Posted by: zyxo | December 30, 2007

Swarm Intelligence

A termite colony is intelligent enough to build a termite heap with a sophisticated airconditioning system. How is this possible ? No individual termite has not even a fraction of the intelligence necessary to accomplish this task.

This differs completely from for example the building of human towns. A lot of humans are sufficiently intelligent to build houses, bridges, streets.

Two persons know more than one person, but after a meeting or discussion both know the solution. There is but a small gap between te combined intelligence of the team and the individual intelligences of the team members.

In swarm intelligence the gap between the intelligence of the swarm and the constituting individuals is huge. Swarm intelligence is built out of dumb individuals responding to simple stimuli (e.g. pheromone levels).

Similarly, human intelligence is built from dumb brain cells responding to simple electrical stimuli. As such, the human brain is simply a swarm of brain cells, governed by very simple rules. The complexity stems from the connections between the different items of the swarm.

And this is apparently the only way intelligence can evolve from nothing to where we stand now.

Sometimes people think of web 2.0 as the breeding ground of a new intelligence. But still in web 2.0 the base deciders are humans who put and read the context.

For Artifical General Intelligence to emerge in the WWW we need to have dumb individuals but communicating and responding to stimuli, independently of human interaction : agents.

We can begin to talk about swarm intelligence when, as a response to a search term, thousends of agents begin to crawl the web, pass on info to eachother, filter the info and at the end provide us with an up-to-date sort of wickipedia-like summary of the requested topic, full of hyperlinks to the corresponding subtopics and details. And of course our previous requests are taken into account in the filtering and summarising process.

Since the wikipedia-like summary is only the output of the task, the info that was gathered is really stored in the agents swarm-intelligence under the form of simple rules and connections.

Which is the basic architecture of e.g. Novamente, a AGI-system under construction, but with all the possibilities to eventually become a real general intelligence, provided that it is allowed to grow big enough !

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