If you’re not up on what Swarm Intelligence is, get ready to be bowled over. It’s a new way of predicting the outcomes of random events with surprisingly accurate results.
Basically, Swarm Intelligence utilizes a process of collecting random bits of chaotic data and thus gathered, the data can be used to form an optimized decision. Sort of like taking all the arguments in a room full of political foes and taking that data to formulate the best solution to a given problem or problems.
We find this type of intelligence in insects. In science fiction we find it in Star Trek’s villains, the Borg. In that series of television shows and movies, we find that each member of the Borg collects independent information that is then uploaded to a central plexus where the collective information of all the Borg are examined and evaluated for the best data on which to action on.
Swarm Intelligence made quite a debut during 2015’s Academy Awards season. Microsoft’s Bing artificial intelligence system was used to predict the results of the then upcoming awards ceremony. With an accuracy of over 80%, the algorithm picked 21 our of 24 Academy Award winners. On the other hand, human driven predictions barely made it past 50% accuracy.
With that level of accuracy, the use of Swarm Intelligence got the attention of analysts, scientists, and the public who were in the know.
Think of it this way, with Swarm Intelligence approaches, the ability to correlate immense amounts of confusing data into something that can predict more accurate outcomes or to find the most safe and efficient solutions to major problems comes into play. Utilizing it could well mean that in the future, human events of a catastrophic nature can be avoided by gathering the best survival solutions before they become apparent to those in jeopardy.
Such a tool could predict civil unrest or the spread of diseases, natural disasters and more. It will take further testing to see where this technology will go, but it’s better than even money that once it proves itself it will be used all over the place.
This is where ethical issues will come into play. Will Swarm Intelligence techniques be allowed in government solutions? Sports and other forms of gambling? Will we humans be forced to follow the Swarm Intelligence data collected and analysis, even if it means we don’t trust it?
As with any new approach to life’s problems, a new thing like applied Swarm Intelligence, the potential for use by the unscrupulous comes into play. That’s something down the road humanity will have to deal with if this approach becomes common place in our societies.
On the brighter side, computing matched with Swarm Intelligence could mean entertainment and learning systems that are beyond what we can envision now. Games and learning tools based on computing could be more intuitive to the point that with already growing artificial intelligence systems arising frequently, we may be witnessing a new age of applied intelligence solutions that will revolutionize many corners of our existence as a species.