Posted by: zyxo | January 12, 2008

2.0 buzzwords

Leila Summa gives 10 buzzwords for 2008 on her blog. Three of them which I am interested in are :

  1. 2.0-itis
  2. swarm intelligence
  3. emergent systems and self organisation

For obvious reasons she gives no comment on the first.

The second she sees it als ‘intelligence of the mass’. Somewhat cryptically :”Kind of “intelligence of the mass” effects happens all the time and are hidden, but very important part of our lives – even we don’t realize it”.
I think this needs some elaboration.
In this explanation, intelligence of the mass, at least what concerns our human species, is not something of web 2.0, but something that is there all the time.
But what is swarm intelligence exactly ??
According to wikipedia it is “artificial intelligence …”
I suppose there is a lot of swarm intelligence in an ant heap, but no artificial intelligence whatsoever. So far for the definition by wikipedia.
hereI found a definition which is much closer tho what I understand under the term swarm intelligence :
“Swarm Intelligence (SI) is the property of a system whereby the collective behaviours of (unsophisticated) agents interacting locally with their environment cause coherent functional global patterns to emerge.”
Which means : agents do things that concern themselves, not knowing that they are part of a bigger picture. There are two distinct levels of knowledge.
Not knowing ??
Perhaps to be or not to be swarm intelligent is not so binary at all. Can we be a little swarm intelligent ? Meaning that either there is a little bit a bigger picture, or there is a bigger picture and the individual agents do know it or the agents do only loosely belong to the swarm … ?
In that sense I already had a discussion on this weblog wether or not stock traders show swarm intelligence.

And in a post yet to come I will write about collective intelligence.

On Emergent systems and self organisation she only ask questions, e.g. “When does a system start to be “emergent” or “self organized”?

Is a bit like the above discussion : when you can discern two levels of knowledge/intelligence/patterns.

But what if those two levels are not as neatly separated as in an ant heap ? What if they gradually flow over from the lower to the upper level ?

It’s all a bit like fuzzy logic, and it’s saturday evening, so I am going to pour for myself a good glass of french red wine. Cheers.

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