I have a small family of ants on my desk at work. Usually it’s just the one ant roaming around, checking out my books and seeing if I happened to have spilt any sugary goods on them. This scout sometimes distracts me, and often I have to sit in certain ways to make sure my elbows don’t get in his way, other times I have to move various cables as to not be guilty of a deadly but inadvertent swooping of the little guy down to the abyssal floor below. Who knows what dangers lie down there?
Well, today, my ant appears to have a social life. The problem with social groups is the power of the collective hive mind, which equals much more than the sum of its parts. This is why we get ridiculously pointless riots in some countries, one in particular just off the coast of Europe.
Four ants are currently nonchalantly roaming around my laptop screen and keys looking for various particles of stuff to provide them with a sugar drink. I have to keep halting my typing and wait for them to finish with the E button before I can move on. I learnt that I could blow on them softly and it would scare them a bit and they would move away for a few seconds (I’m human and smart, so I can ‘learn’. Smart things learn). But that group mindset of theirs always brings them back.
What was interesting was when an ant found some kind of dried patch of sugary water that must have splashed onto my laptop just above the keys at some point. The ant just sat there nibbling into it, and remains there to this moment. At first I gave it a couple of blows to move him away, and he would run away once or twice. But the proximity in which he ran decreased per blow. After the fifth blow, he just decided to buckle down and grip the surface harder and continue nibbling.
One of his friends happened to pass by, took a few curious glances and eventually came to take his share. I gave them both a powerful shot of wind, because quite frankly they were taking advantage of my glucosian generosity.
What happened struck me as interesting. The second ant ran away, I saw his tiny legs beating as fast as they possibly could. The first ant – my ant – continued to sit there. He had officially *learned* that I was not a threat. Before long, all three of his ant friends were in a circle enjoying the sugar patch, and I was powerless to stop it.
Do you see what I mean? The combined mind of many is why I just lost a battle to four ants.
This combo attack is also why ants are so incredibly successful on this planet as a whole. Some have estimated that for every human, there are 100 million ants. If you consider this and the fact that ants use their bodies to construct bridges and floating devices for their queen to travel down river, it’s not unreasonable to picture the day they get together and form a little over 7 billion super ants. 100 million ants create a greater overall mass than a human, I think. Forgive me for not showing my working.*
The problem here, unfortunately, is that we have weapons. They have mandibles. Mandibles are useless compared to nukes and chemical weapons. So it would be much wiser for this super ant revolution to, well, not be a revolution at all. At least not a conspicuous one.
It would be far more effective if these ants took the form of humans. 100 million to a human. One Queen in the centre of each body, calling the shots. The ones left over can be hired for intelligence or more scouts. Singular ant scouts will find it much easier to get through security than 100 million ants together with a hat and trench coat.
As humans they could cause far greater damage, whilst not getting hurt. Keep your enemies close, afterall. Billions of ants, distributed globally in all the major cities, tiny hamlets and desert towns. Chemical weapons and Nukes would have no effect here, and using guns would just spread the ants out into a shapeless mound, only to reconvene moments later. Grenades will do the trick but again, at what cost in the centre of New York and Tokyo?
This war-like scenario shouldn’t even take place for a good while anyway. The aim of the game is to go about the world unnoticed, blending in with the human demons, gather Intel.
To be honest, it would be an auto-destructing process; just having another 7 billion humans would completely crash the global economy, the food resources, the ecological and biological state of the world and of course the climate. At the same time, the places where the ants used to be would now be devoid of them; the food chain is destroyed.
So all they have to do in order to completely ruin the human race is to not get caught. Well, ants aren’t stupid. You may know that there is in fact already a super ant colony, which dominates most of the entire planet, thanks to the exploitation of human globalization. That is to say, ants have exploited us, used us for their own personal gain and organized a worldwide organization 70 quadrillion (70,000,000,000,000,000) strong – without the internet. I think they can handle not getting caught.
Some hurdles I foresee for the ants which they will have to learn to jump:
Hurdles. I think hand-eye coordination will be a supreme task that might require significant training. You have to blend in so you also need to take part in human endeavours such as work, relationships and sports. Jumping hurdles would be a pretty tough hurdle to jump, but this is only the amateur stage of global ant colonisation.
Food. Ants love sugar. Eating human food just won’t suffice in many situations so they have to make sure they are around the right places at all times, internationally so. The best bet is home delivery, so the public doesn’t see the entire human body nibble slowly at the food source. Which brings me to the next quandary.
Language. This you might think would be the most impossible of all tasks, but I don’t think so. our voice is simply a couple of cords altering shape and whatnot. This can easily be mimicked with a few ants, so we don’t really need to talk about it, it’ll just take time and diligence to achieve. However…
Facial recognition. This is tricky because people tend to look at each other. It would be ok if a super ant balaclava’d itself up or made the decision to become a Muslim female, but if 7 billion people suddenly turned up to earth, all dressed in burkas? I think it would raise at least 4 eyebrows, and probably several billions more. The best solution is to get a team of ant cosmeticians on the go, or some extremist humans to do the work for them after convincing them they are doing it for the greater good, or in the name of whatever God ants tend to believe in.
Motive. When it comes down to it, you probably need a reason to take over humans in the first place. Sure, humans kill ants by the uncountable, every second of the day, but so does every other big animal. By comparison humans are pretty helpful. They have helped perpetuate the ant species to an unbelievable amount. Getting rid of humans would slice a large fraction out of the ant population. But then, why would ants care about that, too? If for no other reason, you need a motive for the great speakers to convince the ant civilians to do a good job and remain loyal to their queens.
That’s pretty much every problem an ant revolution could possibly have, all of which are easily resolved given some time.
There is… one other problem I foresee. The same people who estimated those ant numbers also estimated that for every ant, there are 100 million… mites. those figures amass to 7 septillion mites globally. (7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000).
Mites are much smaller but with those numbers, they could be a fierce competition should they figure out the same teamwork structure as the ants. Of course, the response would simply be to ally forces with the termites.
Are you ready for it?
*Alright I did the working out. an ant weighs on average, 0.0003 grams. x 100,000,000 = 30,000 grams = 30 Kilograms. OK so two super ants make an average Asian Male Adult. 3.5 billion is still enough to do the damage above so nothing is void. Especially if they’re all in China which the super ant size seems to imply.