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Swarm Intelligence | by jurvetson
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Swarm Intelligence

The TED party at the Monterey Bay Aquarium is my favorite because they scatter mattresses around in front of the major exhibits. It’s much easier to observe the creatures for a long time when you don’t have to stand, and thereby notice the patterns that repeat over longer time scales. One of my favorites is the slow dance cycle of the sea turtle across large distances in the shark tank.


Laying on the mattress, the anchovies overhead shimmered through resplendent patterns of emergent forms, with each fish lacking a global perspective, and following simple rules (e.g., , follow the fish nearby while using pressure signals to avoid neighbor collisions; roll back to the center if you find yourself on the dangerous periphery, faster if you see something dangerous ahead, like the shimmering blob of another school of anchovies that had split off and gone around the ring in the other direction…).


For some time, I have been wondering how the fish experience this…

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Taken on February 24, 2006