This paper is a written summary of the Brunel Lecture I gave at the "Science for Life" summer meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, held at the University of Keele in September 1993. The Brunel Lecture is intended for the general public, and this paper reflects that: it is a general overview of some recent exciting developments in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science, and hopefully I've managed to skip over enough of the technical details that almost anyone can understand it. The endnotes give a list of some further reading. Basically, this is a summary of arguments to the effect that, if we are ever to understand the biological nature of `intelligence', or ever to build `intelligent' machines, then we should start by studying insects, rather than humans.
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