The challenge …is identifying when an insect is actually zonked out or just in a “sleep-like state.”
That seems like one of those arguments over whether cats “feel” their feelings or whether they just seem to exhibit feeling-like behavior. If an animal can’t describe its experience, it clearly doesn’t have an experience worth describing. Cf. attitudes toward children, the handicapped, foreigners, etc.
Could that be done by adding some fluorescing molecules to the neurons, that emit infrared (or suitable wavelength that goes through the tissues with minimal scattering) when the neuron fires?
And/or use bugs with transparent bodies for that wavelength, and big enough neurons to be easy to see?
With a camera with sufficiently high speed (and an image intensifier, or rigging the neurons to be bright enough) the activity pattern of the entire neural network of the bug could be acquired simultaneously in real time.
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