Everybody has heard about the word ‘intelligence’, but few have heard terms like ‘microbial intelligence’ or ‘bacterial intelligence’, Why? Simply because bacterium cannot be intelligent. They are just not intelligent. You might say that I must be crazy if I say that a bacterium is an intelligent entity. And, yes, you are correct.
A single bacterium is not at all intelligent. But a collection of bacterium can be regarded as intelligent. Researchers have found that bacteria use sophisticated communication methods to tackle the problems (of colony) collectively. For example, if there is lesser food available to the colony, the bacteria organize themselves in such a way so as to maximize nutrient availability. If this isn’t intelligence, then what is intelligence?
A Bacterial colony loosely mimics (or is similar to) a biological neural network. Just as a single neuron is no better than any other type of cell, a bacterial cell alone has no intelligence. Intelligence reside in the whole colony.
Bacteria can store, process, output and input information. In a sense, they are basic computers. And when a swarm of bacteria combines, intelligence arises in this computing machinery.
In above, I have been referring to bacteria alone. But I guess it refers to all microbes or possibly all life.