Nonassociative learning, habituation — getting used to a stimulus over time — and sensitization — reacting strongly to a new stimulus — are among the most fundamental forms of learning and memory behavior present in organisms that enable adaptation and learning in dynamic environments. By studying a sea slug, researchers have demonstrated nonassociative learning behavior in an inorganic system of binary nickel oxide, a quantum material, under different environmental stimuli. This material can mimic the sea slug’s most essential intelligence features. Inspired by the response of nickel oxide, neural networks incorporating habituation and sensitization can be developed and demonstrate superior clustering tasks. The results motivate new directions for use in the emerging fields of artificial intelligence and neuromorphic computing.
From studying a sea slug, researchers have demonstrated a fundamental type of learning in an inorganic system that may serve as a building block for neuromorphic computing and AI applications.