Saturday, 8 March 2014

Collective intelligence meets universal Darwinism

There's a substantial community of machine intelligence researchers which are oriented around the concepts of "collective intelligence" and "swarm intelligence". Memetic algorithm enthusiasts have been trying to spread the word about memes to these folk for a long time. We've already had four International Conferences on "Swarm, Evolutionary, and Memetic Computing", for example.

Memetic algorithms are, by their nature, parallel, distributed systems - based on a population of interacting agents - the whole field is based on the concepts of collective intelligence and collective wisdom.

What I want to say in this post, is that the opposite is also true. Part of the reason why the concepts of "collective intelligence" and "swarm intelligence" are interesting is because they involve a sprinkling of cultural transmission - which sets up a behavioural evolutionary process. The ants in ant colony optimisation are copying the behaviour of other ants - via selectively-laid pheremone trails. The birds in a flock are selectively copying the behaviour of other birds. This kind of selective behavioural copying is also the basis of memetics. That is no accident, the fields have the same basic foundation - in universal Darwinism.

Behavioural Darwinism isn't the only reason why collective intelligence exists. Part of the effect involved arises through sheer aggregation. When a hundred agents guess at the number of beans in a jar, the average of their guesses is better than the opinion of any individual. There are some different effects involved there.

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting Tim, thanks​!​

    I think that you would be really interested in some of the most cutting-edge research that I have come across explaining crowds and collective intelligence.

    And you may also enjoy this blog about the same too:

    Powerful stuff, no?