Lots of cool stuff in that article
To go back to the slime mold, how does it decide?
We know it has memory. It can learn from experience. We know it does make all kinds of decisions if you give it various options of things it can do. The whole thing is a hydraulic computer. We injected little fluorescent beads into the thing. There are flows through the cytoplasm. And the cool thing is that if you have a fork like a “Y,” you see that it just shuts off one branch off, and the stream only goes the other way. It has selective control over each branch point—it’s a synapse, basically.
Butterflies retain memories from when they were caterpillars, even though their brains turned to mush in the chrysalis.
When I say this thing “wants to do XYZ,” I’m not saying it can write poetry about its dreams. It doesn’t necessarily have that kind of second-order metacognition; it doesn’t know what it wants. But it still wants. [...]
I’m sure once we start looking, we’re going to find degrees of agency all over the place.