intelligence and we see distribution
of tasks, distributed the information processing, learning from experience, planning for the
future. What a surprise. Unlike human being, societies, they do plan for the future. If
you give them a lot of food, some people say they are stupid, some people say they are
smart, they don't use all the resources and exhaust all the resources because they know
that things can change. So, they keep things and save for the future. In a population,
they always keep different type of different expertise, different sectors if you compare
it to society so that if conditions would change, they will have some bacteria that
already expert in facing the new conditions. Okay. So, they always keep this and they can
make collective decision and they have collective--rapid collective adaptability. Okay. Take home message
two is Implication is The Power of Social Network. I'll show you the power of cooperation,
self-organization and I'll show you an example of really what we see now in society. That
the social networking of the bacteria can lead to collective identity switch. The bacteria
can really--the entire colony can change it's identity by changing the identity--those of
you who is [INDISTINCT] on biology, epic genetic changes individual bacteria. Okay. So, they
really change themself in a meaningful way, and again the question that's asked before,
without a leader, okay? Just the--read the condition, they communicate and they do it.
And there are also many applications, there are new strategies to fight bacteria that
we showed. Once you understand that they are smart, you understand that in order to fight
bacteria you have to outsmart them and you find new strategies also to make the use of
bacteria. In our guts, you cannot start to understand why eating some substance is good
for you and some is not as good for you. Okay. This is something which is very important,
our application. But new strategies to fight cancer is something recent that we do. Right
now, what happened in society, western society and other societies, in terms of cancer, the
situation is very [INDISTINCT], what it was and which bacteria. People are saying that
cancer cells are defective normal cells with limited capabilities. Because they are mutation,
they are defectives. So, we did not succeed to fight cancer because we undermind their
abilities. We now see many parallelisms between tumor and bacteria. We understand that they
form meta communities. They have very sophisticated communication, cooperation, decision making
and so on and I'll reflect on it later in the future, later on. New game theory, I'll
show you that when they do decision, they have smart new game theory than the game theory
that's usually used in mathematics. And new robots, I'll show you how we can do--some
people in NASA, other places are interested in robots now to explore new terrain. And
I'll show you how we can use some idea of distributed new robots that will show some
Swarming Intelligence and eventually new generation of social networks. So, these will be the
topics, just the structure. Now that we know what are we heading, let's talk about simple
example. This is a bit different stain of bacteria. So, this is a very simple example
because what they do here--I give them a problem. The problem is that this bacteria also, it's
another strain that they develop. In order to move, they need high density to secrete
the fluid, the lubricant. But I don't give them enough food. So, what they do, they make
this branching pattern, okay? Why branching? Because we've seen a branch, the density is
high enough so they can move together. But if you average over, the density of bacteria
fits the amount of food that we have. That's a simple thing. If you look at the--here inside,
you see that they're swimming. The swimming itself is quite fantastic. This is real time
500 magnification and you see how they swim. Now, all these things are--you look at it
and you said, Okay, they're swimming, what the big deal? They're swimming. Well, let's
look a bit closer. Just on this element to show with you the many things that we can
learn, they swim by flagella. Look at this. This is one micron and this is about--can
be 30 microns. So think about it, if I transfer it to human being, that you are one meter--between
one meter and two meters, okay. And you have a tail of about 50 meters, okay. And you move
with such a tail by turning it around, you move like this, okay. Now, think about it
that each of you has a tail of about 40, 50 meters and now you have to go like this somewhere.
What will happen? In one second, all these tails will be big and tangled and you are
not moved anyway. Okay. But somehow you see this is a low density so that you can see
the tails but they can swim in a high density and still manage to do it. We don't know how
to solve this hydro dynamic problem. But we know, and this is important that they move
the tail a few seconds and then they unwind the tail, they turn around and pick a new
direction random. This is how they do random walk. Okay. So, this is the thing. Okay. So,
this is in low density, how they do it but they do it in high density as we saw before.
Okay. Mathematical Ingenuity One. Why Mathematical Ingenuity? Because if you would secrete lubricant
in order to move in a hot surface, you would think that you need to secrete a low viscosity
lubricant so you can swim better. No. But if you will just secrete low viscosity, you
will be--the branches would not be well-defined. And they have to set the level of the viscosity
of the lubricant to be exactly solve this optimization problem that they--we see in
a branch, the density would just be right and the distance between the branches would
just be right. Yes? >> You mentioned, I think the velocity is
like 10 microns per second? >> BEN-JACOB: The other bacteria. In this
one, it's more like, one micron per one second. >> So, they are able to move their body--their
whole body like basically for them to [INDISTINCT] like one micron basically per second. For
us that would be extremely quite fast. >> BEN-JACOB: Yes, that's what I mentioned.
It's--this is running marathon extremely fast, extremely fast.
>> So, how are they--energy regulation or something.
>> BEN-JACOB: Okay. We'll come back to it later, okay? Because it would take me on a
different direction but remember the question and--okay. So--but that's not all they can
do. I had skip this one. This is just to show with you that we also do equations but we
don't want to do, you believe me. Now, if you lower the level of nutrient, a time routine,
they have something dense, low nutrient you have something factor like this. And then
there is a surprise, when you go to very low nutrients, again, it's dense and very same
branches. So this is another challenge that we try to understand for a long time and then
we figure out that they have a trick to do it and the trick is very important to show
with you and this is called chemotaxis. Chemotaxis is very important because it is--it was invented
by the bacteria but it's used throughout the kingdom of all animals. And that's why it
is nice to learn about it. In the case of swimming bacteria what happens, let's say
that they have food over there, and we saw that they do random work and they want to
buy us the work over there. So, how do they do it? What they do, remember, they go like
this, which they stumble, so they make a step and measure the level of smell if you want.
The bacteria measure the concentration of some chemical and then they make another step
and measure it, and then they calculate the difference. If they see that the change in
concentration goes up, they make longer steps in this direction before they tumble around.
Pick a new direction, measure, if it goes down they tumble before. So on average, they
a drift towards the direction of high concentration, this is called attractive, then repulsive
which is the opposite. If they see that it goes up, they make shorter steps. Okay. What
we discovered in the early 90s, that the bacteria use this to do chemotactic signaling. Namely,
they secrete chemicals that cause their peers to either move towards them or to move away
from them. And I'll show you an example of what I mean, they have good times, they have
plenty of food, they send chemicals that tell their peer, come over. Okay, help me, eat
the feast and clean the dishes afterwards. If they don't have enough food or either encounter
some stress, they send chemicals to tell the peers, move away. So there are two elements,
there are additional type of chemotaxis, there is a chemotaxis which acts like a Swiss or
French cheese that if you are from a distance it smells good to you, you get closer, you
smell it and you repel, okay? So, there are all kind of combination of the two things,
but this is a chemotaxis, why it's so important? This is the way that our brain, the neurons,
while together--how the neurons send impulses to connect to other neuron, they use chemotaxis.
Not only do they use chemotaxis, they use chemotaxis--the agents are very similar to
those that had been invented by the bacteria. The way that we reproduce, the sperm swim
and navigates toward the egg, it's the same thing. They use chemotaxis in order to do
the navigation. And moth butterfly moves towards the female; the male moth butterfly it also
use by chemotaxis the female secretes some pheromones and they move like this towards
the female. So this is something which is used all over. Like chemotaxis, the bacteria
use it in order to generate the patterns and if you include it in the model, indeed what
you get is a grey [INDISTINCT]. Okay, now, let's look about--at some implications. So
I show you this bacteria and I told you that we have some implication to social networking.
So, I showed you that they can change the pattern of the colony fit it, adjust it and
so on and so forth but there are some times that despite of all these things, the condition
change so dramatically. Okay, for example, the surfaces, know that--not as hard as it
was before it is a time to a more major change in the pattern of the behavior instead of
acting individually like random walk that I showed you before, now because the condition
change they decide to act in a more organized fashion and make identity change and look
how bacteria do it. So this is the colony that I showed you. Branching, simple branching.
When we go, the same colony start to [INDISTINCT] on condition that the surface is not as hard
or that you put obstacles, some mechanical obstacles or other obstacles you can use imagination
to think how it is translated to human being situation, that we see around or have been
observed right now in society. What you see, boom. Change in identity. All of a sudden
you have something which is completely different. If you look closer you see that the bacteria--the
[INDISTINCT] bacteria become longer and they act and they swim in a much more coordinated
fashion. This is how they can go around obstacle and so on. I'll show you another example.
Different condition, it looks in a different way. Sometimes it's one side sometimes you
can see many [INDISTINCT] of all over which this identity change, right? Like Tunisia,
Egypt, okay? And it's the same type of identity switch you see today and because in this case
it is imprinted, the capability of being different character is imprinted in the genome but you
have to go through the genetic change, not only they become longer, the bacteria have
multiple copies of the chromosome and many other things. If you take this bacteria now
from here and inoculate, you see that under this condition you see how they look like,
you see how different they are. The bunch of senile, they have this handedness, biking
symmetry and in order to have this tenderness, this tenderness by the way had been to go
around the obstacle and they act in a more coordinated way. You can see this is a little
different condition, the same strain and this is transition back from this type, if you
take this type and put it on a very hard surface they can make the transition back to the other
pattern. Okay. So this is one thing social revolutions by chemical tweeting. Just passing
by I could not resist to show with you the patterns are so beautiful. If you didn't notice
that there is another angle to the research cycle that you can turn it into art but now
the [INDISTINCT] should change on me so, but it's still beautiful, yes?
>> So, are these collective identities [INDISTINCT] reversible? Could you go back to the original
[INDISTINCT]. >> BEN-JACOB: Yes. Yes. It's not only original
you have--it's--it does not go back--the identity, on the same condition there are some set of
condition where you change from one type to the other and another set of condition that
you change from here to there. >> So what I'm looking for here is any kind
of collective memory [INDISTINCT]. >> BEN-JACOB: Right. That would be genetic
and that's very important also for cancer cells because now we give chemotherapy for
example or other things, they change their identity and then they appear in a different
form and many other types, so it goes all over many application this idea. And we discover
it in bacteria. It's a--was not known before. About art, it's--to those of you that are
interested in art and walking here around with a guard, I noticed that people are interested
in designs, so I will show you something. Let me just show this and I'll take the question.
You see this is a black and white color. If you color it, change the colors, you boost--have
an artistic thing into it but it also helps us in the science because we bring to our
intuition or tension, some octaves that become more pronounced and then we--gives us a hint
how to look for other things. So, in the art of coloring the colony, it could be also very
useful in terms of the science and look how different it is when you change the colors.
So it's a very different perception you can see these things which are--you can see it
yourself in design. Yes? >> Are those the same bacteria's or are they
new ones? >> BEN-JACOB: These are the same bacteria,
the ones that... >> [INDISTINCT] question?
>> BEN-JACOB: The question was, if they are the same bacteria. Yes. And that's brings
back what is the same, you know, what does it mean the same bacteria? It's the same genome
but the genome goes to rearrangement and some changes. The fact that the--the question before
was, that you can bring it back to the previous version, it means that they are the same and
it's not a mutation, okay. It's like cell differentiation in the body for some sense
that you in principle can take a skin cell or skin stem cell and make it into another
cell, okay. Yes? >> So what will happen if the whole bacteria
is different section? So, let's say one section deals with what--it dies because of what's--there's
too much going on [INDISTINCT] >> BEN-JACOB: All right, so.
>> What will happen with this kind of section? >> BEN-JACOB: Okay, so this is it. We got
into the details and you are right. I'll try to get back to it later on, then before they
make the switch they probably explore these things and I show example--another example
of making the--decision making between different things but they do make a switch at some times
and die and the ones that make the switch will not survive, okay? There are also--I
didn't reflect on the fact that once we have cooperation, you have also once that are defectors,
that make a switch in order to take advantage of the other ones and they are successful
unless the condition change and then they are less successful than the original one,
so it's--a lot of going on. Yes, sure. Yes? >> To what extent is the interlining mechanism
here that the adaptation [INDISTINCT] as opposed to pure gene expression?
>> BEN-JACOB: Okay, it's epigenetic. >> Epigenetic, okay.
>> BEN-JACOB: Yes. It is epigenetic. >> All right.
>> BEN-JACOB: The change is not just gene expression because it's not reversible like
gene expression, it's epigenetic. It's more--much more than expression. Okay. Now, let's go
to social intelligence of the first slide that I showed you. This is a modular organization
and I use this stain in order to show some of the notions that we talked about. Just
to show you each dot here, it's a group of bacteria like this. You see that they turn
around, this is a real speed, magnification 500. To understand how they do it, if you
look at this movie and you see these pictures, they both hold hands. They have the flagella
and they have polymers that excel around that they hold hands, somewhat like these swimmers--skaters
that make this round but it's more complicated because unlike the hands of human being, this
hands can be pulled like in the heart. This in science fiction movies their hands can
become long and short, they are more elastic so they can manipulate very nicely. They have
additional mathematical ingenuity that when the bacteria close to the center, it goes
to what is called pre-spore, I hope I'll get time to talk about it, what is pre-spore later
on. And it makes the colony more stable, this is something about the bacteria linguistic
communication and social intelligence, the different patterns, why they form the shape,
we now understand that the complex shape reflect the fact that you have different variety and
this high complexities too in general, network and other system, if you have a complex system
which not--the elements are not all the same and they can change the character, the network
as a whole is much more adaptable. If we have changes in the environment, you have stress,
they can easily change the overall organization. If you have a society that everybody's the
same, the society is very rigid and is prone to some systemic collapses or if you have
economy, everything is the same and all the investor will be having the same way the system
is prone to systemic collapses. Very important to maintain viability and in order to maintain
viability, you need a communication. So here is an example, you'll take this colony, go
on antibiotic, you see that they change their organization immediately, they form higher
way--a larger vortices like this, pioneering group and they ran away from the antibiotics.
See how they change the organization, if you, then they have learned from the experience
after you put them in the presence of antibiotic, they already can go better in the presence
of antibiotic and make another colon. So, this is another direction to explain how bacteria
develop resistance to antibiotic, if you maintain them, expose them all the time to antibiotic
they collectively develop resistance, which has been ignored by human being for about
56 years. People asked before, this is to show that this is a epigenetic that you asked
or there is really distribution of task and cell differentiation, if you take cells from
here, from the center of the colony and aculeate on a plate, you've got to go like these, you
see two experiments, it looks the same, you can take bacteria from here and then aculeate,
they develop different pattern. Which shows you that there is really a differentiation
and they remember what was their task, but still if you go them under neutral condition,
they can go back from here to the same and from here to be the same. Yes?
>> Can that bacteria sense something over the range of the size of the colony or...
>> BEN-JACOB: Yes, yes. They can measure signals that are sent from all over a certain centimeters
and they can sense a signal. Okay, let's run faster. Okay, so the question that you want
in the decision making is to be or not to be. Under very strong stress starvation, the
bacteria have two options. One option is to become spore, to generate spore. What does
it mean? They replicate the DNA, wrap it in a very special membrane and break open until
better times will arrive. This is one of the risk of bacteria and one of the great invention
of bacteria because the spore are very resistant. There--in '96 I think, they took spore of
bacteria to outer space on a mission, expose them to outer space with no special closes,
brought them back to earth and they germinate it. But some bacteria do not form spore, these
are the more adventurous one, what do they do? They do the opposite. They become longer,
make the membrane permutable. So, they can absorb food which is released by the bacteria
that generates spore, because those that generate spore, make the spore and the rest of the
bacteria break open. You saw the pieces of DNA and the food and everything. So, you have
here a game theory. And you have to decide, what should I do? Be safe, become spore, wait
for the future--it can be the future 10,000 years or whatever. Or take advantage of the
fact that the other ones chicken out and become spore. Now, clearly you don't want to become
incompetent, if you don't have enough then become spore. So, there is a game theory and
it's a collective game theory, it's not between two to between a number, which is very large.
Now, those that become spore want to be collectively, they want to form the spore together and the
reason is that when they germinate, they immediately start with a large society. So, they are more
or are less vulnerable to some hazards in the environment. So, this is a game theory.
And how do you figure it out? And this was a big--great challenge. This is a closer picture.
It's very nice. So, you have the challenge of collective decision making. How do you--the
game theory that we have right know, tell us about decision making when we have two
individuals. Should I cooperate or not cooperate and I get two years in jail, five years in
jail, big deal. Here we're talking about game theory that's either I die or I don't die.
Okay. I die now or I have to wait, whoever know how long time in the future for condition
to be better and you have to do it collectively. How do you do it? And we found that this was
or many people found that this was very essential. People try to understand decision making on
human being, but it's very hard to study decision making of human being because it's all subjective
and it's very hard to know what you do. Here, it's supposed to be simpler, the bacteria
because we know all their genes. So, let's talk about decision making at the time that
we have and then I'd show you some application. So, first of all, if you think about it, what
does it make to make decision? First of all, you need to decide between two options at
least or more. Okay. And the other thing is that you need a switch, stochastic switch.
Because if there is something that tells you from the outside that you are in this state
or this state, if you are a transistor and some signal tells you that you are like, one
volt or zero volt, it's not a decision. Although, if you would look out there, you see some
articles talking about decision making with a transistor. So you have it some stochasticity--some
stochastic switch and they have it, the bacteria. Now, if you want it to be collective, this
stochastic switch means that you have--when it's a specific gene that deserves activator,
when they're level goes above some level, the bacterium change into another state. Now,
you want. Then the probability to switch will depend on the cell density. All right, because
you want. But if you have higher density of cells, they are more likely that some other
will go to sporulation, so it makes sense to go to competence if not, not. So that's
something creatures very [INDISTINCT]. Now, in order for this big decision and just stochastic
switch, you also have to gate the switch. So you open the switch. It's not that you
make it go to one state to another but you open the probability to go from one state
to the other at specific times. Okay. So, you have to gate it, all the time inhibit
it. This is a sign in genetual [INDISTINCT] inhibiting, gate it by something. So what
do you gate it by and which you get up for the bacteria. So very nice, you gate it by
adjustable time mill. It's another gene that accumulate a port--some protein and the way
it accumulates the protein is according to the stress. That--and the higher the stress
this time mill goes fast and only at some levels of this time mill, it relieves the
gating of the switch. So these are the two basic elements and the rest of it you won't
distress to be affect this scene, when you want higher stress, higher rate. So what you
want is a competition between two regulator, adjustable time mill and stochastic switch.
If you have high stress, you know that you don't want to take risk and do how to competence
because you might be dead and you don't care if other people go or other bacteria go to
come sporulation and so on. You want to make a decision, go to sporulation. So that's the
picture, the main picture. Now, because it's a collective, you also have cell-cell communication
and the cell-cell communication is relatively simple. You send message to the other one
how much you are--what is your intention to go to sporulation, what are your intention
to go to competence. You get messages for the other one and then you--they--you regulate
the cell density only according to the number of doors that won't go to sporulation. So
it's not important on the how many cells there are, but how much they incline to go to sporulation.
So that's the picture of how you do it. I don't get in to the detail, but this is what
we figure out and one more thing is The Inhibition of Inhibition Principle. I'll go slow--fast.
The decision circuit you have combination between the gating. And the way that you do
the gating is such a way that you give yourself a window of frustrations. Think about yourself
when you make a decision to go out of the lecture right now or not. Okay, so it's boring.
So, it's--you incline more to go out, but maybe some scene will be interesting, so maybe
I should stay. There are people out there reminds you that there is lunch time. Okay,
so all these things have to do with a gate, a circuit which is very, very simple. It will
look for you because you are not used to genetual, something complicated but all that he does
is, you gate, you inhibit the switch and then this one inhibit another--inhibit the inhibitor.
Think about it, if you want to take, do something crazy, to take the risk to go to competence.
What do you have? You have inhibition to the risk. What do you need in order to do this
at, to make a decision to take a risk? You have something that will inhibit your inhibition.
That's the idea. But you want this thing to inhibit your inhibition according to the context
of what the other so doing. Okay. That's the idea. So now we'll go fast. I'll serve you
all the details. See and you have some oscillations. Open the window a few times to be able to
make the transition or not, let's see. We have implication for this as I mentioned the
beginning that we were the first to imprint memories in petri dish, neurons in a dish.
Many people try to do it. Many people that are much more experienced than us in Neuroscience.
They tried to do it teaching by reward and I have to tell you one thing about neurons,
the excitatory neurons and the inhibitory neurons. They try to do reward to boost up
the excitation or to do it by punishment to boost up the inhibition. What we did, we call
it imprinting, teaching by liberation. We inhibit the inhibition. By inhibit the inhibition
we led the natural, show some new pattern of activity and you have to do it carefully
at a local place and do some--first, read time analysis of the activity and so on and
so forth. It sounds always simpler when you say it in words. Okay. Now that was a very
nice implication of the idea on this newer chip. Okay. Hard decision, sometimes you have
in a bio film you can have more than one type of species of bacteria. Some of them must
tell in keeping information like resistance for antibiotics. And when the bio film is
exposed to antibiotics, some bacteria need this information. So, what happens here is
something very interesting. The bacterium that has the information about the resistance
to antibiotics, when there is antibiotics and signals, whoa, I have the information.
So, the bacterium that wants the information sends pheromones and that eat or she or he
wants the information. And then what this happens is that they start conduct a very
long, 15 minutes or so foreplay because they have to trust each other. She has to trust
that he has the information and he has to trust that if he will give her the information
she will give him food back or vice versa, replace the she and he. And there will be
no transfer of viruses because what they do, after this foreplay they really form a physical
contact between them. See. They really form a physical contact between them in--during
switch, there is a transfer of the genetic element that has information and transfer
of food in the opposite direction. So that's the most dangerous sex that you can think
about. Okay, because it s directly to the brain and the brain of human being does not
have immune system. Bacteria do have immune system, a version of immune system. And here
is an [INDISTINCT] concept of the same scene. Okay. It's a long time, 15 minutes, so we
don't have time to work. This I skip. We were able to quantify the social IQ score of bacteria.
And we found the tower of bacteria is here about standard deviation above the average.
Okay, Scientific American liked it. That's a joke here. She talked this to me. The reporter
asked me, "What is interesting here?" And I said, "Well, that the bacteria colony that
we have are not just beautiful but also smart. She said "Oh, so they are not like model in
Hollywood?" and I said, "Yes," and said, "Okay, so start the--here with this statement." I
told them, "No, don't start with this statement." But you did, anyway. Okay. Applications: New
Strategies to Fight Bacteria. When you have two sibling colonies that go side by side,
what happens? If they are far away, you ask over there how far they can communicate. You
see this is 10 centimeters, you see there is some attraction, so they do sense the other
one very, very far away, some is kilometer, you put them very close to each other, there
is a repellent. If you go there and look closer, what you see is that in this--here, there
is complete inhibition of the gauze, because it's smarter, they don't want inhibition of
one into the other because then they will be confused, lose identity. So, we isolate
the material from here, show that it really inhibits a colony, you take the material,
again, it's a painful process of about two years and then you see the sequence, compare
it to the genome information, make this a protein and identify it and so on and use
it and we discover a new type of toxin that bacteria produce in order to kill themselves.
Now you have a new strategy. You don't use something from the outside to control the
bacteria. Use something that they themselves use and that's very efficient because they
are unlikely to develop resistance. So this is one application. There is an application
to fight cancer. Cancer--cancer cell, one of the main problem is that after you have
the tumor for some time, they start to invade the body and they make a decision when to
start to invade and if to invade, if to do what they call pathfinder, that they go in
the matrix, start to look for a new location which is usually in the area of the tumor,
which is less dangerous, or to make pass generator that can really eat the environment, the matrix
and get to the bloodstream. And this is just to show you some simulations that you can
understand that from bacteria again, we did examine bacteria, you see that here it would
stuck--this maze represents the body matrix which is complex. You see that here, there
is a gradient, chemotactic gradient, to this direction and this poor guy stuck. Here, what
they do, they have a self-assisted mechanism which they secrete all the time, bacteria
do it, ant do it, other animal do it and that--which repels it. So, if it's stuck at a place, this
material accumulates entirely, it tells himself to go out. And you can do then simulations
of--want to do, path finding or path generating; you see they eat the round and so on. Once
you realize that cancer has communication and really act as a meta-community, then you
realize that the entire approach to all cancer should be different from what we did so mine--so
far. Yeah? >> So, if cancer has all this ability to navigate
and send out etcetera, and it says that it's really stronger experiment and [INDISTINCT]
organisms that we mostly think of is static. What's conserving the gene set?
>> BEN-JACOB: Yeah. Okay. That excellent question because we don't understand how can it be
that cancer in one hand is a mutation, and on the other hand, it has all this wonderful,
wonderful "sophisticated abilities." Okay. So, apparently it might be that in some cases,
the cancer is really random mutation that eventually enables to do the same, but in
order to be really a cancer cell, it has to have all the other changes in the genome and
usually they have 30, 40 different mutation. And they are used in also normal cells, recode
them or enslave them to do jobs that they can not do anymore; they make decisions and
so on. So, the entire picture of cancer has to be revised. So we'll stop to do the approach
that we do right now, which is stupid because we are not willing to admit they are smart.
Which is logically, it's a catch, if they are not smart, how come all the smart people
that fight cancer didn't succeed to fight it? Okay? So, okay. So you can fight cancer.
With cancer, you can fight cancer with bacteria, you can tamper the communication, you can
do many other things once you just realize or learn from the bacteria. New Robots, I'll
do it very fast. You can show that you use some of the idea and the minute that you take
some agents and add some interaction between them, that if they are very close by, they
repel, okay? If they are far away, they attract. If they are at some distance, they align.
You can see the--how you have an emergent phenomena, in a very simple way. This is agent.
You see there is a gradient, and they going to a target that you don't see--there is a
slope here and you don't see that they go--the minute that you add this simple interaction--here,
you could see this, you see how they move? No leader, the question that was before, they
turn--you'll see in a minute, that they all turn around but there is no leader. They just
saw the interaction, that's very simple interaction and that's very important to many things.
Understand navigations of other cells, making new robots and so on. Did you see how they
turn around, all of them, as if the same moment. And this is the target, this still wander
around. You can do more than that. You realize that if you have the navigation again, you
realize from bacteria what the bacteria do, they coordinate and adopt the interaction.
Each bacteria will adopt the interaction to the other according to the conditions, then
you can make them even more efficient to move in a complex environment. This group will
split and this group will continue together. Okay. So, you can have many more--because
they go together and have the same sometime, they push themselves out on the [INDISTINCT]
but eventually, they will do much better. We don't have time, so I'll skip it, this
main work of Adi Shklarsh that she received the Google Award. So Google recognized this
before that--okay, so this is if you have adaptable interaction, you see the optimal
path is much shorter than if you have fixed interaction and the distribution is much narrower.
I'll skip this part. New Game Theory. Human Decisions, Emotional or Rational? We like
to think that they are rational; I'm now convinced more and more that they are emotional. I'm--a
comment about guts feeling, gut feeling is real because you have many bacteria, the number
of bacteria in our--your gut is about is about 10 times the number of cells in your body.
The genetic material in the bacteria in your guts far more exceeds the same in your body
and what you eat and what the bacteria do in your guts affect your brain and you feel--eat
one type of food, you might make one type of decision, if you eat different type of
food you might make a different decision. Okay. Because it really affects, there is
a strong, very complicated communication--maybe next time about the brain and our gut bacteria.
So let's me end with this additional movie. >> VIDEO CLIP
>> BEN-JACOB: No? Make it high, high, high movie. The
decision making of bacteria tell us that under pressure or under stress, we are likely to
make mistakes no matter how intelligent we are and everything--all I say is a mistake
and let me end here. Thank you.