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Octopuses are intriguing creatures. I have written two previous blog posts about their creativity and innovations. In November 2019, I wrote about Creativity and Lessons Learned from Octopuses. That blog talked about how octopuses are creative, intelligent creatures who can problem solve and are masterful mimics. In 2021, I discussed the winner of the Oscar’s best documentary award, My Octopus Teacher, and the power of critical thinking demonstrated by octopuses.

I like to think that in writing about the octopus before the film’s success, P&ID was ahead of its time. I’ll happily also say P&ID is always ahead of its time in the process arena as well as in business strategies and execution.

Learning from octopuses’ creativity

Learning about octopuses has been an interesting journey. I recently finished reading a new book, The Mountain in the Sea, by Ray Nayler. Nayler is an international adviser to the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and has also worked at the US Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City as an environmental, science, technology, and health officer.

book cover

His novel has many moving parts and depicts humankind (e.g., scientific researchers and profit-driven corporations), octopuses, android-robots and artificial intelligence (AI) in the not-so-far-off future. Parts of the book are speculative, but there are many scientific facts woven into the story. For example, the octopuses’ real, uncanny intelligence is seen in how they exist within sunken boats. Then Ray goes a little bit into the science-fiction future by having them develop their own language, culture, and civilization (including developing working tools).

In his novel’s future, humankind views the hyperintelligent octopus as an alternative species worthy of study. A transnational tech corporation that wants to monetize the octopuses’ unprecedented breakthroughs develops AI android-robots to investigate. The stakes are high as vast fortunes can be made by taking advantage of the octopuses’ advancements. At the same time, human researchers struggle to communicate with this octopus species using graphical symbols and the reader views how these symbols are developed.

Communication and innovation’s reach

The philosophical side of the novel explores the interactions among the humans, of the humans with the android-robots (who not only think like humans but have conscious, robot-operated slave ships and bee-size drones), and of the humans with alternative forms of life. While the focus is on how the octopus civilization mimics the development of humankind, of course, no one asks the octopuses what they want.

This work of fiction covers human consciousness, innovation, communication and its legacy. It’s fascinating and sometimes a bit scary. I hope you have a chance to read this novel. I’d love to know what you think. Or contact me to let me know some other books to read and discuss. It doesn’t have to include an octopus to catch my attention; though it helps.