Is it possible for a technologically developed society to make some invention which could allow trees to be like AI (Artificial Intelligence) and communicate with human?

To be like AI (Artificial Intelligence) in the sense making a tree feel, understand, recognize, communicate with humans. I just want to know, will such a technology make the story fantasy rather than science fiction.

If would be helpful, if you could enlighten some details for the possibility of making it science fiction, and if there is such a possibility then enlighten me on how that tree should be.

  • $\begingroup$ There is no mind to communicate with in a tree, so there's no communication possible. It would be no different than trying to communicate with a brick. $\endgroup$ May 19, 2018 at 12:21
  • $\begingroup$ What kind of communication do you want? A tree has few senses, so most of the time the humans would be able to learn from the tree if the sunlight is good and if there's enough water around. $\endgroup$
    – Sasha
    May 19, 2018 at 12:38
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ like AI (Artificial Intelligence) in the sense making a tree feel, understand oh, so completely unlike AI ;) $\endgroup$ May 19, 2018 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ Well.. "Winston" the AI from novel origin even regrets of its action. 😉 $\endgroup$
    – Peaceman
    May 20, 2018 at 8:56
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Feeling and understanding are not characteristic typical of AI. Do U just want anthropomorphic tress that talk and think or something else? $\endgroup$ May 22, 2018 at 8:16

6 Answers 6


Research has come a long way in determining plants have a form of intelligence.

Pollan says plants have all the same senses as humans, and then some.

despite lacking eyes, plants such as Arabidopsis possess at least 11 types of photoreceptor, compared to our measly four. This means that, in a way, their vision is more complex than ours.

they can sense, learn, remember and even react in ways that would be familiar to humans.

They have ways of taking all the sensory data they gather in their everyday lives ... integrate it and then behave in an appropriate way in response. And they do this without brains, which, in a way, is what's incredible about it, because we automatically assume you need a brain to process information.

We already have research on enhancing humans with AI, such as the neural lace.

A mesh that grows with your brain, it’s essentially a wireless brain-computer interface.

The neural lace interfaces with neurons, because that is how humans process information. To enhance plants with AI, you would need to mesh with plant cells in a way that plants process information. While not neurons, the concept of a neural lace that grows with a plant is reasonably within the realm of sci-fi. Once you have this interface, it could then be connected to any device or even the internet to allow information exchange (communication) to occur.


Sure, we already do that all the time by strapping sensors on the trees, taking measurements, making chemical tests.

If you want to go full sci-fi, you could have some sort of nanotechnology that is implanted on the tree and from that a researcher could access data from the tree, maybe from an entire forest at once.

This would be really useful for forestry researchers, since they would be able to monitor the tree development in real time.

Well, for the edited question:

Sure, with enough nanotechnology you could turn the tree into a computer, maybe an entire forest could be turned into something capable of running an AI. The nanobots would be able to feed on the rich sap produced by the trees and use the vegetal matter to produce more nanobots that would maintain and spread the network.


I think you need to look into genetic manipulation (obviously) and (perhaps less obvious but from my point of view the key to achieving artificial sentient trees) into mutualism: the way two organisms of different species exist in a relationship in which each individual benefits from the activity of the other.

In particular, you could check out as inspiring examples:

  • Hatena arenicola: a flagellate that can resemble a plant at one stage of its life, in which it carries a photosynthesizing alga inside itself, or an animal, acting as predator in another stage of its life.
  • Elysia chlorotica, one of the "solar-powered sea slugs" that is able to absorb solar energy thanks to the chloroplasts contained in its algal food.
  • Angomonas deanei, an obligate parasite in the gastrointestinal tract of insects, and in turn a host to symbiotic bacteria.

So, your trees would need to be enriched with different organism, thereby being transformed into something new. Something that resembles a tree and that shares many traits with a tree, but that actually presents the "neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states" (citing the Cambridge declaration on Consciousness), that is, the neurological substrates that generate consciousness in humans and many other animals (but, as far as we currently know and despite what is apparently suggested in other answers, not in plants). Undoubtly a technological feat, but by no means fantasy: many of these kinds of hybrids (or, to be more correct, symbionts / endosymbionts ) between different species already exist naturally.


We could build a data center that houses an AI. Then we could grow a big tree with a hollow core and house the data center inside it.

That is not what you want. You want the “spirit” of the tree to talk. For that, you need the AI to embody the tree, meaning the tree’s status is given as input to the AI and that that status is critical to the functioning of the AI such that the mind sees the tree body as key to its own existence. Look to human prosthetics research... when there’s a sufficient amount of biofeedback, humans will begin experiencing a prosthetic not as a tool but as a body part.

So we can wire a tree with sensors — make them as small as you wish — and feed the data into the AI. Then we tune the processors to run slower/have more errors/etc based on any declines in the health of the tree. Assuming you have a real AI, you should now have an AI that thinks of itself as “tree”.

In theory, given what we observe with prosthetics, you could do this with a human if you give them pleasure/pain signals based on tree health and map the tree’s sensors across its trunk and branches to the human’s trunk and appendages. The human would quickly come to experience the tree as part of the body. Would take a lot of sensors and a very patient human.


Its more science fact than you think. Plants already communicate with each other and have some level of intelligence. They also communicate with insects. It is not out of the realm of possibility that these traits just need to be better understood in order to interact with them. It could be a simple interface that turns the plants chemical signals into a human understandable output via a computer is all that is necessary.

There is also evidence that plants feel pain. So now we can yell at vegetarians/vegans to stop murdering plants.


If you want a fantasy world, you'll need magic or at least kind of unusual powers.

Why not get your inspiration from the manga One Piece where you have the pirate Big Mom (Aka Charlotte Linlin).

She actually ate the devil fruit that allows her to manipulate souls: - Take lifetime from a sentient being (parts of souls) - Put it again into an non animated being (as your trees), which actually give them sentience.

She actually used it on many things as food and also a tree, the King Baum (Baum meaning simply tree in German).

Maybe you just need to add peoples able to manipulate souls that could be called soul users that could put some part of their souls into non animated objects so that their Wisdom may survive their mortal body (makes me think about Horcruxes now) and could allow the now sentient trees to interact with peoples.

I hope my answer helps a bit, I don't know if it's in your scope since this question is suppose to be science based but you also speak about a world more fantasy based than science fiction based (hard to know)!


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