When asked about the name oktopi.ai, the answer comes in the form of an eight-armed and three-hearted cephalopod. You guessed it, it’s the octopus, which plural is octopi.
“Why the octopus?”, you might ask.
For decades, researchers have studied cephalopods’ behavior and the answer is unanimous: octopi are highly intelligent creatures. Some tests have proven smart behavior of octopi in predation, communication, learning, tool use and problem-solving. Octopi can be readily trained to distinguish between different shapes and patterns, can solve complex puzzles requiring pushing or pulling actions, and can also unscrew the lids of containers and open the latches on acrylic boxes in order to obtain the food inside. They can also remember solutions to puzzles and learn to solve the same puzzle presented in different configurations.
Octopi are also very adaptive and flexible. They can rapidly change colors, use tools to camouflage and change size to fit into very small holes. They adapt to their environment and to their predators by changing their physical appearance against predators that rely on vision, but are also smart enough to flee when facing a predator that relies on smell.
At oktopi.ai, we aim to provide teachers, students and parents with a flexible workspace and AI-powered analytics that allow teachers to track their students’ progress and adapt to their needs accordingly. That way, just like the octopus, the teacher can alter, reshape and adjust the learning material to accommodate different students with different abilities.
One of the main characteristics of the octopus is also their eight arms that allow them to multi-task, feel, taste and smell the surroundings and twist and move around in limitless numbers of ways. But what’s even more astounding is that the majority of an octopus’ neurons are located within their arms and body. This means that the learning process doesn’t only happen in the brain but is extended to all of their body that learns as a whole. Learning in a holistic way allows students to develop as an entity, and a long-term vision on education is needed for it to happen.
“For scientists who study animal behavior, intelligence is not about acing a calculus test or taking a car apart and putting it back together. Intelligence comprises sophisticated cognitive skills that help an animal thrive.”
What applies to the octopus also applies to students, who should be able to learn not based on certain standards, but on their capacities and abilities. Everyone learns differently and should get the opportunity to learn based on their own pace and needs.
In the Netflix Documentary “My Octopus Teacher” (2020), a filmmaker named Craig Foster starts an underwater journey to understand an octopus, and himself.
“A lot of people say that an octopus is like an alien. But the strange thing is, as you get closer to them, you realize you’re very similar in a lot of ways. You’re stepping into this completely different world, such an incredible feeling, and you feel as though you’re on the brink of something extraordinary.”
Every day for a year, he dives into freezing waters without a wetsuit to avoid creating any barriers between him and the octopus. With each daily visit, the spectator watches as a connection is created and trust is built over time between a man and an octopus.
“What she taught me was to feel that you’re part of this place, not a visitor. That’s a huge difference,” Craig Foster says in “My Octopus Teacher.”
A lesson from an Octopus Teacher that can be applied to every educator. How can we impact a student better than making them feel at ease and reminding them that the environment is theirs, and that they’re not just a guest passing through? Our platform was built with the sole purpose of allowing teachers to get to know their students better, interact with them, personalize their learning journeys and accompany them through it.
oktopi.ai and the octopus do have a lot in common in being smart, productive, flexible and adaptive. There’s a quote by H. Jackson Brown that says “Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards or sideways.” Our mission at oktopi.ai is to channel teachers’ talents and knowledge into a planned and organized educational journey, in which they can accompany their students easily but also fully, with tools that will make their arms as equipped as eight, since their hearts are already as big as three!
 RICHTER Jonas, HOCHNER Binyamin and KUBA Michael, “Pull or Push? Octopuses Solve a Puzzle Problem”, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4803207/ , March 2016.
 REEDER Jen, “Oscar-nominated ‘My Octopus Teacher’ is the antidote to our pandemic year”, https://www.today.com/pets/netflix-s-film-my-octopus-teacher-antidote-2020-t196646, November 2020.
 ZIMMER Carl, “Yes, the Octopus Is Smart as Heck. But Why?”, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/30/science/animal-intelligence-octopus-cephalopods.html , November 2018